George Ryan’s letter home dated 2 Nov 1914

George Ryan’s letter home dated 2 Nov 1914
S.S. “Dilwara”
Nearing Gibraltar
2 Nov 1914
Dear Mother & Father,
Hope you got my P.C. safely from S’ton. I’d given up hopes of sending one as we were not allowed outside the docks. Then a few minutes before the boat left a sailor called out “any more letters or P.C.s” so I just scribbled that P.C. in about ½ a minute & gave it to him to post. Well, we are just getting used to our house on the sea. A lot of fellows were ill the first day but I was alright until Sun morning. We were half way across the Bay & our boat was just like a tub on the water. I was sick a little but I kept my dinner down. There are very few fellows that have not felt a bit queer. I’m quite A 1 now again. Our steering gear went wrong on Friday.
So I think we are going to call at Gib; I’m writing this in case: In the ordinary course we were not going to call anywhere until we got to Aden.
We shall stop for repairs at Gib. But I don’t think we shall be allowed off the boat as I shan’t be able to get any stamps but the way I’m going to mark the envelope I don’t think you’ll have to pay any more that 1d. We are having a very lazy time on board; it’s getting rather monotonous we’ve only sighted land once & that was the southern coast of England. There are 9 other boats & one escort; a cruiser brought us part of the way, now we’ve got a battleship. There are 1200 of us on this boat & I suppose there’s as many on each of the others so there’s 12000 altogether but they are not all going to India. 1000 are staying at Aden, 1000 are going to Rangoon (Burmah) etc.
Of course we’re rather crowded & the food isn’t very plentiful but we can’t expect anything better on board. I wish I could still receive your weekly parcel of cake. We generally have a spoonful of porridge & bread & butter & stuff they call tea for breakfast; tinned meat & potatoes & sometimes pickles for dinner & a biscuit or two & tea for tea. There’s a canteen but its only open for a few hours so you can imagine there’s a fine rush when it is open; it means waiting something over half an hour.
We sleep in hammocks which we have to put up every night over our mess tables. I didn’t like it at first but now I get quite a comfortable rest.
I’m not sure where we are going to land; I thought Bombay but I heard Kurachi mentioned, it will be one of the two. They say we’ve got 5 day’s train journey then across India. Dinapore is about 150 to 200 miles north of Calcutta. I think we shall all be about sick of travelling by the time we get there; I’m tired of it already.
You can answer this directly to Pte. GWR 1945 “D” Company, 9th Battn, Middx Regt, Dinapore, India. It won’t matter if it gets there first, I expect I shall get it alright. Write as much as you like & tell me all that’s going on; get May to help you; write it in weekly parts if you like. Have you sold or given my clothes away yet? Did you receive £1 from the office on 1 Nov? Has dad still got something to do?
I don’t suppose I shall have time to write to Bert this time; you must tell Mrs Taylor to tell him I’m getting on alright. Besides I don’t like writing to anyone when they’ve got to pay anything to receive it.
Well I hope you are all getting on alright & are all quite well. Love to all,
Yr affectionate son
I’ve learnt since that the captain himself was sick so you can tell it was pretty rough on Sunday.

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