F Hammond letter 12 Dec 15

10.12.15

In biro On return from 1st leave from Ypres

 

Dear Mar & Pa

Just a line to let you know I am OK.  I didn’t tell you any details of my passage back well it wasn’t at all bad in fact it was very nice.  I caught the train from Vic OK but our train was too late the boat having just left earlier that anticipated so I spent the night in Folkestone and quite enjoyed myself.  I caught an early boat across and managed to have a good look round the place on that side before leaving by train.  So you see Gussie got another night in a bed.  Bow wow.  I have practically got rid of the cold I had. The weather here has been very wet.  I don’t think we have had a fine day since I returned.  Your up to the eyes in mud but it’s surprising how you get used to it.  I am on night work in fact day and night as Alcock is on leave now and I have to work extra – Well it’s just 3 am raining and you can hear the boys singing as they are being relieved and marching to rest Billets.  You should see some of them their best girls wouldn’t know them and I am sure Jack would have them all in mush for not shaving.  It is mostly artillery duels round here and the trenches on both sides are in a nice mess especially after they have been bombarded with High Explosive Some life.  I feel like a magnate now I have a War Loan.  Some finance eh!  I wouldn’t mind a photo of Jack if they are small but I don’t want a big thing no extra kit for Burgy.  As you say Geo will probably send that special lice killer après la guerre.  Hope Gladys enjoyed herself at the old girls meeting.  Were they really old Gladys?  About Miss Sewell’s age Eh!  I just had a rest then while I has a straffe.  I will leave you to guess what that is.  My Battery is na pue so am looking forward to refill don’t forget that shaving tackle someday.  I was parleying with a Belgian soldat last night he is going to get me a ring.  Aluminium sent over by the Boches and made into a ring by a Belgian soldat so there.  I believe we shall be out of action by Xmas in rest so that will be OK if it comes off.  I hope Gladys pulls her exam off this time if she does I must bring a bottle of Sham back with me next time.  I wonder if Turk likes being called Billy.  I suppose he would lick your hand if you called him Kaiser Bill.  Ah oui.  I am afraid he is not getting a proper training without me did I tell you when I was over I took him in the Crown and while walking down I missed him but eventually found him in the doorway of the Dog.  I think he was getting to know me.  I am sure Miss Sewell would be astounded when you showed her that bit of glass.  Eh some souvenir Eh.  Well I will now stop as I hear as there’s a war on.  Hoping you are all well and have a good time at Xmas & that Ma has got rid of her cold.

Yours Billy’s master

Burgy

 

December 1915

On the 3rd December, General Joffre was appointed Commander-Chief of the French armies. He had promoted from Chief General Staff, a post he had held since 28th July 1911.

 

In Mesopotamia on the 3rd December, the British forces reached Kut, after retreating from Ctesiphon. By the 5th December, Kut had been placed in a state of defence and the siege of Kut began on 7th December. The army of the Ottoman Empire besieged the British and British Indian forces.

 

On Gallipoli on the 8th December, regional Commander-in–Chief, Sir Charles Monro recommended a general retreat from Suvla and Anzac Bays. Lord Kitchener gave confirmation to Monro’s recommendation.

 

On the Italian front, the Forth Battle of Isonzo ended on the 10th December.

 

On the 15th December Sir John French stood down as Commander-in-Chief of the British Armies in France.

 

The Evacuation of Suvla and Anzac Bays in the Gallipoli Peninsular on the 19th December and all forces were completed evacuated on the 20th December.

 

On the 19th December, Sir Douglas Haig succeeded Sir John French as Commander-in-Chief of the British Armies in France.

 

On the 23rd December, Roland Leighton died of wounds in a field hospital near Louvencourt. He was shot through the stomach by a sniper. He was due to go home on leave to marry his fiancée, Vera Brittain. Whilst waiting in a hotel on the south coast of England she was expecting a call from Leighton to say he was in the country. The call she received was from his mother to say he had died. Vera Brittain survived the war, eventually married, and had two children, one of whom is Shirley Williams, a peer of the Liberal Democrat Party.