A1 and in the Pink – 100 years on

WWI as seen in the letters of Sgt GC Roberts MM of the 1/5th Welsh Regiment


February 2016

A Gallipoli Medal

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So GCR has left Gallipoli, by all accounts one of the last off the peninsula. Clearly he wasn’t upset to be leaving. The campaign was a failure; although the original plan was sound the execution was disastrous. One of the ongoing effects was a reluctance for further amphibious operations on enemy coastlines such as Alexandretta and Aqaba. No campaign medal was struck by the British for the troops who served on the Dardanelles.

By contrast the Gallipoli campaign became legendary as a defining event in the developing Australian and New Zealander national psyche. This was also true of the Turks; the story of the stalwart defense of their homeland and of Mustafa Kemal, the future Ataturk’s role in the campaign was key to their post war recovery. The Turks did issue a Gallipoli medal to recognize their troops valiant efforts.

This medal my grandfather GCR took off a Turkish prisoner later in the war. He had no problem killing Turks, it was why he was there. I remember him telling me, as I sat on his knee, that the WW1 bayonets were long enough for seven Turks. However he developed a respect for the Ottoman soldiery and for the rest of his life regretted taking this medal from that prisoner saying that that young man had deserved his medals just as much as he had.


January 30th 1916

Private GC Roberts 3144

attached Greek Labour Corps


Jan 30, 1916

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line hoping this will find you in the best of health. I received Mam’s letter dated January 8. Was very pleased to get it I can tell you. I may be sure that it gives me the greatest pleasure to receive these letters from you. I am very sorry to tell you that I have not received the parcel you sent me for Xmas so I will have to try and imagine what the mince pies taste like for the time being, hope will make a few for me when I come home. Hope Dyfan and Mailys enjoyed themselves in Cardiff with dad. I also wish Dyfan every luck with his Central Welsh Board Junior Exam. How is Mailys getting on with her teaching. I intend to make inquires about them parcels you have sent me, I can’t understand how I can get letters fairly good now but no parcels. I expect to be moving from where I am at present to (     battalion?   ) I heard that they had gone back to England, but I find that this is not so. Have you heard anything of West. I don’t know what has become of him. I received a letter from Tudor Dodd the other week, he is in the hospital in Malta, he went back to the peninsular shortly after I did but came off again sick. Give my love to Jon and Mag, hope they are in good health. I wrote a letter to you about 3 days ago, hope you will receive it alright. I am rather bankrupt for news just now Will give you plenty when I come home you bet. I must come to a close now as our tea gong has sounded, at least the cook calls it tea, none of us others do. Hope you are all in the best of health I am in the pink with best love to all.

I am

Your loving son






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