Archive for May, 2017

Monday 29 January

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

Nothing doing here. The wind has dropped a little and things have got a little warmer. All the water in my room was frozen this morning. The bowl of water had half an inch of ice on it and the water in the carafe was one solid mass. It was a wonder it didn’t break. I have been busy pasting all my photographs in an album. I have got them all running in order of sequence. Will you send prints of photos I took in Egypt and England. I wish I had kept prints now.


Codford, 26 January

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

I have never experienced such icy winds as we are having now. Everything has been frozen up for several days. All our Soda Syphons are frozen. Even the water in the radiators of Motors freezes, while the car is in motion too.

Skating is to be had at various spots round here. I am leading a very easy life here, get up at 9 and start work from 9.30 to 10.00. Lunch 12.30 to 2.30, Tea 4.30 to 5.30, Dinner 6.30 to 8.30.

The work comes in rushes. I am at the office now. It is 9pm. Have cleaned up all correspondence and am waiting for it to come back from the typist for me to sign.

I go to town on the 1st February. Will probably get a couple of days leave as well. Fellows coming over from France say the mud is awful, especially in the shell holes. Dozens of men fall in at night and are never seen again. In several instances, they have had to get mules to pull men out, and some have had their backs broken, and many have died through the process. All liquor is forbidden into France now. Whiskey and even beer is getting very scarce in this country. When all luxuries are stopped, the people will begin to realise there is a War on.

It is a pity Australia is so far away. The majority of men over here are very disgusted with the attitude Australia is taking to the War, although they all want to get back again. I would like a little of Australian sun now. The days are getting longer but they don’t get any warmer I notice.

Sunday 14 January

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

We went to Three Cheers last night. It was splendid. Any amount of music, plenty of good scenery and very funny. Lauder was splendid. His acting is very good. I didn’t think he was the actor he is. He had composed new songs to suit the play. One song he sang as a soldier home on leave was very touching and it evidently cost him something to sing it. He lost his only son about ten days ago. Fred Leslie and Ivy Shilling only danced a couple of times.

Did I tell you I ran across Tim Ringwood at Codford? He was sent to England with a lot of L.H. (Light Horse) details, and after kicking about for several months, they were transferred to infantry. He is in the 50th at present.

This morning we went for a drive in a motor to Epsom, Redgate, Box Hill, Walton on the Hill, Sutton etc. All our old haunts. As we got out a bit, all the houses, trees and ground were covered with snow. The cold was intense. I was afraid to touch my ears in case they broke off. I weighed tonight. I am exactly a stone lighter than when I was here last time.

K and I had lunch at the Piccadilly. Two courses only allowed. Officers to the extent of 3/6. Horse d ‘Oevres half course and soup without meat half course. Meat full course, Cheese no course. Under this arrangement, one gets more to eat than before. Instead of economy, it is wasteful. Afterwards we went to Harrods and spent the afternoon in the gramophone room buying records.


The 50th battalion was comprised mainly of veterans from the 10th, as well as new recruits who arrived in early 1916.

Light Horse is abbreviated to L.H. Thanks to input from readers.

Trinity Road, Wandsworth Common

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

13 January 1917

You see, I have been pretty lucky and managed to get up to town again. On Wednesday afternoon I was feeling pretty seedy and just plodding through work when a wire arrived ordering me to appear at Head Quarters the next day for a Medical Board. I had to fly straight away and proceed to London that night.

First of all I managed to get a couple of days leave. I arrived here about 9pm. Went into the Board next day and waited three hours. I was ordered a further three weeks “home service”. This means coming up for another board on the 1st of next month.

All Thursday afternoon, I spent in shopping at Harrod’s. It is a wonderful place. One wanders round, from gents clothing, you run into corsets and stockings then plated ware followed by ladies underclothing. It is quite interesting walking around I can assure you.

In the evening, Frank Colbey who is still in the 3rd London General Hospital came down to dinner. This afternoon is spent four feet from the fire, writing this. My cough is still pretty bad and I feel pretty run down, and have lost a lot of weight. Everyone says I am thin.

Yesterday a telegram came to say that seven days leave had been approved. This allows me to stay up here till next Thursday. Hope to improve my condition by then.

9 January 1917

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

No. 4 (D) Group,
Head Quarters

I was discharged from hospital this morning. Have still a brute of a cough but the doctors say they can’t do anything at all to cure it. The only thing is a change of air. I left hospital with a recommendation for 14 days sick furlough, but it isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Sick leave is only granted on condition the person goes to a command depot (which means Perham Downs) so there you are.

The Germans treat our prisoners splendidly. Food of course is bad, but the Red Cross look after them pretty well. The medical side is splendid. I know of one fellow who put on two stone. All disabled men are transferred to Switzerland or England as soon as possible. One man I know of was taken prisoner for 48 hours and then recaptured. He had excellent treatment. Any drinks he liked etc.

The arm is still about the same. I can get on alright for most things. Can lift fair weights if I am close to them, although I can’t lift a chair if I am two feet off it. Certain movements are a little awkward still.

3 January

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

I got up yesterday the first time for ten days, and went for a walk. I felt awfully weak and am very stiff today. In fact, I haven’t troubled to get out of bed. I don’t know when I am going to get out of hospital. I still have a cough. At first, my temperature was 103, but it is normal now. There are all sorts of reforms going on here now. War bread has come into use. No one may have more than two courses for lunch or three for dinner. Soldiers may only spend up to 5/6 for dinner and 3/6 for lunch. Rail fares have increased 50%. It looks as if England is waking up to the fact that there is a War on.


Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

30 December 1916

No doubt you are wondering what was up last mail. In the far distant history I caught a cold and it grew. I continued working and so did the cold. At last on Christmas Eve I staggered home and went to bed, more blind to the world than any Christmas boozer. I stayed in bed all the next day and was sent down here to a New Zealand Hospital, the next morning.

There was a wonderful Christmas show on at our mess too. We had the floors stained and varnished, the walls painted red, and the ceiling painted white. Red Shades to the electric globes, silk curtains, carpets, and a wonderful dinner. I didn’t even envy it.

However I am kicking along fairly well. Temperature almost normal. Influenza has been the trouble.

Yesterday, a big batch of mail arrived and I scored pretty well, signet ring, fountain pen, box of cigars, I have not been able to try them yet owing to my cold.