George Ryan’s letter home dated 24 Dec 1914

George Ryan’s letter home dated 24 Dec 1914
1945
“D” Company.
9th Battn Middx Regt
Victoria Barracks
Dinapore
India.
24 Dec 1914

Dear M & F,

Thanks very much for your letter dated Nov 27th. I didn’t get it till Monday as the mail was late. I expect we shall have another mail this week; there ought to be a special one for Christmas. I hope it isn’t late though.

We are looking forward to a fairly decent time. Of course we’ve got a holiday to-day as usual & I suppose we shall have all day Sat. I hear we are going to get a piano from one of the other bungalows (the canteen or some other place) & some of the fellows are going to put up paper ornaments so it will seem a little like Christmas in spite of the weather. We almost took the roof off last night singing (?) carols.

We are allowed 3d a day messing allowance. We do not get the money but we get extra food, whatever we like to order. Since we came here we’ve only had butter & a few other odd things so we’ve got a fairly big balance which will be spent on Christmas fare, so we look like having a decent “spread” both for dinner & tea.

Well there doesn’t seem to be much to say this week; I suppose there will be more next week. I have not received that letter of May’s yet that dad said she was going to write but perhaps she never wrote it after all.

Hoping you are all quite well & getting on alright; I’m feeling A1.

Love to all,
Yr loving son
George
Thanks very much for the papers.

P.S. Dear May,

In my top right hand draw, you will find a thing that I believe was once a writing-case. Well in there you will find a photograph of yourself. Please send it to me together with a nice long letter with all the news. Fondest Love
George X X X

George Ryan’s letter home dated 17 Dec 1914

George Ryan’s letter home dated 17 Dec 1914

1945
“D” Company.
9th Battn Middx Regt
Victoria Barracks
Dinapore
India.
17 Dec 1914

Dear M & F,

I had no letter this week but I suppose I’d better write a few lines just to let you know I’m still alive. In fact I’ve had no letters at all yet except that one of yours. I ought to have had one from the office as I wrote to Mr W from Gib asking him to send me a diary, but perhaps it will arrive next Sunday. The mails seem very much delayed. I suppose they come all the way by boat.

We’ve about settled down to this place now, but I expect we shall soon get tired of it, there’s hardly anywhere to go in our spare time. Of course there are rumours about us moving shortly but I think we are here for a few months. We generally go to some soldiers’ recreation rooms in the evening about 20 min walk from here. There’s a reading room, billiards & supper rooms. The prices are as cheap if not cheaper than our own supper bar. You can have quite a good “tuck in” for 5d or 6d. There’s nothing to go in the town for. The native part is an awful place. It beyond description. It looks as if there’s been a big fire or an earthquake. The dogs don’t seem very fond of us soldiers. They all start barking directly they see any of us, and the smells & the dust are enough to choke you. I shan’t stroll round that part very often.

There’s an English Church in the English quarters about a quarter of an hour’s walk from here. We had a Church Parade Sun. morning & took our rifles, bayonets & 20 rounds of ammunition each. There were racks in front of each seat for our rifles. It’s been a rule to take them ever since the Mutiny, as a regiment of soldiers were trapped in church.

C Smith & I went to the Evening Service but of course we didn’t take rifles or anything with us then.

We are not working extra hard at present; we get the whole day off Thursdays, half a day Sat & of course Sundays. We find it very nice getting two days of rest per week.

I forgot to tell you we have a cup of tea in bed every morning. Or rather it’s a “mug” so I get about twice as much as you have, unless you have two cups. They are pint mugs & all we have to do is to walk about half a dozen yards for our mug, get our tea & sit in bed & drink it. It goes down alright as we get no breakfast till 7.45 before which we do ¾ of an hour’s drill.

Our Canteen, supper bar, library etc are run by the R.A.T.A. (Royal Army Temperance Assoc) so I have joined it, which is the same thing as signing the pledge. The sub is only 4d a month. A moderate drinker can be a member for 2d a month but of course he doesn’t get the same privileges as full members.

By all accounts we shan’t have much money to draw weekly out here. There are several compulsory stoppages, washing, sports, hair cutting etc. Evidently our grumbles on board the Dilwara were of some use; we’ve been given 3d a day messing allowance for the voyage (35 days).

My eyes started getting bad; I suppose it’s the glare of the sun, as they ache a bit too sometimes, but now I use the ointment they seem alright.

We are still wearing our old uniforms; we’ve been measured for the new ones so I expect we shall have them shortly now.

Well I hope I shall get a little more news this Sunday. I ought to get May’s letter that you mentioned at any rate.

Hope you are all quite well & getting along alright. Has dad still got something to do?

Love to all,
Yr affec son
George

George Ryan’s letter home dated 8 Dec 1914

George Ryan’s letter home dated 8 Dec 1914
1945
“D” Company.
9th Battn Middx Regt
Victoria Barracks
Dinapore
India.
8 Dec 1914

Dear Mother & F,

Thanks very much for yr letter dated 12 Nov also for the W. Chronicle. I said in my last letter you need not send me any papers but you can send me the W. Chron now & again when there’s anything in it.

