Letter from W Hammond 15 Feb 16

Customs & Excise Embossed Notepaper

Kibworth

15.2.16

Dear Father & Mother

Thanks very much for the birthday greetings and for the dainty pair of cuff links.  They’re just what I wanted and what I should pick choose myself.  32 is a very nice number.  It will divide by 2, 4, 8 & 16.  I feel I ought to be doing mathematics this year with such an accommodating number for a companion.  Had a letter from George this mng.  He has been in bed with the “flu” but is better now.  I suppose you know he has passed the divisional exam for subalterns only 14 passing in the Brigade and has also been put on the permanent establishment of his Battalion.

Also that friend Arthur is “hoist with his own petard” having scared both birds away.

I am expecting my leave next week so hope to see you all soon.

Hope Gladys is better by now she seems a wholesale dealer in whitlows, sties, heat bumps &c.  She should add a few corns and bunyans (bunions) by way of variety.

I enclose £2 in notes on account of premium

Love to all

Willie

 

Cover Postmark Kibworth Leicester 15 Fe 16 to E. Hammond Esq

9 Countess St Stockport

Letter from Willie Hammond 15 Feb 16.

Customs & Excise Embossed Notepaper

Kibworth

15.2.16

Dear Father & Mother

Thanks very much for the birthday greetings and for the dainty pair of cuff links.  They’re just what I wanted and what I should pick choose myself.  32 is a very nice number.  It will divide by 2, 4, 8 & 16.  I feel I ought to be doing mathematics this year with such an accommodating number for a companion.  Had a letter from George this mng.  He has been in bed with the “flu” but is better now.  I suppose you know he has passed the divisional exam for subalterns only 14 passing in the Brigade and has also been put on the permanent establishment of his Battalion.

Also that friend Arthur is “hoist with his own petard” having scared both birds away.

I am expecting my leave next week so hope to see you all soon.

Hope Gladys is better by now she seems a wholesale dealer in whitlows, sties, heat bumps &c.  She should add a few corns and bunyans (bunions) by way of variety.

I enclose £2 in notes on account of premium

Love to all

Willie

 

Cover Postmark Kibworth Leicester 15 Fe 16 to E. Hammond Esq

9 Countess St Stockport

Fred Hammond letter 14 Feb 16.

In biro “about Feb”

Dimanche 14 1916

Dear Mar & Pa

Just a line to let you know I am still OK.  I am still in a state of *** ****canna ** at present what will be my aboard.  Our old brigade is napour and we are at present waiting the final move as long as you hear from me **** until further notice address my letters as C/O 9th Signal Co.  We have had a good time in the old place and are all a little sorry to part more so as many of the Section will leave us after being out together for so long.  Still we have all said adieu to many of our old pals and some of us will stick together probably within a few days we shall be settled again and I shall feel more disposed to write a decent letter anyway we are not down hearted

So cheero for the present

Gussie

Letter to Hammond family 11 Feb 16.

62 Benyon Rd

Kingsland

London N

11-2-16

Dear Ted & Mary,

 

I just remembered that it is Gladys’s birthday either today or tomorrow so I want to wish her many happy returns of the day.  I hope you are all quite well.  I am not quite as I should like to be.  It is the blathering rheumatism that is troubling me.  I had a letter from George a little while ago. I hope I shall be able to see him before he leaves Crowboro.  How is Fred I hope alright.  I suppose Willie will not have to join.  There is enough for him to do here.  Is it true that they dropped bombs on Buxton.  I don’t think so but this is what I have been told.  I had a letter from Kingswereford telling me that they had passed over there but did not do any damage.  I never thought that they would get so far inland.  There seems to be no safety anywhere from them.  We fully expected them in London that night.  The trains were stopped before six pm & the people that had to go by train were in great difficulties.  We closed one meeting & came home to sit listening for the bombs to drop but thankful when they did not come.  Thinking they had been beaten back on the coast, but alas for the midlands.

I must close with my best love to you all

Yours affectionately

Martha Ann

Fred Hammond letter 9 Feb 16.

