All posts by richardpower7

GWL 21st April 1918

“Much exercise on foot and riding.  It is a very pleasant change in every way and I feel much better even after only three days of it.  How long it will go on for I don’t know.  It is all most interesting.  Seeing new people & different parts of the country is topping after being stuck in that camp so long.  Watched them shelling old man Bulgar for a bit this afternoon.  The people here are awfully kind to me and are most amusing, particularly an interpreter.  You cannot think what a relief it is to get away from that camp for a bit.  It makes you feel extraordinarily free.  Really it is the best kind of holiday I have had for years.  I may see Peter during my wanderings, but I don’t know.  Hope so.  It was rather an adventuresome ride in that car the other day.  Once or twice I thought we were over.  The roads were very bad in some places.  Deep ruts made by lorries are not much fun in a small car.”

At this point George is granted home leave and travels back to UK via Italy and France.  It is also the end of his time in the Machine Gun School.  There are four short entries in the transcripts by Marion:

  • GHP arrived on leave on May 11th and left again for Salonica on June 10th.
  • Received June 14th two letters dated June 11th from Port of disembarkation in France.
  • Received June 20th a letter written somewhere en route through France dated June 14th.
  • Received June 24th two post cards and a watercolour sent from some place in Italy on June 18th.

{next post 25th June}

GWL 19th April 1918

“Rather a stormy sort of day and no news.  Rather a rush just now for me and letters may be a bit erratic for a bit, but I hope not.  Your letters have come up to March 25th.  At present I am waiting for a car which does not seem inclined to turn up.  However we have all day for the job so it does not matter much.  I must stop now.  I will try and writs again tomorrow.”

Taking advantage of the state of chaos in Russia German forces enter the Crimea, establishing a puppet government in June.

{next post 21st April 1918}

GWL 16th April 1918

“The very devil of a storm.  It started about 2 PM and went on until about 4.  Hail stones and coals of fire and all sorts of things flying about.  One coal of fire fell about a mile away so they say.  Personally I did not see it, but a padre tells me he did, so who am I to dispute the statement.  Last night a truly lamentable thing occurred.  About 1 AM (or to be more correct about 01.00 hours) the supposed or suspected father of the last lot of kittens paid a visit to the nursery.  He lured mamma outside & murdered his children.  We are now for a short period kitten less.  There is another draft arriving shortly.

” This afternoon after the rain we had a small shoot with the Austrian gun we got the other day.  It really is a beauty.  It is a nasty thing to look at but she runs beautifully.  No news.  To-morrow I am going down town to get my hair cut.  No mail from you for quite a long time.  I expect this French thing has boxed it up and everything else into the bargain.”

The Battle of the Lys continued with the Battle of Kemmel Ridge from 17th – 19th.  Initial German gains were reversed by British and Belgian forces.

{next post 19th April}

GWL 14th April 1918

“Another jolly old day gone.  I suppose each day that goes by does really bring us nearer to the end of this sorry show.  It would be distressing if time suddenly started to go backwards just now, wouldn’t it?

I really must get my hair cut again.  It seems to grow very quickly on the places where there is any.  Got a new Austrian gun to-day – The second of its kind that I have here now.  To-morrow I am going to have a shot with it.  There is only one of the genus Machine Gun that I don’t know now & that is the Italian.  There are no wild excitements going on here.  Summer is obviously coming on apace.  It is now quite hot in the sun.”

General Foch is appointed Commander-in-Chief of Allied Armies in France.  The German advance continued with German forces reoccupying Passchendaele on April 16th.

{next post 16th April}

GWL 12th April 1918

“To-morrow I am going to get my hair cut.  It means rather a journey but still it must be done.  The weather is lovely and the hills a mass of flowers.  It has been a lovely spring with plenty of rain and not a drought like last year.  Mules are all looking splendid.  Fat as the devil & the grass doing them a world of good.  Funny old world, isn’t it? Lot of shelling going on tonight.  Have you heard any news about the 28th in this show in France? Would you try and find out about the people I know?”

The 1st Gloucesters (28th) were still in the Ypres salient in the region of Poelcapelle.  A raid was launched on the night of the 2nd/3rd April on a German post on the Poelcapelle-Spriet Road with two officers (2nd Lts Gould and Hampson) and 26 other ranks split into two parties.  The objective was to capture and bring back at least one prisoner.  Four prisoners were taken with no casualties sustained.

The Spring Offensive was at its peak and Field-Marshall Sir Douglas Haig issues a “Backs to the Wall” Order of the Day.

{next post 14th April}

GWL 7th April 1918

“…News there is none.  The weather is glorious – Grass & things (except potatoes)growing like anything.  To-day I am going out to tea.  They are very nice, cheery people.  Had a letter from Peter to-day.  He apparently nearly got blown up the other day.  This day three years ago I was sitting in a dear little trench in Ypres.  Lord! those days seem to have been in a previous existence, don’t they?  Enclosed is a small photograph of me, my funny old adjutant in his comic bags & one of my subalterns.  Please admire the gloves!”

It is possible that the incident where Peter came near to being blown up occurred on March 18th when a blind Bulgarian shell landed in the 2nd Gloucesters lines with Capt. A J Hammond being seriously wounded. He died five days later in Stavros.

{next post 12th April}

GWL 5th April 1918

“Our wedding day…….Your letter of March 5th turned up to-day, rather late, & that of the 15th…..The frost spoiled a large part of our spuds: they were up about 2 inches & now they are all black.  We are not much good at gardening.  Last year the goats ate the marrows & the ants ran away with the carrots.  Some life, this is —“

The Battles of the Avre (4th April) and Ancre(5th April) brought to a close Operation Michael, the German Spring Offensive on the Western Front.  Although German gains were significant, it was at a substantial cost with c. 250,000 casualties and the remaining forces were exhausted and demoralised.

{next post 7th April}