Archive for December, 2017

3 July, 1917

Posted: December 14, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

Letters from home of 6th, 7th May. Considering circumstances, the letters are arriving very well. They nearly all get here, but are often very delayed. My arm is quite alright now. Just a trifle stiff in one or two movements- otherwise, very good.

We have been invaded by Generals today. Dozens of them. General McLogan is one of them.

The parcel of tobacco and cigarettes arrived yesterday. The coconut ice doesn’t carry as well as toffee. It was all melted and soft. The parcel of photos arrived yesterday too. They are all very good and most interesting. I met a Padre Murphy the other day. He is a very Irish RC, a fine fellow who used to be on the Peninsula and knows all the Kellys there. A very interesting man and a fine character.

I had a very nice walk Sunday afternoon with the Colonel, we went through Codford to Stockton, and back across the meadows. The country is very pretty, especially the lanes with hedges and trees on either side. Stockton village is very pretty too. There is one funny little place. The church stands in a big garden and on the edge of the garden are houses, apparently the quarters of the priests in earlier days. The church is very old with its square Norman tower. The houses are now used as a school.

Another pretty walk I had some weeks ago was to follow the River Avon out from Salisbury for a couple of miles. The country is very flat, cut into sections by rivers and covered with trees and hedges. At one place there is a large manor house standing on an island. There are no fences – lawns and trees to the waters edge. The river is packed with big gold fish, trout, carp etc. In the distance was a quaint old church almost hidden by trees. England takes a power of beating in the right season – but in the Winter –!

I started off for Salisbury last night but only got about four miles when my engine seized. It stopped dead. Had to walk home and push the grid. I didn’t know there was so much uphill work in the world. Arrived home soaked to the skin with perspiration. I was thinking of running to London on it, but that is finished now.

Mayman is still away. He has been very ill lately. I am enclosing a few lines written by the Doc. It appeared in nearly all the various papers and all of them try to guess who wrote it. So far, none have succeeded.

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26 June, 1917

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

Plenty of work as I am on my own. Our personnel is very low at present. The Colonel is away on Court Martial duty, Bolton in hospital, Mayman on leave, and about three vacancies on the staff. I ran into Salisbury last night.

One thinks nothing of a small matter of 13 miles. I go in on the average about twice a week. Leave here at 6 and get home about 12. Both Pat Auld and Chris are doing well. The former is in a convalescent home having a good time – the latter is still in hospital, also having a good time.

I am getting very fed up with this place. Have been seriously thinking of applying to go overseas. One certainly gets a little excitement over there.

no relief

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

15 June, 1917

The country is looking beautiful now. There are wonderful shades of green with big patches of buttercups dotted about. You can forget those rumours re Australians being relieved. They aren’t getting any spells. In fact, they are going harder than ever. Chris has been knocked. He was in the Messines stunt and got a beautiful little wound. Shrapnel through the right arm. He is at Wandsworth Hospital. Reinforcements are very scarce and we will soon be out of a job if it continues. The 4th Division is just a skeleton now.

Have been doing quite a lot of rowing lately but can’t get hold of a light boat though. I gave a dinner the other evening at the Country Hotel Salisbury. Amongst those present were noticed Major and Mrs JP Fogarty, MC, Miss Dickenson and impecunious Rhoda. After dinner we repaired to the river and rowed some.

There is a rumour of a mail going out soon.

Lots of love,
Yours, LANCE.

_______________________________________________

Note: some of the text in the last paragraph wasn’t legible so we have made our best guess at the meaning.

news of Bullecourt

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

7 June, 1917

We are melting. Can you imagine it? The temperature isn’t very high, but very steamy and humid. It is much more trying than a decent Australian summer day. We haven’t had any mail for some time although a parcel turned up a few days ago. Socks, cigarettes, tobacco and toffee. All very much appreciated, especially tobacco and toffee. I have the tin on my desk and everyone has a dive into it whenever near me.

Major Fogarty, commonly known as Doc, is about my best pal here. He has his wife living in Salisbury and I have been in with him several times lately. Went in last night and had a row on the Avon. I was very pleased to find that I was able to row quite okay. The Avon isn’t much from a rowing point of view- not near Salisbury any way. The current is very swift and the creek narrow.

I had a letter from Copley, 4th Division, Amn. Column giving me an account of Jack Clarke’s death. He went out very game from all accounts. It was in the Bullecourt stunt. The Huns had got right through our line on to the Artillery. Jack’s Battery had to support them other Artillery and to do so had to take their guns out of the gun pits. The Battery Commander ordered all the men and Jack away to the rear, intending to work the guns himself, but Jack refused to go. These two worked the guns right up until a German shell got them both. There was a ring of 67 dead Germans round Jack’s gun. He was buried with full Military honours in Bapaume. The Battery are all very sorry to lose him.

