Archive for the ‘1916’ Category

28 November

Posted: May 4, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

I left London yesterday morning by the morning train to Edinburgh. I left Kings Cross station at 10am. There I was met by Mr Moweill of Lanyon’s who brought several letters along for me which had come over by a special mail. I arrived here at 6.15pm. Not bad for a 300 mile trip, is it? I came up by the North British Railway Co. This line passes through Peterborough, Doncaster, York, Durham, Newcastle and Berwick. The three former towns are in iron and steel districts. The latter are in Coal districts. The whole trip was through flat fen country and was not over interesting.

I am stopping at the North British Hotel, which is excellent in every way. Today I spent in doing Edinburgh. Princes Street is the only street worth considering. The whole town seems to rest on a valley and two crests. I saw Holyrood Abbey and Palace, the Edinburgh Castle, Nelson Memorial and a few of the main features of the place this morning. Also an Industrial Museum. It is mostly a collection of machinery etc. by pressing a button, it is possible to see the parts in motion.

This appears to be a very windy place. The town is rather nice, although I think London has spoilt me for most towns now. I wandered all round Holyrood Palace, then in all innocence asked one of the Commissionaries what it was. Gee! did I get a hurt look. I remember one day standing in front of the Bank of England and asking a policeman which building was the Bank. It cost me a bob’s worth of whisky to revive him. People have a great habit of putting up famous statues and buildings and omitting the name plate.

I find I am going on to Glasgow tomorrow morning. Have a letter of introduction to a big ship building firm. I am hoping to go over the Clyde works. This afternoon I hired a motor and went out to see the Fourth Bridge. It is about eight miles from here, a very pretty drive. The Bridge is a wonder of construction.

I suppose you didn’t know I was supposed to be dead. Several people have welcomed me like a “stiffee returned”. Ran into one today. Greeted me like a long lost brother. This is the third occasion in which I have succumbed, started at Gallipoli in the landing.

I had tea with the Honeywills again last Saturday. With them I met a Mr Smith. I met him at the Fullers, about four years ago, and walked home with him. He had just returned from England and was telling me all about it. We recognised each other almost immediately.

I received all the books okay. Many thanks, they are fine. I am sending a miniature M.C. out in a parcel for Mollie. I am leaving the Cross proper, at the Bank of Adelaide. The Mails are worked in an absurd manner here P & O on the 30th. Orient and San Francisco on the 1st. Three mails in two days is rather hard to carry out.

Well, I am afraid my little store of news has evaporated.
Lots of love to you all,
Yours LANCE.


an audience with the King

Posted: May 4, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

I have just come back from Buckingham Palace.

I received a telegram as follows:
“Lieut. Randall Rhodes, 261 Trinity Road, Wandsworth Common- Your attendance is required at Buckingham Palace on Saturday the 25th inst. at 10.15am. Service Dress, regret that only those to be invested can be admitted to the Palace, please telegraph acknowledgement, Lord Chamberlain London”.

We went into a suite of rooms. The higher decorations went first then the MC’s. We were ushered into His Majesty’s presence one at a time and announced. The procedure was to march into the centre of the room, tum to the left and bow, advance to the King who pinned the cross on, shook hands, and congratulated us. He asked after my wound, and if I was feeling quite strong again. Then we faded away as gracefully as possible. The rooms were very fine. White and gold decoration with red carpets. Paintings, statuary, and china formed the furnishings.

Afterwards I had to go through the ordeal of being photographed by several pressmen. The cross is in a very fine purple leather case with a gold crown on the cover – it looks very fine. I am sorry you could not have been here this morning. It was very interesting. The King is just like his photographs. He certainly is small but I wouldn’t call him insignificant, as I have often heard said. Didn’t feel at all nervous, although it is far from being a pleasant sensation. There were only three Australians there.


Notes: the letter dated Tuesday 21 November describes the event of being presented the MC as ‘tomorrow’ however, this letter dated Saturday 25th and the invitation to the ceremony contradict that. We suspect a transcription error.

