George Ryan’s letter home dated 10 Sep 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 10 Sep 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
10 Sept 1915

Dear M & F,

Thanks very much for your letter of Aug 19. I also received a note from Cousin Ellen in an envelope addressed by you.

I suppose Peg will have gone home by the time you receive this so next time you write there thank her for her letter, for me. I hope Horace is alright again now.

Well it seems pretty certain we are going to shift somewhere very shortly. This week’s rumour is that we are going across the other side of India somewhere near Bombay. We’ve given in our old Khaki serge & we are going to draw some new stuff to-morrow. Serge is never worn down on the plains so we might be going to a hill station. We shall not move for another month yet I don’t think as I overheard the Captain say he didn’t want to move for another 5 or 6 weeks as if we went before that it would mean leaving too many men behind in hospital.

Very few chaps stamp their letters home, they just write “On Active Service” so I’m going to start the same dodge. It’s only a penny a week, still I might as well have it as this awful Post Office out here. If you do have to pay anything of course let me know, but I don’t think you will.

Hope you are all well.
Yr loving son


George Ryan’s letter home dated 3 Sep 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 3 Sep 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
3 Sept 1915

Dear May,

Many thanks for your nice long letter of 12 Aug. Wherever did you find the time to write it?

So the girls behind the counter have not been quite a success; I thought they would not be.

I’m sorry to say I never got that parcel of cigarettes. I don’t suppose they will turn up now. Parcels of cigarettes or Tobacco very often do go astray. It’s a good idea to label the parcel as something else “shirts” or “papers” or something like that. As I’ve said before it’s a rag-time Post Office out here.

What wonderful eye-sight you & Bert must have to be able to see the Crystal Palace from Dollis Hill. Why you can’t see far across London let alone some few miles the other side of it. You might have seen the Alexandra Palace. That’s the one you mean I expect. I suggested to Bert in my letter this week it might have been the Bus Garage that you saw; that’s got a glass roof, you know.

We have to parade nearly every morning now for a dose of Quinine, as this is considered rather a dangerous month out here. They used to have it 3 times a week before we came but they knocked it off during July & Aug.

Edie can send me her Shorthand Weekly now & again – say once a month – & I’ll see if I can do a bit now & again. It’s too hot to do much study out here. Reading or playing cards are as much as we feel up to, as a rule.

Well there’s very little news again this week. A lot of chaps still believe the rumours that we shall leave for home next month but I think they will be disappointed. I think if we leave in Oct or Nov next year we shall be lucky as the war looks like running well into next year.

Heaps of love & kisses from
Yr loving brother

George Ryan’s letter home dated 3 Sept 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 3 Sept 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
3 Sept 1915

Dear M & F,

Received two letters from you this week dated Aug 5 & 13 & am glad you have now found out your mistake about the Post.

You must have had some rain down the road to get flooded. It hasn’t been so bad here lately but we’ve had a fair amount. I expect we’ve got the worst to come.

Very pleased to hear you got the parcel safely. Sorry to say your parcel of cigarettes has not got here yet. I’ve given it up now.

Glad you had a fine week-end at Westley.

We are being dosed with Quinine here now. We have it every day except Thurs & Sun.

Those responsible must see now what a mistake they made in sending us out here without first having a proper Medical Inspection as there is more sickness in our Battn than in any other. About 60% of our chaps have been sick & the next highest percentage is under 30%. They are trying to find the cause of it. I think the food has a lot to do with it. Several fellows in our Co alone are unfit for service. X

Well there’s no news again this week; we are still jogging along doing parades & guards. I’m still keeping fit & well. Hope you are all the same. Love to all, also to Peg if she is still with you.
Yr loving son
X Weak hearts, rupture & bad eye-sight.

Appendix Y to OO 142 30 September 1917.



Reference O.O. 142.


  1. (a). If the 9th K.O.Y.L.I. fail to take the 1st objective, the 15th Durh L.I. will take 1st objective and 10th K.O.Y.L.I. will take 2nd objective.

In this case, one company of 15th Durh L.I. will follow 10th K.O.Y.L.I. and be in support of them.


(b). The 9th K.O.Y.L.I. will assist 15th Durh L.I. and will dig in on objective allotted in Brigade O.O. to two companies of 10th K.O.Y.L.I.


(c). The 1st E. York R. will occupy our old front line with one company.


  1. In the event of 9th K.O.Y.L.I. being unable, owing to enemy action (e.g. severe counter-attacks on 110th Inf. Bde. on 2nd inst., or on 9th K.O.Y.L.I. on 3rd inst.)-

(a). The 10th K.O.Y.L.I. will take 1st objective, and will take over line and be formed up in front by 5 a.m. 4th inst.

(b). The 15th Durh. L.I. and one company 1st E. York. R. will take 2nd objective as arranged.

(c). The 1st E. York. R. will perform role originally allotted to 10th K.O.Y.L.I.

(d). The 9th K.O.Y.L.I. will be Brigade Reserve and occupy position allotted to 1st E. York. R.


  1. In the event of dispositions having to take place as in para 2 – If 10th K.O.Y.L.I. fail to take 1st objective, the 15th Durh L.I. will take it.

The 1st E. York. R. will take 2nd objective supported by one company 15th Durh L.I.

The 10th K.O.Y.L.I. will do task as allotted to 9th K.O.Y.L.I. in para. 1 (b).


O.C. battalions will have plans ready for each eventuality and let their officers know them.

Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne undated

Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne undated



Churches’ Huts

Headed notepaper

Dear Vicar,

I thank you very much for your letter, which I very much appreciate, in view of the amount of work you must have to get through; and I am very small in the scale of importance. I hope Mr Stedman is now all right again.


I am sorry to say that as regards work I have not fallen on my feet. Our work has to be done in rushes, and added to this conditions are strange to me.  All days are alike, and one can never leave the office until 10 pm, although we get plenty of time off for exercise.  However, I am getting on better now.  What I shall be put too eventually, of course, I do not know.


With regard to religion, since I have been in France I have become a bit of a heathen, but I must make an effort to get to Church.


An official list to work with has just been completed.  I understand the Chaplain is highly connected.  One of the fellows in our Dept of work is thinking of becoming a R.C.  he is attached to a well known *** IIII ****, and had done some platform speaking.  He is a Welshman, and of course a ritualist.  He is a very nice and a very clever fellow.  Some of the R.C. churches here are fine old buildings, and the ceremonial arrangements do not seem out of place, although, of course, I do not agree with then.


I have heard the Y.M.C.A. and the Salvation Army etc. Huts criticized unmercifully by some as money-making concerns etc.  fellows in the army are given to exaggeration, but the fact remains that something for nothing is the only sign of usefulness in the eyes of many.  Present Salvation is well laughed at.


Many of the fellows I have come across have evangelical convictions, which keep them, and also others in order, although they think it best to keep to Army ways, and so they swear, and make fun of the sexual question etc.


The married folk I have come across are, as a rule, clean in their talk, although there are many exceptions.


Impurity is very bad in the Army. I think myself that the Govt should not allow non-commissioned officers to talk loosely on sexual questions during the performance of their duty.  Some never speak without introducing the subject in some jocular form or other.


I, personally, am very thankful for the true religious convictions that are to be found in many, not withstanding their outward demeanour.


With best wishes

I remain, Yours sincerely

J.S. Plumridge.