All posts by richardpower7

GWL 18th February 1918

“The snow has stopped and we are in an awful mess.  No more of the camp has come down, thank goodness.  The whole place is a marsh.  It is thawing like mad.  No signs of the sun yet but we have hopes that he may appear to-morrow.  Clarence Gardner is down in this part of the world for a bit; he and I are going to have some dinner down town this week.  My M.O. is much better now and is coming back in a day or two.  There is no news.

“The snow has done the hens a bit of no good.  They have stopped laying altogether, drat them.  A most sad thing happened in the transport lines during the blizzard.  Poor mules, of course, did not get much sleep.  One, more bored than the rest spent the night in gnawing his neighbour’s Tail!  What was one day a beautiful swishy thing, is now alas a la elephant.  Sad, isn’t it?  They are great humorists.”

On the 18th the Germans resumed hostilities with Russia, taking Dvinsk.  On the 19th the Bolshevik government signalled a willingness to sign a peace treaty with Germany.

{next post 23rd February}

GWL 16th February 1918

“An awful day.  The weather broke last night.  The class has gone and there is practically nobody to look after the camp.  It is blowing a howling gale and snowing.  Three quarters of the camp is down and there does not seem to be any good reason why the other quarter should not go down also.  A day like this, makes you feel so helpless – We can do nothing except go to bed and trust to luck.  Frankly I am fed up! This blessed country seems quite incapable of doing anything in moderation.  You never have a nice quiet drizzle as you do in England.  If it rains at all there is always a shrieking gale afterwards and away goes your camp.  The cats have gone quite mad.  They are charging all over the hut and jumping up to look out of the windows, uttering weird cries the while.  The hut appears to be going round and round.  Tucker says it moves an inch with every gust.”

On 15th/16th February the German navy was active in the Dover Straits with Dover itself being shelled by a U-boat on the 16th.

{next post 18th February}

GWL 13th February 1918

“A particularly lovely day and just about as much work as I can well get through.  There is not a bit of news of any kind.  I see in the papers that Master Sarrail, late of the Salonica Army is on the mat.  Really it is all very instructive.  So comforting, isn’t it, to find that you have been under the orders of a general who is to be questioned on the extent to which he was mixed up with Caillaux & also the dear Tino, of infamous memory.

“A very nice book came from you yesterday, “The Compleat Bachelor” – Rather after the style of the Dolly Dialogues.  You keep me awfully well supplied with things.  I have got another officer in the place of Bowerbank – a nice youth.  It is hot for February – walking about in these hills is quite hard work.”

General Sarrail had commanded the Salonica force from the outset of the campaign until his dismissal in December 1917 partly as a result of his associations with Joseph Caillaux, leader of the French Radical party who advocated peace with the Germans and who was tried for treason in 1918.

The Compleat Bachelor was one of the early novels of George Onions (1873-1961).

{next post 16th February}

GWL 11th February 1918

“I ought to have written yesterday but I am most infernally busy.  A very wonderful thing has happened, for which I am praising the gods, viz, namely, to whit, my breeches posted by your fair hand on Oct 31st 1917, have this day arrived!  Where they have been they only know.  You cannot think how glad I am to get them.  What with new puttees, breeches & coat I feel quite like a gentleman again.

“Still it does not rain.  It did try a little bit this afternoon but gave it up.  Your letter of 24th Jan: came this morning.  I am so very glad Vicary has written to thank you for all you have done.  No sign of my understudy yet.  They have not forgotten me though and the people I work under in the H.Q.Office are most awfully nice to me.  I am so bucked about my bags I can hardly think of anything else.  It was awful walking about in a beastly old pair I bought at ordnance.”

President Woodrow Wilson outlines four additional Points to Congress.

{next post 13th February}

GWL 8th February 1918

“To-day arrived a parcel dated 28 Nov:!  They don’t seem to be in any particular hurry to get parcels to us out here.  However it is most welcome.  Another perfectly beautiful day.  It is really very nice but something bad must be coming soon.  We have a new dog.  The most priceless thing you can imagine.  Quite black and awfully woolly.  My servant bought him off a Greek for 6d!  The cats can’t make him out at all.

“I picked up to-day, or rather unearthed from a pile of rubbish, a whole lot of Penny Poets.  All sorts of queer things among them.  At present I am engaged with E.B.B. [Elizabeth Barrett Browning]  I like some of them immensely, particularly her love sonnets to Mr B.  I had a shot at Burns, but bless me if I could understand the man.  I feel I sympathise with Stephen Leacock as regards Burns.

“My reign as P.M.C. has been marred by the cook getting intoxicated.  I gave him a pass in Salonica the other day and apparently he met some friends and they were too much for him.  He is now in durance vile [A long prison sentence].”

On the 9th a Peace Treaty was signed between Bulgaria, the Central Powers, Turkey and the Ukraine Rada or Parliament.  On the 10th Trotsky announces an end to hostilities with Central Powers, Bulgaria and Turkey but won’t sign a Peace Treaty.

{next post 11th February}

GWL 6th February 1918

“A monstrous fine day.  Brother Boche paid us a visit to-day but did not leave any cards.  I think he is working up for something.  They had another chop at my poor little medical officer yesterday.  He is getting on better now I am glad to say.  I am the hell of a Mess President;  it is quite one of the sweetest sights to me ordering meals.  It has been rather difficult of late, as there is no bacon and no porridge to be had, so we are forced back on the tinned salmon.  The haddock we have had to cast from us, he had evil effects on our insides.

“We have planned about 1/2 an acre of potatoes and are now praying for rain.  I hear they are getting a months leave from France now.

“The cats are in tremendous form – the particular cat is really a most charming person.  Whenever she comes into the office or any room where I am she does a sort of squeak.  She wakes me in the morning about six.  Awful fond of her.”

On February 5th SS Tuscania was sunk by UB-77 in the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland.  She was bound for Liverpool from the US carrying more than 2,000 US troops and having a crew of 384.  More than 200 troops and crew were lost but the remainder were rescued by other convoy ships.  Tuscania was launched in 1914 and prior to being converted not a troop ship she was a luxury liner in the Cunard fleet.


On February 6th the German Government sent an ultimatum to the Rumanian Government demanding peace negotiations within four days.

{next post 8th February}


GWL 1st February 1918

‘It is a beastly nuisance but they seem to be finding a good deal of difficulty in finding my understudy and until he comes I cannot go on leave.  The Tank has ceased to influence the matter in the least, thank goodness.  I am however very wrath with the lad.

“Really the weather is wonderful.  It must be saving up for something really bad.  This morning came your letter of the 16th & the copy of your letter about the Tank.  I am very sorry to hear about Mozzer’s Mozzer being so ill.  Our M.O. has had to go to hospital for a few days and I am trying to run the mess!  I have not the remotest idea as to how much stuff to order.  Of course we live very simply and have to buy what we can at the E.F.C. but still it is rather a business.  I have been spending all evening at the M.O.’s accounts.  Rather muddled.  His departure was rather drole.  When he started off on his rounds (he does a good many units round here) we had no idea that he had a bad hand.  The next we heard was that he was being chopped up in hospital.  Then his horse came back alone without his saddle.  No accident but rather mystifying.  He is rather an erratic individual.”

Expeditionary Force Canteens were the distribution outlets for the Navy and Army Canteen Board and the effective ration distribution network for the Forces overseas.  In 1921 they were reformed into the NAAFI.


{next post 6th February}