9.2.16

Dear Mar & Pa

Just a line to let you know I am OK.  We have settled down again to business after a good rest.  We have hit on a good place this time the office having a good room.  We are billeted in houses here and sleep in a bed of a nights.  I can tell you we take some getting up now.  When we do get up there is a nice cup of coffee awaiting us oh what a change.  I met Billy Garner out here about a week ago he said he was expecting to be going home any day so he might drop in and have a word with you of course he’s the same as ever.  You want to divide what he tells you by 4 and take the remainder for your answer.

The weather has been pretty decent it’s nice to see the sunshine.  I was quite surprised to know Gladys was 18 my word how time flys.  I must be getting an old un.  I have had so many letters to answer this last few weeks that I don’t really know who I’ve written to but I fancy I dropped a pc lately.  I was very pleased to hear of Gladys success I am very pleased indeed to think we’ve got such a clever kid in the family.  We are quite amongst civilization here and had a couple of eggs & chips for dinner finishing up with the ever present coffee quite nice to be able to get ones old chips but I am already beginning to feel bloated again.  I am OK for flash light refills at present.  Tell Mar glad to hear you are all OK I am.  One of our men went on leave yesterday Gladys might hear from him.

We heard about the Zepps alright & I am inclined to believe what you said when the weather gets settled & the wind in their favour but at least we shan’t be taken unawares.  So I think there’s very little to be afraid of.  Well Bye Bye for present.  Drop me a line Gladys if you get that birthday present OK.  Hope it suits you

Yours

Burgy

Alf Smith’s letter 8 Feb 16.

152 High Street

Southend on Sea

 

Feb 8. 16

 

Dear Father

 

Sorry you could not come down last week, but we are looking forward to seeing you this.

How do you like this weather it is very cold here I shall be very glad when the summer comes.

There is a book at home called “Guy Fawkes” I should be glad of it if you can find it without much trouble. It is a red covered book, farely thick I am almost certain it is on the shelf in the spare-room.  I also told Affie I believe you have a new table cloth at home; of course I may be wrong I cannot remember for certain; but if you have & do not require it at all she would be very pleased with it.

I have not joined the army yet, but it looks as though there will be a big move made after 3rd March.  What do you think about it all?  I am not anxious to become a soldier, but still it is no use to trouble about that; if compulsion comes into force one must make the best of it as plenty of others will have to do.

I am very sorry to have to trouble you; but I am very short of money almost on the rocks.  I brought a suit from a friend for 30/- cost 55/-.  Albert has lent me the money.  I did not like having it as I could not afford to pay for it, but as he said one does not get the chance of bargains like that every day.  I am also badly in want of socks & a few other small articles.

You will no doubt think this letter is nothing else but asking for things.  I would not trouble you if I could possibly avoid it, but everything seems pretty rotten at present.

Well Father I think I must conclude now.

Glad to say we are all well & hope you are keeping in the best of health.

 

With much love from

From your devoted

Son

Alf

Letter to Hammond’s from Canada 4 Feb 16

Feb 4th 1916

  1. 9 Avenue

Swift Current

Sark

Canada

Dear Mary

I received your letter after a long while waiting.  We are having some dreadful cold weather.  I should say the soldiers must feel it in the trenches it must be awful I shall be glad when the war is over.  What does Fred & George say about the war.  I suppose they have seen some awful sights.  Well I hope that they will keep in good health through it all.  How are you keeping.  I have had nothing but colds all winter.  You know I told you in one of my letters Arthur did not like baking so we are out of it.  He has sold the oven.  He sold it for 100 and 50 dollars.  He said he would pay me the money I put in but he as only give me 1 pound so far and we have been out of the baking about 8 months.  I can tell you he will never have anything of mine again and I never had any wages all the time you know while we were baking.  We brought a cow and chickens & lots of things which would take a long time to write about and I am in a hurry to write to you but you don’t write much.  His Dave at Sarah yet I thought of writing to him.  I am in a situation.  I want to buy myself some clothes and, am awfully in the want of a new wig and it all takes money.

I am thinking of sending to England for one.

Write soon from your affectionate sister

Annie

Love from myself and George

FEBRUARY 1916

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                          FEBRUARY 1916

 

The deployment on 7th Feb 1916 of 24 Squadron Royal Flying Corps brought the first single seater DH2 fighters to the Western Front.

 

Japan is requested by the British Government, on the 8th Feb 1916, to provide naval assistance in the war against the Central Powers.

