HA Titcomb letter 30 January 1919

HA Titcomb letter 30 January 1919

 

HAROLD ABBOT TITCOMB

SALISBURY HOUSE

LONDON E.C. 2.

 

TELEGRAPH AND

CABLE, “TITCOMB, LONDON”

CODE, BEDFORD MCNEILL

 

R.A.F. Repatriation Records,

43 St Cross Road,

Winchester, 30th Jany 1919

F.W. Lanchester Esq., M. Inst. C.E.

41 Bedford Square, London W.C. 1.

 

My dear Lanchester,

 

I have had a most exciting experience in the R.A.F. As you know I was offered a Commission by General Trenchard for the purpose of undertaking intelligence observation work for one of his bombing wings in the I.A.F.  I gladly accepted this but after signing up the papers and going through as a “special case” of the M.G.P. (General Branker) I was called back and informed that no Commissions could be given to Aliens so they offered me the next highest rank, that of Warrant Officer 1st class being informed that this would make no change in the kind of work I was to attempt.  You are now hearing from me a fully fledged Sergeant Major.  I went over to France and reached the Antigny-la-Tour about three hours after General Trenchard had made his farewell to that Headquarters.  The Armistice was on, and so I was returned to England.  In order to enable me enter the Air Force, someone had me down as having the trade of a “Master Clerk” so my present work consists in an attempt to learn routine clerical work appertaining to the service.  I am doing this as best I can; but, as I informed my Commanding Officer (Major Moser) who is a very fine man, I feel I am unable to do him justice as a pen-pusher.

 

In some way it seems a pity that the war did not last a little longer so that the Germans could have had the thorough thrashing which was just about maturing. In that case perhaps our Armies would have occupied Germany or large portions of it, and this might have delayed or obviated the feeling that the War is over entirely.  This feeling, I am sorry to say, prevails to a great extent amongst all ranks as far as I can see; and you are doubtless aware of this from the ordinary statements in the press.  The men feel that the fighting is really over and that therefore they ought to be demobilised more rapidly than is being done.  The poor chaps are tired out and “fed up” with things in general and are anxious to get back to their jobs again.  One would think that if a very large percentage of the Forces could be demobilised and allowed to have a month or two holiday in civil life, there would then be a fair chance of recruiting a volunteer Army which could handle the situation and permit the rest of the Forces to be demobilised in their turns.  Meanwhile I do not see why it would not be a possible solution to the difficulties with clerical staffs to substitute for them civilian clerks; otherwise there is bound to be discontent among such clerks who through no fault of their own were put into the positions they now hold and feel they are absolutely the last on the list for demobilisation.

 

What is your opinion of the future outlook for business in England.  I have found that the present elements and factors are so numerous and contain so many unknown quantities that I am unable to write any equation which could be solved by mental process of my own; and this applies not only to Great Britain but also to the rest of our civilised World.  The present epidemic of strikes, if carried to logical conclusion, might result in every one of us demanding, no work, double pay and as a minimum that each and every human being in the World ought to have breakfast in bed each morning at, say, 9-O’clock: I think I shall start agitating for this.

 

If you ever see Sir Arthur Duckham please give him my kind regards and tell him I would not have missed meeting any of the fine men I have come across in the Air Force for anything.  I consider it a privilege to have met them in the ranks, and also the many fine Officers with whom I have come in contact.  Everyone has treated me splendidly.

 

I hope this finds you well and flourishing. I shall give myself the pleasure of seeing you when next I have a chance to come to town.  My own office is closed for the present so that you had better address me here or to my home in Kensington.

 

Sincerely yours

Harold A. Titcomb

No 306596 (!).

S/M R.A.F.

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

 

S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II No 2022

Cape Helles.

Jan 22nd 1919

Captain K

H.M.Y. “Paulina”

 

Sir,

 

I have the honour to enclose herewith copy of a letter I sent to S.N.O. (H) H.M.S. “Pelorus” regarding vessels in my Division. To this letter I have received a reply that the S.N.O. will come to Helles on Friday and discuss the subject.