Tuesday 21 November

Posted: May 4, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

Yesterday was just a middling sort of day. In the morning I collected some more pay and then went to the Admiralty in Whitehall. I heard that officers were allowed to visit the grand Fleet. It meant going to Scotland and going out on one of the boats on patrol duty in the North Sea for about four days. One was liable to go on any boat from a Cruiser to a Dreadnought, also the risk of getting into action. It would have been a unique experience to be in action in both classes. On enquiry, I found that the trip had just been cancelled for three months.

Received your parcel containing all those delicacies for Christmas. I couldn’t keep it till then. It was just a splendid parcel. I have been shouting the crowd to Australian almonds and raisins etc. The dominoes, pipe and tobacco especially are being much enjoyed. This is an awful country for tobacco. You can follow up with a tin of Havelock Aromatic any time you like. The socks and dates etc are very fine. It was just the ideal parcel for active service.

One of the turns at the Coliseum last night was Pattman, an organist. He had a big organ rigged up. It is supposed to have 1147 pipes. Ten miles of electric wire and 4208 gold contacts and cost nearly 3,000 pounds. Amongst other items was The Storm. It made one feel like putting his overcoat on. He was assisted by a very good Contralto who sang “The Lost Chord” a piece of Samson and Delilah and “Land of Hope and Glory”. You can bet it was some item.

Today we had a fine run in the car out to Epsom and all round the Downs. It was a lovely morning. At lunch time, a fog suddenly descended on us, and it was night. In the afternoon, K and I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum again. After another look through, we still have a lot to see. It is the finest thing I have ever seen in Museums. The building is superb. There isn’t anything crowded. Everything is classified and well arranged. There is a full collection of almost everything known. Afterwards we had a look through Harrods, or rather, part of it. Fay and Gibson’s isn’t in it. There are hundreds of departments. You can buy everything you wish. They will wash you, shave you, and dress your hair, clothe, feed, sell you a house, supply you with a motor and all furniture, bank your money, or anything desired. It is something extra special in shops. I am going to Aida tomorrow night. Fancy I will have to see more Grand Opera while I am here.

Today I had lunch at the Trocadero and then went to the London Opera House. It is a tremendous place, used for Vaudeville. I counted 49 boxes but the place is a frost, only a few hundred people there, an absolute white elephant. Afterwards, tea at the Trocadero and then 15 Australian letters when I got home, all full of the Military Cross. I don’t know how to answer them all. Many thanks for all your congratulations. I am being decorated at Buckingham Palace tomorrow by the King. Will you thank all those people for their congratulations. There was great excitement here over the photos. I was like a guide describing them all.

I am leaving for Scotland on Monday.

18 November

Posted: May 4, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

A few days ago, I went to Windsor. It is about twenty miles from Paddington station. There is quite a fair sized town there, the Castle and Eton College, so you see we had our work cut out to see the lot. The Castle is a big rambling place. It reminded me of Malta a little. I must say I have seen better Castles, but it is thought quite a lot of here. As our time was rather short, I hired a motor and drove round the various schools. I had a letter of introduction to one of the Masters given me by Mr Burrows, but didn’t have time to go in at all.

Since then our efforts have been confined to teas and suppers at the Trocadero. We went to Romance, played by Doris Keane at the Lyric. It was splendid and very dramatic.

It has been awfully cold the last day or so, and today we have been having sleet all the time.

Sunday night
Nothing much doing the last day or so, the weather has been so awful. K and I got so fed up with the house, and cold, that we went for a walk in the sleet and got beautifully warm. I bought a gramophone the other day, a “Decca” portable one. Have also got some very good records. A lot of the popular songs and airs, going about at present. Needless to say, it is being very much overworked just at present. I think I will take it on to France with me.

9 November

Posted: May 4, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

Tuesday we went to “Flying Colours” at the Hyperdrome. It was very good. Bainsfather’s piece was about the best. Saw Little Tich, Gabrielle Ray and Dorothy Ward in it. Afterwards, we went to the Carlton. It is a very fine hotel.