 

On the 9th Feb 1916, South African Lieutenant-General Jan Smuts was appointed African Supreme Allied Commander, to replace Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien who had been invalided home. After the war Germany and her African possessions were taken over by the League of Nations mandate.

 

On the 9th Feb 1916 British boats secure control of Lake Tanganyika.

 

On the 11th Feb 1916 German submarines are given permission by Kaiser Wilhelm II to attack armed merchant ships but not to torpedo passenger liners.

 

Britain and France agreed on the 14th Feb 1916 that any peace with Germany must be dependent upon Belgium neutrality being guaranteed.

 

On the 15th Feb 1916 the Fifth Battle of Isonzo begins. The Italians make minor advances against Austrian forces in the Italian Alps. The battle ends on the 17th March 1916.

 

On the 18th Feb 1916 the last German garrison of Mora in the Cameroons surrendered to the British. The war on Africa’s West Coast was over. The only remaining colony was in German East Africa. German Military commander General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck was able to operate guerrilla tactics to elude the British. By expert use of mountains, bush and forest, he remained un-defeated throughout the war despite having inferior numbers of troops.          .

 

On the 18th Feb 1916 heavy bombing raids by Italian Caproni bombers on Laibach was made in retaliation for an earlier Austrian raid on Milan.

 

On the 21st Feb 1916 the German government informed the United States of America that armed merchant ships will be treated as cruisers.

 

On the 22nd Feb 1916 a memorandum by Colonel Edward M. House, aide to U.S. President Wilson, states Wilson’s readiness to propose peace terms when Britain and France are ready.

 

The Portuguese government agrees, on the 23rd Feb 1916, to a British request to intern more than 70 German vessels.

 

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THE CAUCASUS AND MIDDLE EAST

 

On the 5th Feb 1916, the Trebizond (Trabzon) Campaign began with a successful invasion by Russian naval and land forces launched against the Ottoman Empire.

 

The 7th Feb 1916, saw the Russian forces take the Turkish town of Mus and the Russian offensive of Erzerum began on the 11th Feb 1916. The Turkish 3rd Army begins to abandon Erzerum on the 15th Feb 1916, withdrawing towards Erzincan and on the 16th Feb 1916 the Russian Army of the Caucasus captured the fortress of Erzerum.

 

The strategic goal of the Ottoman empire of 1914, was to cut out Russian access to the oil resources around the Caspian Sea. Enver Pasha, the Ottoman Minister of War believed if Russia could be beaten in the key cities of Persia, it could open the way to Central Asia and India.

In 1915 Russian General Yudenitch dispatched two columns into Persia. General Nikoli Baratov was to push South West through Hamadan to Kermanshah en-route to Bagdad. The second column was to advance through Kum and Kashan to Ispahan and march on Tehran. Baratov’s forces captured Hamadan late Dec 1915, and on the 26th Feb 1916 Baratov’s forces captured Kermanshah.

 

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                                                     VERDUN

 

France and Germany were the principle protagonists when war broke out in August 1914. Everyone thought the war would be over by Christmas 1914. The Germans were reliant on the Schlieffen Plan to allow them to out-flank and over-run Paris, thereby forcing France out of the war. The French had their own Plan XVII to enable them to re-take the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. Neither side succeeded. The French were forced to retreat to Verdun, whilst the Germans were halted on the Marne. The static warfare began with the establishment of trench warfare.

General Erich von Falkenhayn, Chief of the German General Staff, was aware the French had a larger army than Germany on the Western Front. He reasoned the French would defend Verdun to the last man and it was the intention of Falkenhayn to ‘bleed France white’

The huge forts above Verdun were the selected killing ground. On the 21st Feb 1916, 1,400 German guns opened fire. The Battle of Verdun had begun.

Most of the French defensive guns had been removed from the forts and they left the forts only lightly manned. Fort Douaumont was captured on the 25th Feb 1916 by nine German troops of the 24th Brandenburg Regiment. They had gained access through an un-defended opening and overwhelmed the aging fifty-seven French defenders.

 

On the 25th Feb 1916, General Philippe Petain, The French Second Army commander, was appointed to organize Verdun’s defences and set about keeping the city out of German occupation. French troops, guns and aircraft were rapidly pouring into the area and by the 28th Feb 1916, the French had halted the original assault on Verdun.

 

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