Gerald Benham’s notes from diaries 1915

Gerald Benham’s notes from diaries 1915

1915
1 Decr. On leave from Tendring spent one night at Pinner with Dorothy & Tom
To 15 Ruston but rest of leave at Colchester.

George Ryan’s letter home dated 26 Nov 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 26 Nov 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
Dum-dum.
Bengal.
India.
26 Nov 1915

Dear M & F,

Thanks very much for your letter of Nov 4 also for the parcel of Tobacco & Gums which I received at Jafferpore the day after I wrote last week. I’ve had 2 or 3 of the chocolates with my bread & butter at tea-time each day, they are alright & the gums are quite a treat. They kept quite alright & they did not taste of Tobacco. The fags are all gone but about 4 so there’s no need to say anything more about them.

I didn’t do so well as I expected at Firing. I missed two days; that made a lot of difference. But I expect we shall fire another course before next Sept. We might possibly fire again next March at Dinapore.

I’ve asked Mr. Walker to send you an extra £1= I have not been able to go up to Calcutta to get anything so will you get them all something for me for Christmas about 2/- also something for yourself & what’s over put to the “General Expenses”.

We are moving on the 9th or 10th of next month but 40 of us are to be left behind. We don’t know who they will be yet.

Hoping you are all well.
Love to all,
Yr loving son
George

Answer to Dinapore.

George Ryan’s letter home dated 12 Nov 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 12 Nov 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
Dum-dum.
India.
12 Nov 1915

Dear Ma,

Received your letter addressed to Dinapore safely. Glad to hear you got the silk alright. I hope you didn’t have to pay anything on it did you? & I hope dad won’t have to pay anything on the cigars. One of our chaps sent a box home & his father had to pay more than they cost for duty.

Please don’t think I’ve gone “dit’lo” or daft as you say at home, but we are going to Dinapore. At least, so we are given to understand at present. Of course it may be altered again. At first we were going next week, but the latest is that we go on the 9th of next month. The signalling section were to have gone last week. They got packed up & were all ready to go, but they are still here. I expect they will wait & go with us now. You can answer this to Dinapore but don’t be surprised if I tell you next week to write here again. But I think we are going this time though.

The parcel of tobacco & sweets hasn’t arrived this week, I hope I shall get them next. I was disappointed I didn’t get them this week.

Hope you are all well,
Love to all from
Yr loving son
George

George Ryan’s letter home dated 5 Nov 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 5 Nov 1915

Dum-dum.
India.
5 Nov 1915

Dear M & F,

Many thanks for your letter of Oct 14. I’ve also heard from Bert & May this week. Before I opened their letters I guessed they both blamed each other for not writing before & when I did open them I found that was the case. Bert said he had left it too late the last two weeks & if I wanted to blame anybody I must blame my sister & May says its Bert’s fault she doesn’t write as he keeps her out till it’s too late.

I notice you have sent me some Tobacco & sweets. Thanks very much, I hope I shall receive them alright when the Parcel Post comes in. It should be in to-day but I’m at Cossipore this week so if your parcel has arrived I shan’t get it till to-morrow.

We are going to Jafferpore on the 14th but only one Platoon is going at a time so we shall not be there more than about 10 days.

If you have not already sent those things I mentioned a few weeks ago you might also send my dancing shoes & a pen-knife which you will find I think in one of my top drawers. If you’ve already sent the other things don’t make a special parcel of these two things; there’s no hurry. Some of the fellows are learning to dance & later on they hope to arrange one or two dances.

Cannot tell you the name of the boat we are coming home by as we are spending Christmas out here this year. We might spend the next one at home but we can’t say yet though.

Hope you are all well.
Love from yr loving son
George

P.S. Received Selfridges warrant safely, thanks.

George Ryan’s letter home dated 29 Oct 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 29 Oct 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
Dum-dum.
India.
29 Oct 1915

Dear Ma,

Received your letter of Oct 7. I’ve found out that brothers have to take a second place, as you say, & I’ve also found out that pals have to take second place. It’s a month now since I heard from a certain pal of mine (I won’t mention any names) & my elder sister only writes when she thinks of it – which isn’t very often – so together they must be having a very busy time. I hope you won’t let things go too far. I should like to be home to be able to act as – well never mind what. There’s one thing about it if they have not got time to write a letter they have not time to read one so they save me the trouble of writing.

We fired 10 rounds on the 30 yds range Wed morning. We are going to Jaffapore next month to do our annual firing course.

The news in the papers has been very good each day for the last fortnight. I hope it will continue; we seem to be in the thick of it now. I reckon it must end some time next year. By the way it’s a year ago to-day we left Southampton; it seems much longer than that. I hope next Oct 29 will see us making preparations for leaving India for Southampton.

Tell dad I should like him to pump up my bicycle tyres each time they get vary soft, as a pal tells me they don’t perish so quickly if they are pumped up now & again.

Hope you are all well.
Love to all,
Yr affectionate son
George

George Ryan’s letter home dated 22 Oct 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 22 Oct 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
Dum-dum.
India.
22 Oct 1915

Dear Ma,

Many thanks for your letter of Sept 30. Sorry to hear about C. Dixon being wounded. I already knew about Alf Ham. I think I’ve told you before he was one of the chaps we left behind at Sittingbourne.

Thirty two of us spent 2 days under canvas this week at Cossipore, Tuesday to Thursday there was a Hindoo Festival & the next day there was a Mohammedan Festival. The Mohammedans at their Festival kill a cow, which is considered a sacred animal by the Hindoos, & if they can they like to kill it in front of a Hindoo Temple, which of course causes trouble. Well we had to be at Cossipore close at hand in case there was any trouble. There was not room for us all in the Guard Room so we had to camp out at the back. However we were not wanted so we “struck” camp & came back yesterday. It was jolly rotten up there for us as we could not go out & there was nothing for us to do. We were supposed to be ready to turn out in a few minutes, at any time. We had to march there & we had to march back as there we[re] no “Gharies” available. The Ghari-wollahs were taking part in the festivities I suppose. On Thursday we had to let down the tents & beds & load them on the wagons. It wasn’t half hot. We’d done quite enough by the time we got back. I’m not looking forward to going to Jaffapore next month where we shall live under canvas while we do our firing.

It’s very nice under canvas as far as sleeping goes but there are no conveniences & nowhere to keep your things. And then of course there’s plenty of them wretched ants, all sizes – 1/8 ” up to nearly an inch, & they get all over the place.

Moving to Dinapore seems to be a “Washout” now. The Colonel got the move sanctioned but it would have to be at the Battalion’s expense but it’s all fallen through for some reason or other.

Have my photos that I sent you kept alright? I notice one of those I’ve got left is a bit dis-coloured.

Hope you are all well.
Love to all from
Yr loving son
George

George Ryan’s letter home dated 22 Oct 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 22 Oct 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
Dum-dum.
India.
22 Oct 1915

Dear Dad,

Thanks very much for your letter. I’m glad you are still keeping on full time at the shop.

No doubt there are a lot at work at Enfield but I’ve got some idea of what it must be like. The Factories here & at Cossipore & Ishapore are fairly big & are working at top speed. It’s a sight when they all come trooping out all dressed in different coloured rags & 9 out of 10 carrying umbrellas which they have to open as they are searched when they go out.

Thanks very much for looking after my bike. I don’t think there’s any need to pump up the tyres, as they are not on the ground. Unless you think it will help to keep them from perishing.

Told Ma all the news so can’t write any more & I’ve got to get ready to go on guard.

Yr loving son
George