GWL 23rd November 1917

We have not had a mail for a good long time now.  Those bally Russians seem to be going to make peace.  I am wondering whether Japan could not make it rather warm for them if they do.  It is a sickening business.  The only form of government they are fit for is a good fat tyranny.  The fatter the better.  It remains to see what will become of us.

Took a little motor drive round the town yesterday.  Salonique looking quite it’s best.  It really is a pathetic site.  Have been on the go pretty steadily all day and am just a little weary.  Cannot find a solitary hen in the country to be bought under 12 francs!  Rather a scandal isn’t it?  No turkeys either.  We shall have to take a gun out into the plain and see what can be done among the geese.  Vicar apparently has not yet gone to the battalion.  I do not know anything has occurred to change the plans.  No sign of Peter down here yet.  I should like to see the lad.”

German Airship L-59 reach East Africa but then turns back without landing.

zeppelin-l-59-takes-off-1917-dyywkc

{next post 26th November}

GWL 21st November 1917

The evenings are drawing in pretty fast now.  It is almost dark at half past five.  They have been patching up our house for the winter.  The roof used to leak in the most abominable manner; also there were a good many cracks in the sides.

I hope that the Boche will refrain from raiding you again this moon.  I have just got a lot of photographs of poor old burnt out Salonique.  They are very good and most interesting.  I will send them along hoping that they will arrive safely.  What are you going to get yourself for a Christmas present?  To-day a parcel dated Oct: 3rd arrived, so soon my coat sent off by Hawkes should arrive.  Heaven knows I want it badly enough.  Drat that old Tucker for not bringing it out.  He could not help it really.  Been to a “Mooric” lately?  Our old gramophone goes pretty steadily most evenings.”

The Russian Bolshevik leadership decide to enter talks with the Central Powers with a view to Armistice.

{next post 23rd November}

GWL 19th November 1917

Beastly cold.  I am looking forward to the advent of my new coat.  My present garments are not very smart.  Parcels have taken rather a long time lately.  Yesterday I had one from you dated 19th September.  It had been dropped into the sea by some clumsy devil.   A very charming letter from your Mozzer the other day.  The dear lady seems very larky.  I rode over to see that Tomlinson the other day, she having said she would be up and give me tea.  I kicked a bally mule 8 solid miles.  Fought on the average a big fight with him every half mile and arrived to find Nora T. still asleep.  Asked one of the Sisters to smack her hard when she woke up, and rode home very wrath.  There is only one woman I will kick a bally mule 16 miles for again.”

On the 20th the Battle of Cambria begins.  This was the first occasion that tanks were used in significant numbers.  Nearly 500 tanks accompanied by 8 Divisions and 1,000 guns made initial gains of up to 6km.  An inability to bring up re-enforcements and repeated German counter attacks meant that nearly all the ground taken by the Allied forces was retaken by the Germans.

{next post 21st November}

GWL 16th November 1917

Just turned awfully cold.  A bitter wind and looks quite like snow.  On Sunday I am going over again to see Nora Thomkinson.  Last time I went the lady could not be found.  Turned out she was in bed.  Had a letter fromPeter the other day.  He seems very fit and may be coming down this way for a day or two.  He says that Vicary is getting the battalion.  In which case I might go back if opportunity offered but not to a company, if I could help it.  Just heard that Hugh Scruton died three days after he was hit, in the hands of the Bulgars.

“To-morrow a man is coming to mend our house which lately has developed sundry cracks and leaks awfully badly.  Have been doing a certain amount of experimental shooting lately.  Very amusing it has been too.  It has its annoyances though.  Just going to a very nice little cup of soup before going to bed.”

On the 17th the Battle of Nebi Samwil commenced.  This was the first element of an attempt by Empire Forces to capture Jerusalem.  The action lasted seven days with a resultant Empire victory but the lack of artillery support meant that a further assault on Jerusalem itself proved impossible.

{next post 19th November}

GWL 14th November 1917

Some bally dago broke into our cook house last night and made off with a good deal of gear.  We are now devising various forms of sudden death for marauding Frenchmen and Greeks. We have sent an ultimatum to the Mayor of Lembet and informed him that for every pound of stuff stolen from here by Greeks we will shoot 1 cow.  The device at present in use ensures that if anybody opens the cook house door without first disconnecting the mechanism he receives a bullet straight in the face from a range of 1 yard.  We have great hopes of success.  To-night I and two other officers are going to prowl for an hour or two and see what we can pick up.  A lot of people round here have had the turkeys, they have been keeping for Christmas, stolen by Frenchmen.  All things considered it is pretty low.  Just heard that Vicary is most likely getting the 61st.”

Ms Painleve (French Premier and War Minister) and Barthou (Foreign Minister) resign.  Painleve is replaced four days later by M. Clemenceau and Barthou by M. Pichon.  Lt Col A C Vicary assumed command of the 2nd Battalion on December 3rd.

{next post 16th November}

GWL 12th November 1917

A most damnable day.  Raining and blowing like the devil.  I have an old Rugbeian down here now.  He left school in 1915!  Makes one feel desperately old…… Great news from Egypt isn’t it? Pretty poor place to fit in I should think.  Scooting up and down the Mount of Olives would not suit me a bit, however much milk and honey there might be about.  How abominable about “Chines Characteristics”.  Really too bad about the people not telling you.  Glory it does blow – The mushrooms alas have finished.  We made pigs of ourselves.”

In the Struma Valley heavy rains on the 13th rendered the Valley largely flooded ending any significant operations for the winter.

{next post 14th November}

GWL 9th November 1917

To-day arrived a parcel dated Sept 5th.  It had been dropped in the sea by some careful person.  How long it remained there I have not yet tried to ascertain.  Still very windy and I have the beginnings of a very glorious cold.  At present it is only in my right nose.  The wind has driven the few flies the remain, indoors and they seem rather numerous.  Sir Alfred Yarrow, however, comes to the rescue.  The things he sends are awfully good.  The flies like them not at all.  I was going to have a treat to-day and tottle off in a car to see Rawson but it fell through.  Instead I had a bath.  Allah is wise.

I have a blinking baronet down here now.  He is wonderful bald.  Tell Tizzie I am much greyer since I became an uncle.  What are they going to call the child?  Or is it too early to think about that yet?  Lord love us, fancy Adam a papa.  The thing that tickles me to death is Mozzer’s promotion to the rank of “Grosse Mozzer” with pay and allowances to date – Oct: 1917 – We live in thrilling times.”

On the 10th the Second Battle of Passchendaele concluded with the Allies taking the village of Passchendaele bringing to an end the collective Third Battle of Ypres.  This phase was notable for the particularly heavy casualties sustained by the Canadian Divisions.

{next post 12th November}

 

The First World War seen through the letters of George Power