George Ryan’s letter home dated 14 Nov 1914

George Ryan’s letter home dated 14 Nov 1914
S.S. “Dilwara”
Nearing Port Said
14 Nov 1913[4]

Dear Mother & F,

We left Gibraltar last Sunday at mid-day. We seemed to have been there quite a long while. It’s a nice place, I would not have minded staying there; but I was glad to leave it as we had got a long way farther to go & the sooner we get off this boat the better I shall like it. Of course we all get jolly hungry but each mess-table is only allowed a certain amount. The food is practically the same as we should get on land; bread & butter for breakfast & tea, &fresh meat & potatoes for dinner. We could generally eat double what we get. But of course we can’t get anything extra. The canteen’s jolly short of stuff; no mixed biscuits & what biscuits they have got they charge 1d for it. Oranges they bought at 3 or 4 a penny in Gib they charge 1d each. 2/- for a 2 lb tin of marmalade etc, etc. but we will soon be there now I hope, then we shall be able to make up for lost time. By all accounts we shall live alright in barracks.

We’ve had quite a smooth journey since we left Gib. The first day the sea was like a lake, but it’s not been more than choppy since. There was a thunderstorm all Thurs night; we couldn’t hear much thunder but there were flashes of lightning every half minute. It’s the rainy season along here, so the weather has not been so very grand. It doesn’t give you much warning when it does start; it’s more like a cloud burst. When we were in the harbour at Gib. we could hardly see the rock when it was raining, it was all misty.

We reckon to reach Port Said early to-morrow morning, I don’t know if we shall catch the other boats up there, they didn’t wait for us at Gib, we’ve come all the way from there by ourselves, no escort at all & we are not fitted with wireless. But we’ve met no Germans or Turks so far so I don’t suppose we shall now.

We shall not stop more than a few hours I think at Port Said, that is if the canal is clear. Then it’s 4 or 5 days journey through the Red Sea to Aden. We shall stop there 3 or 4 days as the other battalion on board is staying there. I don’t know whether we shall pick up some more in their place; I hope we don’t; we shall have a little more breathing room then. Then it’s about another 5 days journey to Bombay (or Karachi).

I’ve had the first dose of inoculation & got over it alright. There’s nothing much in it as long as you keep quiet for 24 hrs after you’ve been done.

Hope you are all quite well.
Write as much as you like
Love to all,
Yr affectn son

Excuse the scribble as the pencil is so small.

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.

Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 28 Sept 1914

Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 28 Sept 1914

My darling one,

Just a line, have been out all afternoon & post goes at 7 p.m. Enclosure for perusal! & safe keeping. 2 letters today from you also Kolgnos – powder & Formamint, most useful – Poor little Aunt Lalla, Gina wrote, and added at the last moment news of her death; it is very sad, she had always been wonderfully kind & good to us all – I am so glad you were able to see her before she died – I’m afraid my last letter to her will not have reached home yet – if you get it, destroy it, won’t you.

I hope Wilke’s Bn won’t come out; I don’t think it will, and I also hope Charlie’s Staff billet under Parsons in Ireland will keep him at home.

My poor Darling what a round of my relations you must have had, rather trying – Dear Gina was so pleased to see you and said you were looking so sweet, well & good looking – my Darling one what would I give for a glimpse of you!

Goodnight precious one. Mark up Betty for her dear little letter.

Yr devoted Hubby.

With envelope addressed to Mrs Dick Cunyngham, Mount View, Crownhill S.O., S. Devon. Signed Dick Cunyngham. Passed by Censor No 224 cachet. Postmarked ARMY POST OFFICE 42 dated SP 29 14

Kaiser’s note 25 September 1914

Kaiser’s note 25 September 1914

(Published with Routine Orders of September 24th 1914)

The following is a copy of Orders issued by the German Emperor on the 19th of August:-

It is my Royal and Imperial command that you concentrate your energies, for the immediate present, upon one single purpose, and that is that you address all your skill and all the valour of my soldiers to exterminate first, the treacherous English, walk over General French’s contemptible little army….

Aix-la-Chapelle, August, 19th.

The results of the order were the operations commencing with Mons and the advance of the seemingly overwhelming masses against us.

The answer of the British Army on the subject of extermination has already been given.

Printing Co., R.E. 69.