Yesterday I went to see Bergers Place. The factories cover about five acres which is large for London. There is the original house and dairy which old Berger used about 160 years ago. He owned acre upon acre of ground but sold it gradually. I saw Paint in all its various stages and the same with Varnish. They have a very good plant, and everything is done on the latest lines. They make their own tins, print their own labels and advertising matter. Saw several cuts. Of the stuff labelled W &TRA. Mr C H Eves, the manager, showed me around. I met the General Manager, the Advertising Manager and several others and altogether had a good time. They have a fine lunch room for the staff run on the restaurant principle, also smoke room and billiard room. Mr Eves had just returned from Brazil and was very interesting.

Today was a great day in London. It was the Lord Mayor’s show. Everyone turned out to see it. It was a huge procession, after the style of an 8hrs procession in peace time. Now it is really a procession of samples of soldiers and sailors etc.

I went to the Bank of Adelaide to see it on an invitation from Mr Arnold. The show was very good but best of all, I met crowds of people I knew. Saw Col. Hayward and exhibited my finger, Mrs Varley and Mrs Hayward, W.A. Horn and The Hon. Sir J G Jenkins, Mr, Mrs and Miss Honeywill, Major Dick Yeatman and Capt. Kirk Godfrey old Varsity lacroseurs. Godfrey is leaving for Australia on Saturday – was gassed. I also saw one of the 10th chaps. We had lunch at the bank then Godfrey and I went to the Royal Exchange and saw the pictures, following up with the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Tonight we are doing Vanity Fair with supper at the Trocadero to follow.

I have exhausted my news so goodbye.

Glenshee Lodge, 5 November

Posted: May 4, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

A mail arrived last night with letters from you all, ranging from 13-21st September, also a Journal and Sydney Mail. What a toll of death your letters had. I hear most of the casualties but I generally get a few from the papers and letters.

My arm has been playing funny jokes the last few weeks. I have quite a lot of movement in it, but can’t raise it above my shoulder and have no strength in it when up, at all. Just lately it has been patchy, one day quite well, and the next very weak and painful to every movement. The shoulder seems to be the trouble. I am only hoping it remains so till after my next board.

You are starting early enough with your Christmas box. I have never received the parcel you sent for my birthday. You didn’t say what it had in it. Poor Mrs Jones, she is in trouble. I am always running across men who say how sorry they are to hear he is dead. He was very popular with everyone. His commission didn’t make any difference to him. It is only against rifle fire practically that an officer runs any more risk. Of course one can’t stay in shelter so much perhaps, but in this case, it was a case of anyone who was in the way of the shell.

We have Col. Salisbury, a Queenslander at the head of our Battalion now and he is very popular. Art Kinnish was sniped just as he was leaving the trenches. He had gone through all the stunt and was being relieved.

You have no idea what London is like at night. All the lights are out and motors and taxis are only allowed to carry side lights which are very dim. all you see is a lot of eyes blinking at you from these cabs. I have made quite a name for myself by securing taxis at night. After 9pm, no one is to whistle, so the only thing to do is to wait till a taxi passes empty (which is seldom) and jump on the footboard. I go diving off into a whirling mass of wheels after these taxis.

When I started out to see London, K. was showing me around. Now it has come to me showing K. round. Today we had lunch at the St. James Restaurant, then went out to Kew Gardens and came back to the Trocadero for tea and then home. The gardens must have been beautiful in the season before the war. Now it is very much neglected and the flowers are all dead. I received that book on flowers. It was very goods and is beautifully done. Bill Christophers has his Captaincy and is joining our training battalion for six months.

Wednesday 1 November

Posted: May 4, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1916

Yesterday K and I set out to see London. First of all we went to the London Bridge and saw the Billingsgate Fish Market. Then on to the Tower and had a look at the Crown Jewels. They are fine. Saw all the medals, and insignias and orders too. After we went to Princes to lunch, one of the best known places in Piccadilly and then came home tired out.

Well, I must catch the mail,
so goodbye.