Well, as you see we’ve got here at last. We had 3 days in the train, reaching here at 5.0 p.m. Sunday (6 Dec). It wasn’t a corridor train; but there was only 3 or 4 compartments to a carriage so there was about 18 in each compartment. They are very similar to the old N.L. minus the adverts. We got out at stations for washing & food, which was better than what we had on board the “old tub”, tea, dry bread, & stew (meat, cauliflower & potatoes). I slept on the floor.

The country we passed was very wild. A few mud hut villages here & there, but we saw nothing dangerous; only a few monkeys & wild birds, parrots etc.

I think we’re in for a jolly fine time here. There’s only 5 Companies, 1 other is a few miles away & the other 3 are at Dum-dum 300 miles away. The whole barracks cover about ½ square mile; I should think, they are quite open; there’s no wall or fence. Each building is in one long line, not square; only the ground floor, which is very lofty – quite as high as your house. The beds are quite far apart & we’ve each got a fair-sized trunk & proper rack for our rifle, equipment, helmet etc. The beds are made of corrugated iron, not round of course, but like this -. Then there’s a thing supposed to be a mattress, but it’s not very thick; & 1 blanket is all we’ve got at present. I think we get another blanket & a couple of sheets. We want them too, it’s jolly cold here at night. The buildings are so constructed so that the sun does not shine in, so it keeps nice & cool during the day, but we get plenty of air; there are big double doors between every two beds.

There’s a fine canteen, it seems a sort of general store & by what we’ve seen so far things are very cheap. We had a good tuck in there directly we got here Sunday night (10.0). We had 3 meat rissoles, potatoes, fried onions, cauliflower, bread & a small jug of tea for 5 annas (5d). It was jolly fine & went down A 1 I can tell you.

We are not allowed to do our own washing; we are stopped 14 annas ( ½d) a month for it.

Since writing about the beds we have received 3 sheets & a rug. We thought at first the rug was to go down beside our bed, then we thought perhaps it was a bed cover but I suppose it’s to lay on the iron as we roll the mattress & blankets up during the day. Whatever its purpose we ought to be nice & comfortable, as we have been promised some more stuffing for the mattress.

You asked me what tobacco I prefer; well something mild. Boardman’s I’m smoking at present. But it’s too expensive for you to send as I think the parcel rates are fairly heavy & it’s cheaper out here I think.

Bert mentions something about a scheme for you to get an allowance from the Government. We’ve heard nothing about it but a fellow told me you could not claim it if you are receiving 50% or more of your money from your place of business. If you think there’s any chance of getting it, of course send me particulars.

The weather out here is grand at present. We’ve had a clear blue sky every day for the last fortnight. But the roads are very dusty. 2 or 3 inches deep in some places.

Well I hope you are all quite well & are getting on alright. I wish letters didn’t take so long to come from England. Just fancy I you’re your letter on Dec 7th & you wrote it Nov 12.

The mail goes out here Thursdays & arrives Sundays, we get them on Mondays, so I suppose I shall receive May’s letter that you mention next Monday,

I’m glad you didn’t have to pay anything on my letter. I wrote to Uncle Tom, Aunt Charlotte, Cousin Ellen, Aunt Jinny etc just before we reached Bombay, (the same post as my last letter to you) to wish them the Compts of the Season, so I suppose they won’t have to pay.

Love to all,
Yr loving son
George

Archie A. Laporte Payne letter home December 1914

Archie A. Laporte Payne letter home December 1914

On embossed headed notepaper.
Royal Field Artillery,
Colchester.
R.A. Crest
Dec 9 1914
My dearest Mother & Father,

Thank you so very much for your letters and present. It is very good of you to send me those gloves – they are lovely ones and will be most useful. Your loving wishes & kind thoughts I know I can always have but a birthday I suppose is, more than at other times, a fitting time to express them. But I don’t like birthdays at all. They come too soon. Dr Nostum very kindly remembered me and sent me a box of Bath Buns. Please thank Maude & Evelyn for their letters. I will reply sometime. As you can imagine we are frightfully busy. I am afraid Christmas will be impossible. The captain will be away if anybody is – so I shan’t get a look in. don’t trouble about glasses. I hope you got my postcard of yesterday. I have heard from Reggie. I am glad he is better. I could not get home over the week end and I am afraid next week will be impossible. We are one officer short as one of them has left for the front,

Thank you very much for the vest I should like a couple of short pants if they can be obtained of the same material. I am glad Evelyn had such a good time at Bath. I hope she has quite recovered from her bad tooth.

I see that Vyvyian is gazetted today in the Times to the R.F.A. I don’t suppose he will come here. He will go to some lower division. I have written to him.

I did not see Mr Tillyers card in your letter. It may have dropped out however. Don’t send any rubbish through. The men are rather particular. I want old Windsors, Strands, Pearsons, & 6d Illustrated papers etc. I know the sort of stuff some good people think tommies appreciate.

Things go much as usual. We have guns but only old 15 pounders & not the ones we ought to have. The men have got khaki in our battery now and they work much better.

