Pte GC Roberts 3144
1/5th Welsh Regt
159th Brigade 53rd Division
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Sept 11 1915
Dear Dad & Mam
Just a line to let you know how things are here with me. Well I have nothing to grumble about only the flies they are an awful worry. I hope you are all in the best of health at home. I am fairly good had a touch of disentry (sic). I have not had a letter from you yet hope to get one very soon now. Have sent to the Peninsular to make enquiries about it. I hope you have received my letters alright I write very often to make sure you get some of them. I shall me very pleased to get a letter from you. The last one I had from Mam just before I left England I have it still I read it very often I find it very encouraging I can tell you. I have had 10 teeth out and a couple filled it will be a good riddance. I shall feel much healthier. How is Dyfan and Mailys getting on also Nain Jones hope she feels her trouble less now. Give my love to them all. This is on Saturday afternoon when I am writing this. We had a concert last night it was fine. You would be surprised what talent there is to be found in a place like this.
I am going to write to Jon and Mag. Have no more to say at present hope you are all in the best of health. Hope to be home for my Xmas dinner this year. So no more for the present. Close with love and best wishes to all
Your loving Son
Comment:- This is the first time GCR mentions the flies that were “an awful worry”. In fact the flies at Gallipoli were a nightmare; the limited space that the Allies occupied, the unburied and decomposing bodies, the poor sanitation due to lack of water and inadequate latrines, if any, resulted in a plague of flies that, as well as being a severe annoyance, carried disease such as dysentry. I remember his describing a continuous flapping of the hand over and above a hard tack biscuit covered in bully beef that was required to avoid a mouthful of flies. I didn’t, as a small boy, really understand what he meant; eventually I did, when I found myself doing exactly the same thing in Iraq in summer 2003.
There is in fact on page 3 of this letter, as if to illustrate the point, the remnants of an insect.