Category Archives: WW1Letters

GWL 10th December 1917

“Such a lot of mail has arrived now.  Everything up to 24 Nov.  I am so awfully sorry about the death of the little fellow you used to teach.  It must be hard work, but it seems to have its rewards.  The lad Bennett seems a charming person.  I like to think the men you teach appreciate you.  It was awfully nice of him to think of escorting you.  Really it is too pathetic for words.  You will miss Jerry – won’t you?

Do you want a small bet?  I will bet you an even 2d that Holland is in the war one way or the other before Christmas: Of course the time limit will have expired before you get this, but what matter?”

On the 9th December an Armistice was agreed between Rumania and the Central Powers and this came into force on the 10th.  George would have lost his bet concerning Holland as the country remained neutral throughout the war.

{next post 12th December}

GWL 8th December 1917

“A mail came to-day, Nov. 8th.  I am glad about the book.  Thank you so much.  The last parcel to arrive was dated Oct 3rd.  He came some time ago but they say there is another wandering about somewhere.  The turkey will be splendid.  I do hope he will turn up.  Still cold here.  Basins and buckets all frozen in the morning and considerable reluctance to get out of bed, but it is not as bad as it might be.

Another letter just arrived telling about the Christening of the “wizz bang”.  Bit rough on the “old Adam” when you come to think of it and, without being irreverent, one might almost remark that it would puzzle the Almighty to do it without destroying the infant.  A pretty problem.  I am so glad Flemings has been such a success.  I do hope you will trot off there again if you feel inclined.  To-day I saw Clarence Gardner.  He turned up looking very well.  I was awfully glad to see him.  He is a ver good fellow.  He asked after you.”

All hostilities on the Eastern Front ceased.  During the course of the War the total number of casualties on both sides approached 16,000,000.

{next post 10th December}

GWL 5th December 1917

“A mail came to-day, most awfully welcome.  Letters up to Nov: 16th.  Nobody can tell me what the ring is, so I will keep it for you.  Miss Power’s birthday to-day.  She must be getting a big girl.  I have just been in this bally country 2 bally years.  How in the name of all that is wonderful any Greek could portray the ancient goddesses going about with nothing on in weather like this I cannot imagine.  Olympus is all snow and much colder than here.  They must have hides, those women.  Padre came up for ‘makee pray’ to-day and is staying the night.  Quite a cheery cove.  He came back off leave with Tucker.  He has got quite a sense of humour and is very different to the ordinary run of Holy Joes.  Not seen anything of Peter yet.  I hope the lad will come down here.”

The next few days sees a flurry of political activity. On the 6th Finland declared it’s independence from Russia.  Hostilities between Rumania and the Central Powers were suspended.  A truce was arranged between Russia and Bulgaria, the Central Powers and Turkey.  On the 7th the USA declared war on Austria-Hungary.

{next post 8th December}


GWL 3rd December 1917

“Still very cold.  To-day we had a tea party with a new crowd.  Very pleasant it was.  One of them was the wife of a major in the Somerset L.I. who was killed in the first days of the war.  We were in Malta with that Battn. but he was not with it then.  Really it is most awfully sad.  She does not know to this day if he is really dead.  He was wounded and taken prisoner.  I’ve a jolly old cold.  Nothing much, only one of the sniffy kind, but unpleasant.  Balkan News has been publishing some telegrams between Greece and Germany.  Very interesting to know what might have happened.  Tino and his charming spouse seem to have been a pretty pair of pirates.  Walked a long way to-day, and feel rather weary.  On the whole we do not get very much exercise here except on Sundays and it does us an awful lot of good to have a good trot.  One mile over this country is equal to about a dozen on the flat.”

The Battle of Cambria comes to an end with no significant gains by either side.  The first session of the Armistice talks between the Bolsheviks and the Central Powers begins.

{next post 5th December}

GWL 1st December 1917

“A happy Christmas to you.  Glory, it is a long long time, isn’t it?  Still no mail.  A rush must be coming soon.  It is very cold.

I got a new gun yesterday captured from the Bulgars.  Very interesting gun.  I know every gun made now except the Italian Perino! Swank.  One of the cats has a very bad cold, also one of the dogs.  The starlings have been falling down exhausted, so the weather must have been pretty hard.  It takes a good deal to do in a starling.  Have you heard anything of Miss Meiklejohn lately? I retrieved a shell case for her and I should rather like to know if she has got it yet.  What is the correct nomenclature in the official catalogue for your niece?

The Russian show seems to be improving a bit.  I suppose we can write off about £800,000,000 as dead loss that we have lent them one way and another.  They are a nation of skunks aren’t they?”

On this day the Permanent Allied Supreme War Council came into existence… The following day the Russian and German armies suspended hostilities.

{next post 5th December}

GWL 28th November 1917

“No news and no mail.  A most wonderful cold wind, however, is doing its best to make up for deficiencies.  The gramophone, drat it, has refused duty.  We operated last night but cannot say that the patient is much better.  We extricated various nasty growths, such as moths & things but it is still very sick.  After all the bally thing has run pretty solidly for 12 months now, so it is not so bad.  The repairs to our house which include the addition of a very fine porch, are proving invaluable.  We can now open the office door without all the papers and things blowing off.  Also when it rains it is no longer necessary to put all the papers & gear under the tables and don mackintoshes.  Our female dog is about to make another contribution.  The Lord grant it is not the same size as the last lot (9).  Three mails are supposed to be knocking about near here, so the Gods being favourable, we may get some soon.”

On the 29th the Air Force (Constitution) Act 1917 came into force effectively bringing into existence the Royal Air Force.

GWL 26th November 1917

These wretched people have not given us a mail for about 3 weeks.  I do hope you have been more lucky.  I am beginning to wonder whether the coat sent off by Hawkes about 5th Oct has been sunk.  It has not arrived yet.  The days now are very lovely.  To-day not quite so fine and rather cold.  Our medicine man has been endeavouring to establish another entente!  He hopes to have a bun worry next Saturday.  No news from that subaltern of mine who went potty.  I solemnly warned him when he left that if he did not return in proper time, at the end of the war I would hunt him out and slay him.  Perhaps he imagines that by the time that joyous day arrives he will be some way off.  Nothing will avail him.  With my biggest gun and the largest smell dog I can find I will hunt him down and slay him.  So let him and his beloved beware.  If he returneth not, her too will I slay (being at the bottom of the whole trouble) and there shall be much weeping and gnashing of teeth & tearing of hair & you and I will go home to tea and eat much bun.  For what rejoiceth the heart more than a good deed well done?  Selah!”

On the 27th German and Bolshevik officials met to open discussions around Armistice.  The Members of the Supreme War Council were appointed: General Sir H H Wilson, General F Foch, General Cadorna, and General Bliss.

{next post 28th November}