I am glad Vyvyan has got someone to knit him a scarf – I am sure he needs one!! ! I wish I had somebody to do likewise for me – Oh, I forgot 92 in the shade!

I have got another tunic so I am alright now. I have to get a lot more things before the kit inspection which takes place soon.

No more now as dinner is just on & there is no news to tell.

Much love to you & all & many thanks for birthday wishes & presents

Your affectionate son
Arch

On headed notepaper.

Royal Field Artillery,
Colchester.
R.A. Crest
Dec 20 1914.

My dearest Mother,

Everything is alright. Leave, for various reasons which I will not enumerate, has been cancelled until Wednesday next when I hope to get home again.

The train was full of angry officers called up from other parts. I was in barracks by 9.45 p.m. So sorry to give you such a fright but one must expect these things when on active service. I hope the Congregation did not think the Germans had arrived.

Much love. Hope you are all well.

Ever
Your affectionate son
Arch

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Dec 1914

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne

 

Extracted from

 

Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda &

Correspondence

—————–

 

December1914

 

December 9 1914

R.P.

“We have guns, but only old 15 pounders, very ancient. At last the men in our battery  have got khaki, and they look much smarter.  The convict blue was really terrible.

 

I see that Vyvyan is gazetted today in the “Times” to the R.F.A.   He will not come to this division.

 

December 20, 1914.

 

Everything is alright. Leave for various and very secret reasons has been cancelled.  I suppose I had better not be more explicit now.  Leave is supposed to reopen with luck on Wednesday next.  Then I hope to get home again.  Our train was full of angry officers called back from their homes.  I was so sorry to give you such a fright, but I suppose one must expect such things to happen now, especially with such windy old dug-outs in charge.  I hope the congregation did not think that the Germans had landed.

 

Archie A. Laporte Payne letters home December 1914

Archie A. Laporte Payne letters home December 1914

 

On embossed headed notepaper.

Royal Field Artillery,

Colchester.

R.A. Crest

Dec 9 1914

My dearest Mother & Father,

 

Thank you so very much for your letters and present. It is very good of you to send me those gloves – they are lovely ones and will be most useful.  Your loving wishes & kind thoughts I know I can always have but a birthday I suppose is, more than at other times, a fitting time to express them.  But I don’t like birthdays at all.  They come too soon.  Dr Nostum very kindly remembered me and sent me a box of Bath Buns.  Please thank Maude & Evelyn for their letters.  I will reply sometime.  As you can imagine we are frightfully busy.  I am afraid Christmas will be impossible.  The captain will be away if anybody is – so I shan’t get a look in.  don’t trouble about glasses.  I hope you got my postcard of yesterday.  I have heard from Reggie.  I am glad he is better.  I could not get home over the week end and I am afraid next week will be impossible.  We are one officer short as one of them has left for the front,

 

Thank you very much for the vest I should like a couple of short pants if they can be obtained of the same material. I am glad Evelyn had such a good time at Bath.  I hope she has quite recovered from her bad tooth.

 

I see that Vyvyian is gazetted today in the Times to the R.F.A. I don’t suppose he will come here. He will go to some lower division.  I have written to him.

 

I did not see Mr Tillyers card in your letter. It may have dropped out however.  Don’t send any rubbish through.  The men are rather particular.  I want old Windsors, Strands, Pearsons, & 6d Illustrated papers etc.  I know the sort of stuff some good people think tommies appreciate.

 

Things go much as usual. We have guns but only old 15 pounders & not the ones we ought to have.  The men have got khaki in our battery now and they work much better.

 

I am glad Vyvyan has got someone to knit him a scarf – I am sure he needs one!! ! I wish I had somebody to do likewise for me – Oh, I forgot 92 in the shade!

 

I have got another tunic so I am alright now. I have to get a lot more things before the kit inspection which takes place soon.

 

No more now as dinner is just on & there is no news to tell.

 

Much love to you & all & many thanks for birthday wishes & presents

 

Your affectionate son

Arch

 

On headed notepaper.

 

Royal Field Artillery,

Colchester.

R.A. Crest

Dec 20 1914.

 

My dearest Mother,

 

Everything is alright. Leave, for various reasons which I will not enumerate, has been cancelled until Wednesday next when I hope to get home again.

 

The train was full of angry officers called up from other parts. I was in barracks by 9.45 p.m.  So sorry to give you such a fright but one must expect these things when on active service.  I hope the Congregation did not think the Germans had arrived.

 

Much love. Hope you are all well.

 

Ever

Your affectionate son

Arch

 

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Dec 1914

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Dec 1914

 

1914 diary notes:- Address Station House Ben Rhydding, Size of shoes 8 height 5’ 8 ¾ weight 9st 3lbs.

 

Sheffield.

Sunday 27th December 1914:              Church Parade.

Monday 28th December 1914:                        Marching & Physical Drill.

Tuesday 29th December 1914:            Route March.

Wednesday 30th December 1914:       Marching & Physical Drill.

Thursday 31st December 1914:           Semaphore & Morse Signalling.