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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

Month

June 2016

June 21st 1916

Sgt GC Roberts 3144

C Coy 1/5th Bn Welsh Regt

159th Brigade 53rd Division

June 21 1916 EEF

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line to let you know that I am as usual in the pink. I wrote to you before a few days ago but there is a mail going out tomorrow so I am writing you this so that you have it in good time. I have not got much to tell you this time am absolutely stumped for news. I wrote to Jon in answer to his letter yesterday and also to Mrs Morgan and Auntie Annie. I did not half pull Aunties leg over the name they have given Dai baby. They should have a bit of consideration for the child and think he has got to carry a handle like that through the world. I was glad to hear that Hughie was alright from Jon. Give my best regards to his father. I should think things are very quiet at home with all the men in the Army. How is it at Abertysswg don’t you get a bit of excitement out of a Zeppelin raid now and again. I once had the experience of a aeroplane raid. I can tell you you will have to (quat lawr?) when they are about. What are Howard Hughes and Will Bebb doing are they in the Army yet. If not they should be ashamed of themselves. They were going to join, so plucky at first but when it came to the push they have not got the guts of a rabbit as we say in slang. Howard wanted to join the Territorials in peace time but jibbed that in the end. The two are rattling good talkers at doing things but very poor fulfillers. It would break their little hearts if they had to leave Abertysswg let alone England to do their bit. Well I said I had no news for you. Lewis Morgan is alright and in the best of health. I had him on ration fatigue this morning he usually asks me for the job. Well I hope you are all in the best of health I wish I had a cake like the one you sent me on April 5th. I still have the memories of that. Well so long for the present. With best love and best wishes to you all

I am your loving Son

Goronwy Roberts

 

Comment

I can’t find the name of the baby GCR refers to that was so ridiculous. It’s possible it didn’t survive. But if Goronwy Cuffin Roberts thought it was amusing it must have been quite the “handle”

June 12th 1916

L/Sgt GC Roberts 3144

C Coy 1/5th Bn Welsh Regt

159th Brigade 53rd Division

June 12th, 1916 E.E.F.

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line to let know that I am as usual in the pink, hope you are all the same at home. You’ll notice that I have made another alteration in my address. It happened on the second of this month, so you see things are looking up with the little un. I was at Bedford this time last year as you will remember. It will soon be a year since I left Blighty and you will remember that I was lucky enough to be home a week before I left the country. You won’t believe how glad I have been to be home only a week before leaving. I was at a Welsh Service our Welsh Chaplain was the Preacher. I think that I told you in my last letter to Mailys that his name was Reverend Davies GF. He is from somewhere in Canarvon he has been working in Merthyr  Vale some years ago before he went in for the ministry. He knew Doctor Parry and Moses Roberts of Llangollen. He wrote —– part in his biography. He gave me the job of being a sort of shop walker giving out hymn books as the boys came in. I have received a letter from you dated May 16th. I think this letter has come very quick indeed. I was very glad to have it I can tell you it is like a little book full of good news. You state that you have not received the two PCs that I sent you from Wardan, hope you will receive them alright by now. You also wonder at the new change in my handle. Well it’s just my luck. You will notice I have had three rises in about two months. You see that I have been shifted at the double I was only a LCpl for a month, then a corporal for not quite a fortnight. I am now a Lance Sergeant that is two shillings a day including allotment so you see that my pay instead of only being 6d is now 1&6. Not a bad addition.  I will be entitled to proficiency pay on the 15th of October having completed over two years of service that will be three pence So you see that I will have a bit of money to come. I am very little in credit on my pay book but hope to have a bit in credit before long. It cost a lot more as a Sgt to live because of the better grub we buy, and you have to pay very dear for things out here. Something costing 6 ½ d, at home would cost six half piastra (2 ½) out here. I bought a tin of salmon this morning well that costs five piastres. Count out how much that is. You say the YPM are doing well and that Mailys is getting quite a brainy sort of person. Tell her it does not do to worry over anything out here it is too hot to think even. I hope that your work will be successful as I know that your heart is in your work and when a man’s heart is in his work he is bond to succeed. I will do as you ask although I have always done it since I have left home. Well I must draw to a close now. Hope Mam’s influenza is better right now. What is the Daylight saving Bill you have in England now? Let me know something about it. Well so long now.  With best love and best wishes to all.

I am your loving Son

Goronwy

 

Just received another letter from you

Comment

American inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” to the editor of The Journal of Paris in 1784. In the essay, he suggested, although jokingly, that Parisians could economize candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light instead. In 1895, New Zealand scientist George Vernon Hudson presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society, proposing a two-hour shift forward in October and a two-hour shift back in March. There was interest in the idea, but it was never followed through. In 1905, independently from Hudson, British builder William Willett suggested setting the clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and switching them back by the same amount on each of the four Sundays in September, a total of eight time switches per year. Willett’s Daylight Saving plan caught the attention of Member of Parliament, Robert Pearce, who introduced a bill to the House of Commons in February 1908. The first Daylight Saving Bill was drafted in 1909, presented to Parliament several times and examined by a select committee. However, the idea was opposed by many, especially farmers, so the bill was never made into a law. Willett died in 1915, the year before the United Kingdom started using DST in May 1916.

 

June 1st 1916

Cpl GC Roberts 3144
C. Coy 1/5th Welsh Regt
159th Brigade 53rd Division
June 1st, 1916 E.E.F.

Dear Dad and Mam

I am writing this to you at last I have not written to you for nearly week a week I am sorry but you will have to excuse me this time, will not let happen again. I have been very busy, I received a letter from you two days ago. It was dated May 2nd. It has been delayed a bit, the boat the mail was to come on ran aground before she reached where we are. I was very glad to receive it and to hear that you are all well at home. I also received the handkerchief that you sent. I received a Monmouth Guardian and a small parcel from Mr DD ____ please let them know I have received it. I also had a letter from Nain Jones so you see I was in luck this time. I am going to write to them both this week. You say that I have not let you know whether I received the parcel that you sent me on April 5th. I have written long ago to tell you that I received it and had enjoyed the cake better than I had enjoyed any cake before in my natural, it was great. Was very sorry to hear that Leo Parry has been wounded, hope it is not bad. Hard lines on him after coming through what he did on the Peninsula, going to Mesopotamia to be put and of action. Glad to hear that Roger Williams is better. Glad to hear that the Concert in aid of the local relief fund was a success, hope your grand concert will score quite as good a success. The fame of the Apollo Party has not reached us although they hail from Bargoed. I read the MG, but did not notice anything much in it. I see that Mr Coxon is leaving Rhymney. Good riddance to him he was nuisance to me in the shop, he used to think he knew all about the shop, but he knew nought. The MG are studying economy very much at least they have made the paper very much smaller. Glad to hear that you had such successful series of annual meetings. Hope to be home by the next annual meeting and the war over by then. I don’t dislike soldiering in the least life in the open is great, but I have had enough of foreign countries. There is no place like dear old Wales. A man does not realize, how dear his country is to him until he leaves it. It will be a great change when I see the green fields once again instead of bare sand for everlasting. Well so long to you all for the present. Hope that you are all well. I am in the pink, going to be inoculated tomorrow. With best love to you all.

I am
your loving Son
Goronwy

 

Comment

The Monmouth and Bargoed and Caerphilly Observer was the local newspaper read in GCR’s home town of Abertysswg nr Rhymney.  The reference to the Apollo Party is to a concert given in Abertysswg by the Apollo Glee Singers. In which case the edition of the MG that GCR refers to is from May 19th 1916.

 

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