Private GC Roberts 3144
attached Greek Labour Corps
December 10th, 1915
Dear Dad and Mam
I have received your letter dated Nov 16th and I can tell you I was jolly glad to get it. I fairly danced for joy. I can tell you I was very glad to know that you are all in very good health. The one great fault I found with it was that it was not long enough if you filled that blank sheet of paper as well I should have been satisfied. I have plenty of writing paper at present. Now I am going to criticise your letter. First of all you are leaving words out, you don’t usually do this, were you in a hurry or what. You also make a remark like this. “I have sent a letter you gave me in your in your last letters for Lemnos” what does that mean. I can’t make head nor tail to it. I hope you have not sent any of my letters to any paper, because I should not like to see them in print. Tom Isac is a lucky chap he had a much longer innings than I did. Glad to hear Ainon is prospering. You would be able to get many converts in the firing line. It is when death stares at them that many chaps begin to say their prayers. I shall be very glad when peace is proclaimed if it is only for the lads in the trenches this winter. Glad to hear that Mr Tanner has enlisted. He has joined the cyclist battalion of our regiment they were on coast defense when I was in Pembrokeshire. Not surprised that W. Bebb and H. Hughes have not enlisted, they are to chicken hearted, but they will all be fetched soon. Has Mailys passed the junior? Let me know. I am enclosing you a Xmas card, we only had them today. The dog has Cape Helles where I am in his mouth. I hope to get another letter from you soon hope you will all put a line in it. Hope you are all in good health. I am in the pink. Hoping you spent a Happy Xmas I close with best love and wishes to all
Your loving son
GCR is by now detached from his Battalion and Division and attached to the Greek Labour Corps at Lancashire Landing, Cape Helles. The following is an extract from “With the Greek Labour Corps at Gallipoli” by Bryan T Stefancuk, published in The Gallipolian No 138 – Autumn 2015.
“From the beginning of the campaign through December 1915, volunteer Greek labourers were extensively used for essential manual labour tasks at Cape Helles, Anzac Cove and on the surrounding islands which supplied the army on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Casualty figures suggest the Greek Labour Corps suffered eleven documents casualties during the campaign. The Greek Labour Corps was commanded by British officers and non-commissioned officers ….. Conversely on the other side of No Man’s Land, Greeks also served as labourers; but forcibly conscripted into the labour battalions of the Ottoman Army.
Often criticized for their performance, the Greek Labour Corps worked under tough conditions on the beaches dodging shrapnel and high explosive shells fired by the Turkish gunners from the heights above. Snipers were a constant threat. The Greek labourers were engaged in the unloading and loading of supplies, hauling water up to the front line, digging, construction, excavating latrines, establishing supply depots, fortifying positions, grave digging and other varied tasks essential for the campaign. If called on in an emergency, the men of the Labour Corps were expected to stand and fight. The fact was that the beaches were often more dangerous than the trenches.”
Ainon was John “The God’ Roberts’ Baptist chapel in Abertysswg.
The following are photos inside and outside the chapel that John the God founded in 1906; the second picture is clearly post war. Of the two little boys on the right, the one on the left is John Roberts, GCR’s son, born 1923. The minister on the left and in the interior shot is John the God, to whom most of GCR’s letters are addressed.
This is a picture of the chapel taken in the 90’s before it was demolished.
And a contemporary one.