I have been reading a lot of old diaries of the Doc’s. He has been keeping a very full diary with a view to publishing it. He asked me to review it for him. Heaven knows what I know about reviewing. It deals with a lot of Gallipoli and France. There is a very good description of the Evacuation. I will send you extracts of it. My data of the Evacuation was not too correct, and this is correct in every detail.

I got a letter from Chris a few days ago. They had moved up to where we were when we first went to France and were expecting to “hop out” at any old time.

spring

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

13 May, 1917

I have just come back from a very pleasant walk. It has been a lovely day. Just a trifle too “springified” though. It is a muggy sort of warmth but pleasant for all that after the winter we have had. The Colonel and I strolled round for about an hour this evening. Once after leaving the camp, we entered one of the famous country lanes, and dropped right on to a miniature village. It was very pretty. I didn’t even know it existed it was so well hidden. The church was the main feature. It is an old gothic type building with the usual tower. It was rebuilt in 1834 so it must be some age. There is a very old cemetery there. One moss covered old stone read that a man was buried there in the year 1840 who died at the age of 144 years. Some life eh! The houses are all thatched roofs with tiny little windows.

I have been on a very heavy job lately. Our Mess has been run in a very slip shod method and the books are in a shocking condition. The Commandant has put me on to the job of straightening them out. I have been four days at it now. Devoting most of my waking moments to it and have only just succeeded in effecting a trial balance which looks very shaky.

Our valley is certainly a thing of beauty in summer time. Just across from here is a fine old Manor house surrounded by trees and parks. It belongs to the Bishop of Worcester I believe. All the trees have various coloured leaves, shades of green according to the age of the new foliage. In the middle of this are several copper beeches with their shining brown leaves. If one could blot out the huts, it would be a perfect sight. I must go down the Bath Valley again soon, I believe it is lovely now. The New Forest will be good too.

I am enclosing a few photos and you will notice that I am not fading away yet. The 50th Battalion lost 11 officers out of 14 in their last scrap. Goodman and Loutit are still going strong.

Goodbye.
LANCE.

Visitors from Queensland

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

5 May, 1917

Australian mail today, letters of 11th, 18th, 21st March. The weather has been perfect here for days. The country is all green and the trees are all out in leaf. A week ago they were bare, now they are green.

The Submarine business is very serious now. So are our casualties in France. Poor old Australia is getting it right in the neck. By the way, Edmondson who was in hospital with me is going back to Australia. His wife goes by mail boat and calls at Adelaide. I sent them my card and told them to call on you. I know you will do your best to entertain them.

I met a couple of chaps from Queensland Government yesterday. A Mr Campbell, Trade Commissioner and Mr Dillon, Secretary to Agent General. They both knew people I know here. Campbell lives next door to Mr Masson. I fixed up some business for them here, and was of a little assistance to them.

Up to the present, I have received no word of the War Loan. The only advise has been from the AIF to say it was being looked into. My work here is mostly administrative. Just like being head of an office. Nearly all correspondence about the various Military matters.

Wimbush came out last night with Mrs Fogarty, Misses Burden and Dickenson. They brought out some songs for me. I found that I was horribly out of practice.

Codford

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

3 May, 1917

Things have been fairly quiet lately. Chris disappeared to London in a cloud of smoke. He has since gone overseas. Pinkerton has gone also, so I am rather destitute of friends for the time being. The weather has been perfect for about a week now, almost a drought. All the country is getting green as fast as it can. One can almost see the things growing.

Sunday was a lazy sort of day, no work doing at all, so I pulled out my bike and went for a ramble on it. I rode straight over the downs on a lovely road to Hinton, from there to Shaftesbury. The county was very pretty. Great plains divided by hedges, little hamlets all over the place. The ground rose to a great height in places. The hills formed a cup with a ten mile diameter and I rode all over the place. I ought to know Somerset before I finish. I have been over it quite a lot.

Monday I went up to town on leave. Stayed at Piccadilly and lived on the eighth floor. It is a great hotel. Had dinner Monday night at “Les Gobelins” a French Cafe which was very bohemian. Afterwards, I went to “The Maid of the Mountains”. It was very good with excellent singing. Tuesday I had lunch at the “Rendezvous Restaurant”. A dago place in Soho, very cheap with splendid cooking, also very bohemian. In the afternoon, I saw “Double Dutch” a poor revue, and after dinner at the Elysee, went to see “Under Cover” which was an American detective play – after the style of “Within the Law”. It was very good. The whole time I was in London, it was very foggy. Although the temperature was only 70 degrees, it was quite hot. Ten miles out the weather was lovely.

Jack Clarke was killed the other day but I haven’t any details at all, only the announcement in the paper.