 

Since reporting to you on January 3rd the following vessels have been blown down in turn and cleaned their boilers: –

“Northern Scot” No. 2425.

“Comely” No. 2387

& since advising the new S.N.O. I understand “Ebenezer” No. 2294 has commenced.

 

It is difficult to clean boilers successfully at Chanak owing to having no proper tools and in some cases the boilers are bad due to being considerably overdue.

 

Knowing the quantity of vessels requiring boiler-cleaning at Mudros I am anxious that the vessels in my Division shall clean their own boilers and make good defects whenever it is possible, but I feel it my duty to advise you of defects which require immediate attention and which cannot be done by the enginemen.

 

With the exception of Drifters “Ten” No 1052 and “Victoria II” No 766 – who have been to Mudros for boiler cleaning and defects – my Division have had no opportunity of getting necessary defects done or engines overhauled and since Oct 24th they have been running continuously.

 

All vessels are continuing to carry-on with their duty but these defects are now giving trouble and demand “little stand-offs” which have hitherto never been necessary.

 

There is no defect which could not be made good in 2 or 3 days at the most & if arrangements could be made for one vessel at a time to go to Mudros or Aquarius (Ismud) and have their defects done I feel safe in saying the Division will be able to carry on as a whole as long as they are required.

 

The list of more or less important defects as given me by the Enginemen are appended, but the principle defects which are known to me are as follows: –

 

“Northesk II” No. 2022.  Last Boiler cleaning Oct 20. (now nearly 2 months overdue).

Defects: – Flange of Main Steam pipe cracked.  This was cracked by                       H.M.S. “Abercrombie” while grinding in the seat & valve of Engine                        Stop valve.

This crack is getting worse and is almost sure to break in time and will                    probably do serious injury (if not fatal) to the engineman working the                  lever.

L.P. Piston to be drawn for examination – has not been drawn for 15                      months.  M.P. Slide Valve and Spindle Bracket – the bracket is                              knocking & wearing valve.

 

“Northern Scot” No. 2425.  Defects: – Capstan requires new pinion wheels, as                                difficult to anchor.

Two or three small grinding-in jobs.

 

“Prime” No. 2289. Last Boiler cleaning Sept 24th 1918.

Defects: – Main & Intermediate stop valves leaking badly; joints gone,                    rapidly becoming worse and requires urgent attention.

Several other small defects.

 

“Ten” No. 1052.  Has boiler cleaned & has no defects.

 

“Hopeful” No. 2386.  Last Boiler cleaning Oct 20th 1918.

Defects; – nothing important, but has three or four small jobs requiring                    attention.

 

“Comely” No. 2387.  Defects: – Capstan, 2 new pinion wheels required; this vessel can                  now only use her capstan by hand power and cannot anchor in bad                              weather.

The nature of present duty & the exposed anchorages makes it                                important this capstan should be attended to.

No engine defects.

 

“Ebenezer” No, 2294.  Now boiler-cleaning; this vessel should be boiler cleaned                           every six weeks without fail as she carried no fresh water boiler tank;                        until she blew down yesterday (Jan 21) she had been running on salt                water since Oct 24th last & her boiler is in very bad condition.

Defects: – several minor defects as per list; has had no overhaul since                      1917 (May.)

 

“Victoria II” No. 766. Has boiler cleaned & has no serious defects.

 

“Northesk II” & “Prime” have the defects which may be dangerous to the enginemen & as both require boiler cleaning, I suggest they may receive first attention.

 

I have given particulars at length as I am anxious to keep the Division going as long as they be required.

 

I have the honour to be

Sir

Your obedient servant

Reginald H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.

S.O. of Div.

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

 

S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II

Chanak.

Jan 22nd 1919

Capt A.P.

