GWL 10th September 1915

Yesterday a great event took place just by a small village near here.  Three brothers met.  In other words the warrior Frank arrived about noon with his braves and the gallant Peter and I took horse and went to greet him.  He was very well and full of war.  He went up to the trenches for a “look see” last night.  Rather a remarkable meeting don’t you think?…….

Please send me another box of razor blades and a book.  I have read an awful lot lately.  An aeroplane had the sauce to drop bombs round here the other day, drat him.”

Having three brothers meet on the Western Front was probably a fairly unusual event.  Frank (publishers grandfather) was serving in the 1st Battalion  Yorks and Lancs Regiment, probably as a captain at the time.

{next post 12th September}

GWL 8th September 1915

A concert is going on – very varied programme.  Oh please thank Mozzer for the lavender bag.  There is a noisome smell here and it comes in very handy.

My riding school s a great success.  They are getting very sore, some of them.  They can either ride or do physical training with the company in the morning.  The extraordinary thing is that none of them have fallen off yet.  One of the grooms came down today, the fool horse tried to push the jump down.  My small pony jumps awfully well, he is a nice little beast and awfully friendly.  He rejoices in the name of “Harry”.

There is no news – awfully hot the last few days.  The early mornings are perfectly lovely.  Just misty and nice and cool.  Send me another book, will you – I like the Kipling hugely.  We went to nearly all the places, didn’t we?”

{next post 10th September}

GWL 6th September 1915

It has been a lovely day.  I have a charming book (From Sea to Sea) and my landlady is going to mend the holes in my pants.  So all is right with the world except that I am away from you.

I have instituted riding school in the morning before breakfast for my subalterns, none of whom can ride!  Peter also attends and is very dashing.  Tremendous excitement yesterday – An aeroplane came down quite close to here.  He said he was a Belgian, but people did not believe him & so he was carted off.  The plane has gone now, so I suppose he was what he said.  Plenty bad men about these days and one cannot be too careful.

A bally mouse has got a spite against me.  He gnaws the wall paper just above my head and when I arise to strafe him, he runs out of reach.  Too bad, isn’t it?  We had a very nice little “makee pray” last Sunday.”

“From Sea to Sea” is a two volume collection of Kipling’s letters and travel reports.

{next post 8th September}

GWL 4th September 1915

……….It is about time I thought of getting my winter rings.  What I shall want first is one of Thresher & Glenny’s trench coats…. I hate to think of the winter away from you again, but needs must when the devil drives.  The company writes an awful lot of letters these days – A large number have the legend S.W.A.K. on the flap, which being interpreted means “Sealed with a kiss”!  Apparently they are oblivious of the fact that the poor censor has to lick them.  Vicary is on leave till the 9th.  We had the rumour the other day that the war was over!”

WW1-trench coat

A Thresher and Glenny Trench Coat with Lieutenant pips on the epaulettes.

{next post 6th September}

GWL 2nd September 1915

I AM so sorry about Major Conner.

“We are out again for a bit of a rest.  It is getting rather autumnal now.  The trees are turning and at night it is quite cold.  This afternoon I visited the Divisional baths and partook of a much needed ablution.  You first get into a small tank full of hot water and then, if brave you leap out into a tank of cold water.  Werry cold and I did not leap!”

{next post 4th September}

GWL 31st August 1915

Rather a lot of gunning to-day, why I don’t know.  I wonder how many people will shoot partridge to-morrow?  It would be rather pleasant to pot instead of generally being potted at.

I do hope Major Conner’s Xray thing will be satisfactory, although I am rather afraid it must be serious.  Has anybody heard anything of the worthy Captain Frank Power lately?  I wonder when his lordship is thinking of taking ship for Boulogne or some other spot on the coast of this bug infested land.  The 29th was his birthday and I had intended to write to the lad but failed…….. The Sherlock Holmes story is fine.  Thank you so much for it, also for “Trent’s Last Case” which I have just begun and which came along with a most lovely parcel.”

X-rays were discovered towards the end of the 19th Century by Roentgen but it was the French physicist Marie Curie who realised the benefits of X-rays in aiding the treatment of wounded soldiers during the War.  The “new” technology enabled bullets and shrapnel, principally in head injuries, to be located, aiding surgical removal.

Marie-curie-xray-trucka

“Trent’s Last Case” is a detective novel written by EC Bentley and published in 1913.  It was subsequently made into a film three times.

{next post 2nd September}

GWL 29th August 1915

Very wet afternoon after a lovely morning.  However it looks a trifle finer than it did.  Your husband is quite well, thank you, but once again in need of a bath.  Many skitties, roused to wrath by the pungency of the royal pipe, are making themselves a thorough nuisance.  When this is finished, they shall be “strafed” – Certain amount of bombing going on our left – Hope it does not spread.  There is absolutely not a single scrap of news.  Frogs, in which this land abounds, have the time of their small slimy lives, when the rain comes.  Where on earth they all come from, Heaven only knows.  Not a sign of them when it is dry.  Now they are all hopping round the trench.

What an extraordinary thing it is that peoples cannot live peacefully in this bally planet.”

The late summer of 1915 was a time of relative quiet on the Western Front apart from periodic sniping, shell fire and mine activity.

{next post 31st August}

The First World War seen through the letters of George Power