Ex parte reports are not quite cricket

Ralph Glyn’s officer friend Stephen Pollen had returned from the Dardanelles.

28, Hyde Park Gardens
Nov. 9th [1915]

Dear Glyn

I am so sorry to have just missed you. It was so kind of you to have burdened yourself with a parcel for me & I am only glad to think your trouble was not wasted & that the coat is useful to you.

Many thanks, too, for the cheque although I don’t see why you should pay me a full price for a second-hand article! It is no use writing you all we hear here of what is in the melting-pot about the MEF. The centre of decision & the Decider have shifted to your GHQ.

I am to remain & assist Sir I.H. to finish off his despatches &c, & shall, I fancy, not be available for a few weeks more as we are waiting on various documents from your side. Subla [sic] Bay complicates the matter as ex parte reports have been received at WO & apparently have no small influence which is not quite cricket.

I would have liked to see the show through. It is nice to be home but not nice to come in the way one did! And what a difference being “in” it & “out”! The fortune of war & its no use lamenting.

I hope to be usefully employed again – & after all in this war, if one can be that it should be enough…

Yrs ever
S H Pollen

Mind you make use of me if there is anything you would like done.

Meanwhile a Scottish writer had taken up an idea Ralph had put forward to improve the supply of reading material for the troops.
(more…)

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Queer developments in the Balkans

Stephen Hungerford Pollen (1868-1935) was another officer friend of Ralph Glyn’s. He was Sir Ian Hamilton’s military secretary in the Dardanelles, so knew exactly what was going on.

Private & Confidential
GHQ
Mediteranean Expeditionary Force

6th October 1915

Dear Glyn

Many thanks for your letter of the 24th September which has just arrived by KM. I rather smelt a change coming and that is why I was anxious for you to get away from here. As I think I told you, the place we were concerned about really finished on August 21st. The whole of this Balkan development is exceedingly queer; I cannot write very much about it, but were you here I think you would be amused and a little astounded at the odd way in which this new push at Salonica has been managed. I do not mean our end of it, but the FO part of it. The Salonica people, apparently, had not the slightest idea of anybody coming; the whole thing was a bit of a “surprise packet”.

The position is so liquid just now that it is impossible to express any opinion as to what is going to happen. The last news I have is Venizelos’ resignation as Premier; whether this means a reversal of Greek policy we do not yet know. One thing is certain, the MEF is a bit sidetracked unless our “lost Sheep” return to us. You are well aware of what we are up against and what we have got per yard and what we are losing per day in wastage. Well – there is not much over for a push, more’s the pity.

I should dearly like to get home and hear what is going on, but I do not know whether they will allow us to do it.

Let me know if I can do anything for you; I shall be delighted.
Very glad to hear they may give some honours to Aus & NZ AC. I hope our poor old 29th Division will be remembered too.

Ever yours
S Pollen

S Pollen to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/28)

The position today is internationally fluid

Lt Alexander Muir McGrigor may not have got the job for which he was recommended here (to relieve Ralph Glyn for other work), but he later served as ADC to Sir Ian Hamilton and then General Birdwood.

Private

GHQ
MEF
26/8 [1915]

Dear Glyn

I am sorry it could not be arranged for you to get away tonight.
Gen Maude is of course entitled to 2 ADCs and in these strenuous days I think he will not find 2 too many – as one may easily be out of action any time from indisposition or other causes. He has one coming out from England. To make suggestions to anyone about their personal staff is an act so tactless that I hold it in horror – but I may mention to you in case Gen Maude were looking for a temp or perm. ADC – the name of 2/Lt A M McGRIGOR – Glos Yeo. He is about 24 or 25 – not sure – but has been in India, knows camp life & tropics, also business training & would do well for mess, camp & other arrangements.

Whether Gen Peyton can spare him I do not know, but you could easily ascertain. He is out with 2/Mountdiv. If you were by chance to find a relief & Gen Maude could free you, let me know.

The position is today – internationally – fluid. Into what mould it will be cast, & crystallise, will greatly depend on the next few days. They are momentous. I know you think with me.

Yours ever
G H Pollen

Letter from G H Pollen to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C31/16)