H.M.S. “Europa”

 

Submitted,

 

It is requested that a 2nd Engimeman may be sent to

H.M.D. “Prime” No. 2289 at Cape Helles vice John B. Thompson 2nd Engn. who has been discharged to H.M.S. “Pelorus” sick & unable to carry on duties owing to private troubles.

 

This Drifter is engaged escorting between Cape Helles & Pos Z Imbros.

 

R.H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.

S.O. of Div.

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

 

S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II

Chanak.

Jan 22/19

Div II Pay Office.

H.M.S. “Europa”

 

I beg to notify the following alteration in the personnel of crew of one of the vessels in my Division.

 

H.M.D. “Prime” No 2289.

John B. Thompson, 2nd Engineman discharged (unable to carry on duty owing to private troubles) to H.M.S. “Pelorus” Chanak.

Jan 20th 1919.  A.M.

 

R.H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.

S.O. of Div.

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

 

 

S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II

Chanak.

Jan 22/19

Div II Pay Office.

H.M.S. “Europa”

 

Enclosed I send pay sheets for six of the vessels in my Division, shewing the amounts they desire to draw on Feb 1.

 

I expect to come to Mudros about that date for food, clothing etc & will call for the amounts.

 

In the meanwhile it is requested that a statement of accounts for pay may be sent me as soon as possible for the crews (& Officers) of the following vessels.

 

H.M.D. “Northesk II” No. 2022.

“     “Northern Scot” No. 2425.

“     “Prime” No. 2289.

“    “Ten” No. 1052.

“    “Hopeful” No. 2386.

“     “Comely” No. 2387.

“     “Ebenezer” No.2294.

“     “Victoria II” No. 766.

observing that these men have received no statement of their pay accounts since Sept last.

 

It is particularly requested that a statement of the Victualling accounts to end of Dec may be sent for the ships, & in future once a month in accordance with Capt Ks Memo No 45 where notice is given of a probable change of crews in the near future.

 

R.H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.

S.O. of Div.

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

 

S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II

Cape Helles.

Jan 22 1918 [19]

S.N.O. (A.P. Office)

H.M.S. “Europa”

 

In accordance with instructions received from S.N.O. Cape Helles.  I have collected demands for Engine room & Deck Stores for month of February from the following vessels in my Division.

H.M.D. Northesk II No. 2022.

Prime No. 2289.

Ten No. 1052.

Hopeful No. 2386.

Comely No. 2387.

Victoria II No. 766.

the other two vessels – Ebenezer No. 2294 and Northern Scot No. 2425 – being I understand under Black Sea Command.

 

Arrangements will be made for a Drifter to be sent for food & clothing for Feb. about end of the month & could collect Deck & Engineroom Stores also if convenient.

 

The first six items on Deck Stores list for Northesk II are returns & the old will be sent back immediately on receipt of new.

 

The hatch cover is urgently required as the present one lets all water through & stores are continually being ruined in hold.

 

The Hand Scrubber & Wash bowl marked lost overboard, were washed overboard by a very heavy sea which broke on our beam at Cape Helles Jan 19th.

 

R.H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.

S.O. of Div.

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

 

S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II

Cape Helles.

Jan 22nd 1919

Commanding Officer.

H.M.S. “Europa”

 

Sir,

 

I have the honour to report the following mine sunk by one of my Division while returning to Aliki Bay Imbros to anchor after completing her days’ escorting duties.

 

H.M.D. “Ten” No 1052. (local No 94).

Date: – January 17th 1919.

Position: – 400 06’ 30” N 260 00’ 00” E.

Depth of Water: – 24 fthms.

Description: – Floating mine, (British) Spherical bottom upwards with bar   across.

Name of Mine: – British Elia (Fig 36 Book of Mines).

How sunk: – Rifle Fire (Mark VII).

 

I have the honour to be

Sir

Your obedient servant

Reginald H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.

S.O. of Div.

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919

 

S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II

Cape Helles.

