Archive for April, 2017

Special Anzac Day edition

Posted: April 25, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

23 April
I fancy my last letter ended up with the prospects of a review. Well it came off last Tuesday. The Brigade marched over to Bulford about eighteen miles from here. I was to stay in camp, but managed to creep over on Tuesday on my bike. It was a splendid day. The parade ground was a great stretch of country, an ideal place for it. Over there I met my friend Wimbush (the “Tank” expert) and two of his friends, Miss Burden and Miss Dickenson. The Review was one of the biggest ever held for Australians. The King inspected them, and the march past took over an hour for them all to pass the saluting base. Afterwards, the King decorated a number of soldiers. I put my bike in Wimbush’s Car, and we all drove to Amesbury and had lunch there. Wimbush’s car is about 40 to 50 horse power. He fitted it up as a private ambulance and with the body on, can do 50 miles per hour easily.

Saturday, Wimbush came out again and picked me up and we went into Salisbury to the Palace Theatre, a Vaudeville show and poor at that. Miss Dickenson went with us. Afterwards, we went to the Capt. and Mrs Fogarty’s house. Fogarty is our SMO here, and a thorough sport. Wimbush came back with me and I put him up for the night.

Sunday morning, Wimbush, Pinkerton and I set out in the car for a tour. We went to Romney via Salisbury and had lunch there. It is right in the New Forest and very pretty. The forest is a glorious place, splendid roads run right through it. From there, we went to Lyndhurst and had tea. This is still in the New Forest. The forest covers an immense area of country. Quite a number of people are going, or have gone overseas. We held a send-off dinner last night. Our GSO Major Pollock is going, Chris has already gone, Lt. Smith the RTO is going. Pinkerton went today – so you can see we are getting cleaned up. It was “some” dinner. We brought the ladies out from Salisbury in the car. Mrs. Fogarty, Mrs. Smith and Misses Dickenson and Griffin. We were quite a lively party. Had a fair amount of music etc.

I saw a thing yesterday that is hardly credible, a bush fire. It was in the New Forest. The trees are just starting to bud, so in about another month, it will be splendid.

Wednesday will be Anzac Day again. It seems incredible that it is two years since I first went under fire. I will be going to Fogartys to dinner. The Doctor lives out here but his home is at Salisbury.

Roy Fordham has been killed. They are all going nowadays.

A mail arrived on Saturday letters dated 22nd and 25th February and 2nd and 6th March. The same day I went for a short ride from here on my bike to Yarnbury Castle. It is an old Roman Castle. There is nothing to see now except big mounds. It is a square with round corners. There are three rows of mounds or ramparts. The first is about 15 feet high, the next about 20, and the innermost 30 feet. There are four gates leading to the enclosure, which is 400 yards across. Considering the age of the ruins, the mounds must have been a tremendous height originally. I have had two parcels lately, both okay. The tobacco was very acceptable. I haven’t read the books yet. The serviette ring arrived quite safely. Many thanks. It is very good and the envy of the mess. It is a great idea having the old school badge on it. I don’t know anything about the Submarines. The devils are sinking our hospital ships now. I received a letter from Pat Auld the other day. He is at Cambridge, wounded again. Yes I know Essington Day fairly well. My gramophone has refused to budge, fancy it is the spring. I notice that Desmond DuRieu has gone to an Officers Training Corps.

Well I fancy I have finished all I can find to say.
Lots of Love.
Yours
LANCE.

_________________________________________________________________

SMO – Senior Medical Officer
GSO – General Services Officer
RTO – Range Training Officer

NOTE – Apologies for the backlog of letters, for today we thought it would be nice to share a timely letter from Lance, this one dated April 23, 1917. It will be posted again later in order when the blog is once more on schedule.

Lance arrived in Codford, Salisbury, UK around mid-December 1916. More information about Codford training and transfer camps here.

Tori Rhodes will also now join with the posting of blogs.

Thanks for following,
Sarah

 

2 October

Posted: April 24, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

Have received two parcels from you the last couple of days. One containing socks by the half dozen and a Printer’s Pie, and the other was more socks and a knife. I think I will post them on to the battalion. Yesterday I had an interesting day. Went to dinner at Mr Geldarts who is a professor of law at All Souls College and is a fine old chap. Mrs Geldart is very nice too. There I met a Beer. He is in the Flying Corps here. At the age of thirteen he fought for the Boers in the Boer War. This time he went through the German West African Campaign with Botha. He is a very interesting chap.

