Archive for the ‘1916’ Category


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.


Wednesday 20 December

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

I hadn’t been in the office two days before Mayman hopped off on a fortnights leave. I have to run the whole office with one other officer to assist me. So far I reckon I have done pretty well especially as I haven’t got into the routine yet. My new room is looking very nice. Have quite a nice collection of pretty girls looking at me. There are seven respectable photos on my table. I have dropped into a lovely mess at Headquarters with table linen, silver, serviettes etc, I can almost imagine I am in London again.

The weather has been rotten the last week. Everything frozen up. Today we had rain, which has frozen since. We are going to have some festival for Christmas I believe. The mess rooms are being painted, varnished, stained, papered and decorated.

Received your cable- many thanks.

Well I must close to catch the mail.
Lots of Love,

Sunday 17 December

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

Things are moving apace here. I was put into the 13th Training Battalion as Assistant Adjutant. But I was ordered to report to Headquarters and take over the duties of Assistant Staff Captain so I will have to move again. For every brigade in France there is a battalion here which represents the various battalions. These training battalions are brigaded here and the Brigade Headquarters represent the Divisional Headquarters. This is the lot I am on.

Yesterday I started off for a ride with Chris. My nag was very fresh and leaving the camp, we had to go down hill. This animal started off at full gallop. My hat flew off and I hadn’t enough strength to hold it in; so all the troops in Codford had the fun of seeing me flying through the streets with my hair and coat tails streaming out behind.

Afterwards, we took a motor and drove into Salisbury, a matter of about fourteen miles each way. Whilst there I bought a lot of matting for my floor and some cloth for window curtains. Last night I am sure you would have been immensely amused to see me patiently hemming these darned curtains. I had twenty feet of hemming to do no joke I can assure you, especially as my needle was both bent and rusty.

Tomorrow I have to move all my gear into another room about three hundred yards away. I have my room decorated with views from that Tourist Bureau Book. They look fine. By a coincidence, the Staff Capt. I am understudying is Mayman, an old 10th man. We were sergeants together on Gallipoli.

Thursday 14 December

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

Sometime ago I wrote to major Herbert at the 13th Training Battalion saying I wouldn’t mind a job. On Wednesday morning I received a reply telling me to transfer if I could. I also received about twenty Australian letters. I went straight to the Adjutant and he let me transfer. I ought to have gone from Ludgershall to Andover, changed trains there and gone to Salisbury, changed there for Codford. As the crow flies, it is about 13 miles but by train about 60. I went to London stayed at Millicents and came down to Codford tonight which made my transfer a journey of 190 miles.

This is a fine camp, far different to the other. The officers are in rooms in huts. They are lined with wood and as all the fellows are here for six months, they have rigged things up right. Bill Christophers is Adjutant. I am writing this in his den. It is about 12 x 24 feet. He has matting on the floor, cane chairs, electric reading lamp, curtains, pictures, photos, pipe rack and everything needful for comfort. My room is bare at present but I will soon fix things up. There are three of my battalion here so I won’t be lonely.

1st Command Depot, Perham Downs

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

12 December 1916

This is one of the most desolate places I have ever seen. The country is flat and bare. There are acres of huts. The ground is covered with snow, slush and ice. No one does any work, and the monotony is awful. Anyone would think this place is a thousand miles from anywhere, whereas it is only two hours run from London. The life here is horrible in contrast to the good time I have been having since I came out of hospital.

I am down here for three weeks more of home service and from what I can see of it, I will be pleased to get back to France. One chap shot himself here yesterday, so you can imagine what sort of place it is. I have met several people here I haven’t seen for a long time, one man in the mess whom I haven’t seen for over a year.

Today my chief occupation has been a walk to a place called Tidworth. It is one of the most desolate holes imaginable, and who should I run into there but Gordon Pavy. He is looking very well.

Clarendon Hotel, Oxford

Posted: May 7, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

I have just arrived here for a day or so. Coming down from Edinburgh I passed through Nottingham, Leeds, Carlisle and Sheffield. In the North we passed through very pretty scenery, but as we got South it was raining and foggy.

On Saturday I received a wire from Pat Auld saying he was in London with Capt. Todd, one of our Company Commanders. We had a very pleasant evening. Sunday I took him out to dinner, and today I went before a Medical Board. Of course I was very ill, but the beggars were too cute for me. I got to go on duty on Monday for home service for a month. Then I go before another board. Home service means duty at Perham Downs on Salisbury Plains.

The last place on earth.

Our chaps have been in the Somme six times. The mud, cold and wet is awful. High boots are not any good because the water runs over the top of them. Casualties have been slight but only in our battalion. Pat has an MC as you most probably know. It is great seeing him again.

I was at dinner at Regent Palace Hotel Saturday night with six fellows. Two were in the English Army, but we were all Australians. About two tables away were Freddie Le Messurier and Charlie Drew (of RAMC) very funny meeting all these chaps. They all look very well.


MC is Military Cross
RAMC is Royal Army Medical Corps

North British Hotel, Edinburgh

Posted: May 4, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

30 November

I have just returned from Glasgow by a fast train. It is only an hours run. I had a letter of introduction to Messrs. Aitken Litburn & Co., shipowners etc. They had arranged to get me over Messrs. Barclay Curle & Co’s ship building yards. It was quite a job. First, they applied to the District Commandant and then the Naval Superintendant of the Harbour to get permission.

After I made myself known to Aitken Litburn & Co., I went to Kidston’s. I had lunch with Mr W H Kidston at his club and in the afternoon, he sent his Cashier out with me in a motor to see the town. Glasgow is bigger than Edinburgh but not so interesting for sight seeing. There is a very fine Art Gallery and University, also a statue to Lord Roberts, lately erected. The River Kelvin which flows through the city is pretty too.

In the evening I went out to Mr Kidston’s place at Helensborough twenty two miles out, north of Glasgow. It is a beautiful place and wholly residential. It is on the river front and is a beautiful walk round. It is five miles from Loch Lomond. The weather was very foggy and misty, so I couldn’t see much. The hills rise right behind Helensborough. I returned to Glasgow with Mr Kidston, and came right on here and am leaving for London by the ten o’clock train. I am returning by the Midlands route instead of the East Coast, so I will see a little of the centre of England.