Jan 22 1919

Staff Paymr (V)

H.M.S. “Europa”

 

In accordance with signal received from S.N.O. (H) I have collected chits for victuals and clothing for month of February, from vessels in my Division & send same herewith.

 

Provision Chits are enclosed for the following vessels.

Northesk II No. 2022.

Prime No. 2289.

Ten No. 1052.

Hopeful No 2386.

Comeley No. 2387.

Victoria II No. 766.

 

I have not included Chits for “Northern Scot” No. 2425 or “Ebenezer” No. 2294, as I understand these two vessels are on the books of “Caesar”.

 

Slop Chits (Clothing, Soap & Tobacco) are also enclosed for crews of the same 6 vessels.

 

Those for “Northesk” & “Comely” I have made out on the proper form but had no more forms left for the other four vessels or would have done them all.

 

Very few men were able to obtain boots last month, so hope they can be now had as their boots are very old & many are complaining of colds through wet feet.

 

If any convenience to you I will arrange to come to Mudros to collect both food & clothing at the end of the month or beginning of Feb. as I did in Dec.

 

A signal sent to Capt. (K) asking for Drifter to be sent to collect food & clothing for 9th Div of Drifters will no doubt be sent on to me.

 

R.H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.

S.O. of Div.

F. Hammond letter 21 January 1919

F. Hammond letter 21 January 1919

 

21.1.19

Ohligs Rhineld

Dear F & M

Just a line to let you know I am gogging along nicely.  I was very pleased to hear you fared so well at Xmas. Glad to say I received the parcel safely it was Tres Bien.  I am just in the middle of Binble.  Went to hear our Divl Concert party last night they were very good.  The only draw back here is this blooming Jerry language.  It gets me down and makes my headache.  However I can say good morning & evening now so if I stay here a few more years I shall be able to take over a Jerry’s job off him.  There are two picture palaces here but they are nothing great.  Sunday is great day here.  All the café’s are filled with people and the orchestras are playing in most of them.  The only thing is the beer is all substitute but palatable & the Rhine wine is rather expensive.  Still it is very fine and lively on Sundays.  There is also dancing in places.  I have not been in Cologne yet but can get a pass anytime.  They have a fine Opera House & hold all kinds of Operatic Concerts.  There is also a fine train ride down the Rhine to Bonn the University Town but I’ve got to do it yet.  We has a few phizogs taken a few days ago.  So I will enclose one.  Hoping you will be able to pick me out.  Well Cheerhio.  Hoping you are all keeping well & Jack is feeling himself again.  Fred

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 21 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 21 January 1919

 

S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II

Cape Helles.

Jan 21/19

S.N.O. (H)

H.M.S. “Pelorus”

 

Submitted,

 

It is suggested that under the new escorting arrangements whereby more escorting vessels are available; it may now be possible for each vessel in turn to proceed to Chanak for a spell of 48 hours; the first day to be devoted to completing with coal & water & the remainder of the time to attending to small engine defects and also to enable the crews to go ashore for liberty.

 

Defects in the Drifters under my command are rapidly becoming more numerous owing to the fact that they have been without an opportunity to do these defects since Sept 4th & have been working continuously since Oct 25th with the exception of “Ten” & “Victoria II” who have been to Mudros for boiler cleaning & defects.

 

It is further suggested that arrangements may be made for the following vessels to Boiler clean at the earliest possible moment observing that the rule is that all Drifters should boiler clean every 6 weeks.

 

The dates given here indicate when last blown down & the weeks overdue.

 

91 “Northesk II” last boiler cleaning Oct 25 overdue 7 weeks.

93 “Prime”                  “           “          Sept 24      “     11     “

95 “Hopeful”              “          “          Oct 25       “       7     “

97 “Ebenezer”             “          “           Oct 25       “       7     “

 

The last named vessel (under the N.T.O.) is most serious of all as she has no fresh water boiler tank & has run completely on salt water since Oct 25.

 

 

R.H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.

S.O. of Div.