In the afternoon, I went to the Gatenby’s, the New Zealand family. The son is a “Don” at Balliol College. I know four lawyers and two Varsity lecturers here now, quite classy. I received a letter from Haddon Bowen from Captetown dated 10 August 1916 saying he will be in England. It is a good time ago but hope to meet him. That knife is a beauty, very handy too as I lost both of mine at Pozieres. I had that other one right up till then.

We changed from Summer time to Greenwich time yesterday. The only difference is that it gets dark at 6.30 instead of 7.30. In London in the tubes in some places there are as many as half a dozen different stations in three stories. To get from the bottom up, they use sliding stairways. You stand on a step and in time find yourself in the street. It is very helpful and much quicker than climbing up the stairs.

23 September

Posted: April 24, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

Received your letters of 28 July yesterday. You seem to have had a good time on Australia Day. I ran across one of the Haywards here yesterday. He is in the Flying Corps. I am still getting to know a lot of people here. A Mrs. Lewis called one day, she had been asked by a Mrs Ruffman of Newcastle to look me up. Mrs Lewis has a fine house and is evidently wealthy.

Received a letter from the Battalion yesterday enclosing a card something after this style.
Major General Sir H.V. Cox K.C.M.C. C.B. C.S.I. commanding 4th, Australian Division.
Congratulations Lieut. R.L. Rhodes 50th Batt. 13 Aust. Infantry Brigade who on the 12th, 13th and 14th., August 1916 displayed great bravery and coolness under heavy fire (severely wounded)
B.E.F. France
23rd August 1916
(Signed) H.V. Cox, Maj. Gen.

It is better than a Court Martial.

Have been taking a few photos lately, as the weather has been a bit decent. It has changed again though and is very wet and foggy now. Have been running round without a sling the last couple of days. The wing seems to be well on the way to recovery. Have found out a place where I can hire a light sculling skiff for the river when my arm is strong enough.

I noticed in today’s Casualty List that Art Kinnish has been killed. That makes nearly everyone of all my friends who left from Australia together. It seems as if I am going to be the next one. However fate will decide that later I suppose. I went up to London again yesterday. Went to the Australian Base and drew 50 pounds pay. That is 80 pounds I have drawn since I have been in England. In the course of my peregrinations round the city, I saw Westminister Abbey, St. Pauls, The Australian House, New Zealand and Canadian Houses. Both Churches are wonderful buildings. I didn’t have time to go in. At St. Pauls I saw them feeding the pigeons. There were hundreds of them as tame as can be. I saw the Bank of Adelaide and met several people there but didn’t see Mr Arnold though. Opened an account and paid in 60 pounds. Also met Charley Perry there. He is waiting to be sent out to France any day.

In the afternoon, I went to the Criterion Theatre and saw “a little bit of Fluff”. It is a farce and is very amusing. Had the honour of sitting alongside of my General, Sir H.V. Cox and family. Lady Cox is very nice. Had quite a long yarn to them. Mrs Moss sent me down half a dozen books today. Everyone is very kind to me here and do their best to entertain me. I was glad to see that Adelaide is supporting conscription. Would like to get among a few of the Anti’s with my Mark VI Webley. Have managed to catch a nasty cold, first one for over a year.

Goodbye,
LANCE.

20 September

Posted: April 12, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

Have just got back from London. I caught a train at 10.40 and arrived in London at Paddington Station at 11.50, a matter of 60 miles. From Paddington I took the tube to Aldgate and from there walked about 400 yards and ran up to Kidstons and saw Mr Blair. After some talk we went to lunch. We dined in a sort of grill room. We wandered upstairs and found a chef behind three or four big plates of cooked and roasted joints etc. Behind him are chops and steaks etc. You pick the piece you want carved or cooked for you and wander on upstairs again. You tell the waiter what you ordered. If you stay on the ground floor, they bring the joint and carve it before you. You can have as much and as many helpings as you like – it is all the one charge. In a way, it is very much like the Exchange. On going out, you leave the waiter twopence and the carver a penny. If you give more, you are considered a fit candidate for the asylum, and if you don’t give it, you are asked for it.