Field Service Post Card to Dick-Cunyngham’s wife dated 20 Sept 1914

Field Service Post Card to Dick-Cunyngham’s wife dated 20 Sept 1914

I am quite well

I have been admitted to hospital sick wounded and am going on well.

I am being sent down to the base.

I have received your 10 letters dated telegram 2 parcels

Letter follows at first opportunity.

I have received no letter from you lately for a long time.

Signature only: J.K. Dick Cunyngham

Date Sep 20th.

Addressed to Mrs Dick Cunyngham, Mount View, Crownhill S.O., S. Devon. England. Postmarked ARMY POST OFFICE 42 dated SP 20 14

Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 10 Sept 1914

Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 10 Sept 1914
Sept 10
My darling one,
I am such a happy boy with a mail today, letter 2 & 3 arrived also 3 others, and we have been longing for news for days & days – my precious one what a journey back you must have had, do you mean to say you did it all alone without a man of any kind? I always understood you were taking a man – I heard from Charlie your journey was adventurous & was really getting anxious – The little photo is quite sweet, and it is so nice to have it.

You must all be pleased with the news now. The tables seem turned in the opposite direction and the only bad point is the discomfort of following behind an army – filth & dirt are not pleasing but our Med Off is tackling it well.

I managed to get some cigars & cigarettes so am full of smokes. Am wondering if my uniform will hang out much longer – my one coat is dirty my tartan knickers are stained, petrol only seems to clean them for a day or so – we had rain yesterday which has laid the dust & it is cooler – flies are beginning to increase & worry.

I fear there are many anxious ones at home, the long list of heroes – I cannot help thinking that some of the Regt will eventually turn up & that they are not all dead, it cannot be so. So many have turned up suddenly from anywhere.

Country now is very short of supplies, we have to send the French officers in cars to forage in the rear – but all our supplies come up wonderfully well fed with bread, meat, cheese, bacon jam & Rhum when wanted – motors have made enormous differences in supply – we are halted today, have time to settle up my work & write.

Prisoners are passing through they say they are very glad to be taken by us, and our men are good to them giving them water & rations.

Daily Graphic of 8th actually here today – I enclose a line to mother, please send on.
All my love, god keep you safe

With envelope addressed to Mrs J. Dick Cunyngham, Mount View, Crownhill S.O., S. Devon. England. Signed Dick Cunyngham. Passed by Censor No 224 cachet. Postmarked ARMY POST OFFICE 42 SP 13 14 & ARMY BASE POST OFFICE dated SP 17. 14

Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 5 Sept 1914

Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 5 Sept 1914
Sep 5
My darling one,

I seem to have so little time to write but things are better tonight & I have time. Times still very strenuous – I fear news of Regt is very sad but we must hope for the best – I saw the few two days ago all very well & cheery – Willie Marshall feels it badly – have only just heard poor Shafto’s death – I am so sorry & I fear it will be some time before complete lists are out.

Still very hot by day & I long for Indian khaki – I find I sleep almost better outside than in a house & it is much more healthy.

My precious one I do long for news of you, mails have been very bad, only 2 letters so far, but will probably get a bunch in a day or two. Days have gone so wearily I have lost count completely – I believe it is Sunday tomorrow.

Find it hard to get cigarettes here – a kind man gave me ½ dozen yesterday – your meat lozenges are very useful & they do keep one going especially during a night march – I suck 2 or 3 & they help to keep me awake.

We are such a party now, nearly 40, difficult to feed, but so far resources of country have saved us. I see I am graded for A.P.M. as a D.A.A.G. Deputy Assistant Adjt Gen which means I believe pay at 550£ per annum. Far more than I expected or deserve. Would you keep a Copy of Gazette giving all names of Staff of Exp Force.

I do so long to have a peep at you in the little house, hope Mrs Clue is doing you well. Charlie writes your journey was exciting. I always thought it would be with Rhoda & her car. Dinner time not bad cook. Hope to learn how to make omelette before long –

All my love, my darling, one & kisses for Betty
Yr own Jimmie

With envelope addressed to Mrs Dick Cunyngham, Mount View, Crownhill S.O., S. Devon. England. Redirected to 72 Overstrand Mansions, Prince of Wales Rd, Battersea Park, London S.W. Signed Dick Cunyngham. Passed Army Censor No 224. Postmarked ARMY POST OFFICE 42 dated SP 6 14. Also postmarked Crownhill 7.30 p.m 16 Sp 14.