George Ryan’s letter home dated 24 Sept 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 24 Sept 1915

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

Dear M & F,

Many thanks for your letter of Sep 2 with the piece of heather enclosed. Also for the Sunday Pictorials, which I generally receive sooner or later. The P.O. does have a fine game with newspapers. I had none last week, so I’ve got 2 this week. Another fellow that hasn’t had any for 3 weeks has just got them all together this week.

I suppose I shall get that letter of May’s next week as it will be the 3rd week from when you first mentioned it. What happens all day on Sundays now; out chin-wagging (to use her own expression) I suppose? Many years ago, about Dec 1914 I believe it was, she said she would write every other week, so I was going to write to you one week & to her the next but I reckon you get 4 or 5 to her one. But it’s such a long time ago she said it, perhaps she has forgotten.

I hope you told Mrs Jones I don’t look so smart as I ought in that photograph as my clothes were not done up properly.
Sorry to hear your marmalade is going begging. It wouldn’t if I was at home. I should enjoy some now, after the stuff we get here. (C & B’s in 1 lb tins – 7d).

Its very late now but I’ll wish Dad many happy returns of Oct 1. I meant to have done so a fortnight ago, but it slipped my memory when I was writing.
I was going to try & get your silk this week but I am at Cossipore, so will see if I can get it next week. I shall get it up at Calcutta as I don’t think it’s up to much what they sell at our Bazaar.

I’m practically clear of Prickly Heat at present but there’s something here at Cossipore that makes you itch, I don’t know what it is. It’s a good thing we get extra grub here as there’s nowhere where we can get anything & we get so jolly hungry. The only thing we like coming here for is the grub. Although we pay 1r/6a (1s/10d) for the week we are really in pocket as we spend more than that in barracks on grub.

We have had some rain down this last week. It’s rather upset our Platoon sports as the ground is half under water. But we’ve had it quite light here compared with other parts of the country. Up in the Lucknow district they are flooded out. Thousands of natives homeless.

Well we’ve heard no more about moving so continue to write to Dum-dum.
Have not heard from Bert again this week. I suppose he’s alright.
Hoping you are all well,
Love to all from,
Yr loving son
George

Gerald Benham’s notes from diaries 17 September 1915

Gerald Benham’s notes from diaries

17 September 1915 At crack of dawn Col Dumbell came to me & cancelled
reserve order.
We were to attack & Col & I went to reconnoitre the ground. All well & area was clearly defined. On way back to my Coy H.Q. in Holnon Wood I was badly wounded by a shell which appeared to explode very near me. By stretcher to advanced dressing station & then to Casualty Clearing Hospital at Peronne. Cleaned up there.

George Ryan’s letter home dated 17 Sept 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 17 Sept 1915

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

Dear M & F,

Thanks for your letter of Aug 26 but I’ve had none from May.

I had a ¼ lb of Tobacco from Mr Harvey this week. (Manager of my old office.)

We are having a lot of sport here now as the Platoons are competing for a cup. Football, cricket, hockey & running. I expect you’ll think it funny playing such games as Football & Hockey out here but taking plenty of exercise is the only way of keeping fit. I played in our Platoon’s Hockey team last Sat against No 14 Platoon. (By the way our No is 13!). The result was a draw, we had hard luck in not winning.

Enclosed are 4 photos taken by one of our chaps. One is of the church, another of a native village near here, the 3rd is the Dhobie’s bungalow & pond & the other is the Dhobie “on the job”. No doubt you’ll think it a funny method of washing clothes. He swings the article round & catches it on a piece of wood or stone & as he does so he groans or shouts each time.

When the photos have “gone the round” please put them face to face & put them in one of my books upstairs.

Well we’ve heard nothing about moving & nothing about where we are going.

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

Letter to Dick-Cunyngham dated 11 Sept 1915

Letter to Dick-Cunyngham dated 11 Sept 1915
11th Sept 1915

Dear Dick-Cunyngham,

I was very sorry indeed to find that you had departed before I returned from leave but I am very glad you have been promoted and I hope you will like your new job.

Personally I shall miss your help very much indeed and I am very grateful to you for all you have done for me since I took over the Brigade. it has been a great thing for me – a friendly Regimental Officer – having your staff training to point out the right way of doing things.

Phillips has been confirmed a B.M. and will, I am sure, do the work well.

Marin comes as Staff Captain. We shall have to muzzle his pen a bit or the Battns will revolt.

I had a topping time at home but found it rather more dangerous than Suzanne on account of the Zeps.

All luck
Yours ever
C.W. Compton

On the back Another Chit

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.
Dum-dum.
India.
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

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.
Dum-dum.
India.
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

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.
Dum-dum.
India.
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
George
X Weak hearts, rupture & bad eye-sight.