Afterwards, I went to Lanyon’s and met Mr Moss and Mr Lanyon. After a good yarn Mr Lanyon took me to tea. I like Mr Lanyon very much. I am going to stay with him after I am at large and he is going to pass me on to other friends. I have to visit a munitions factory that turns out 100,000 Mills Grenades a week with the low percentage of -01% rejections. Also a trip to the Midlands to see some other works. It was after 3 o’clock when I left them, so I did not have much time for sight seeing as I had to catch the 7.30 at Paddington.

First of all I saw the Traitors Gate at the Tower of London and the Bloody Tower where Lady Jane Grey and Anne Boleyn were beheaded, and various other places of note. From there, one was shepherded into a door where there were guns, swords, rifles, pistols, armour and every conceivable weapon of all sizes and ages. As you finished with one chamber you were hunted out of another door into another and so on. All side channels were blocked with chairs, so there was no chance of getting lost or blocking traffic. After that I walked over London Bridge. It is a beautiful piece of work. Up till this, the part of London I had seen wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a large city but when I got into the middle of the bridge and looked up the river and saw spires, buildings and chimneys as far as I could see, then I realised how big the place was.

From there I went to the Bank of England. Here was “some” traffic, yards of taxis etc. and it didn’t do to go to sleep in the middle of the road. From there I took the tube to Piccadilly Circus. There was a good crowd there too. Theatres by the score. Saw Nelson’s Column in the distance and Marble Arch. The tube is a wonderful contraption worked by women now to a large extent, as are the buses and everything that can be. Altogether I reckon I had a pretty good day. “If in doubt, ask a policeman” is a very good motto to employ and I managed to get anywhere I wanted to that way. The only way I can describe the Thames is to recommend you to read Black House again.

19 September

Posted: April 12, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

Received a letter from Pat Auld today. It is correct about poor old Jonah. He got it as soon as they went into the trenches again. Had shrapnel pellets all over him, he died instantaneously. It was on the 3rd. The weather has been very rough and wet the last day or so. Hope to go to London tomorrow. I bought a vest pocket Kodak Camera yesterday. It will be some time before mine turns up, so I thought I had better get one while I could. I am getting better every day.

17 September

Posted: April 12, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

The last few days have been rather lucky ones. I wrote and explained to Lady Glyn how it was we did not keep our engagement. She replied by inviting me out on Sunday. I have just come back. Yesterday she came here to take out three more officers when I happened to see her. As it happened, one of the three didn’t turn up and I acted as a substitute. We went for a lovely ride. I suppose we covered about 60 miles altogether. The country looked fine. We got right out on the Berkshire downs and saw the Chiltern Hills in the distance. Saw another old Roman Camp. The villages are so pretty too, everything is so neat and well laid out. After the run we had tea with Lady Glyn and then were motored home.

This afternoon a man named Moreton and I went to the same place and didn’t lose our way this time. Had a row on the river and then tea. I am getting on quite well with Lady Glyn, she is very interesting, knows everyone and has travelled extensively and knows how to talk about it. I don’t know whether I have told you of Moreton. He is an awfully nice fellow. Is a regular in the 29th Division (whom I have mentioned re Gallipoli). He was wounded in the left arm on the first day of the “Push”, July 1st. He is about my only friend now that can walk, but he is leaving here on Friday worse luck.

I can get quite a lot of movement out of my arm now. It is getting quite strong too. Mr Blair wrote to me yesterday. His son is home now with shell shock. Also Mr Hughes’ brother is here wounded.

15 September

Posted: April 12, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

There hasn’t been much doing in the last couple of days except that my valise has turned up. I have all my kit now. There is a theatre here which gives Vaudeville shows. It runs 7 to 9 and 9 to 11 at night. To see a whole performance we have to take two nights over it. Wednesday I went from 9 to 10 and last night from 8 to 9. Managed to strike the exact place where we left the night before. The show wasn’t bad.

I have been in a few of the colleges. They are very fine, especially the churches in them. There is one piece of very fine statuary. It is a memorial to Shelly. It is a life size piece of him just as he was washed up by the sea when he was drowned.