Search

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

July 2016

July 16th 1916

Sgt GC Roberts 3144

C Coy 1/5th Bn Welsh Regt

159th Brigade 53rd Division

Northwestern Frontier Force

July 16th 1916 Egypt

Dear Dad and Mam

I am writing to you again although I have almost nothing to say but I must let you know that I am alright that is in the pink and to enquire if you are that way inclined. Well you will no doubt remember that last night was a year to the time we left Bedford. Well I must say time has gone very fast don’t you think so and twelve months ago I was home on furlong last well roll on the time when I arrive home on that long furlong to stay. What do you say to that I am I think they should grant us furlong from here but I suppose it is too far to get home. If I was in France I would have a good chance for furlong. I had a letter from Auntie Annie yesterday and I am writing back to her now. I had a postcard with the photo of the whole family now when am I going to have yours you have promised to send it some time ago. It is getting a long time now without seeing your faces even on a photo. I am on outpost now, had my mug taken outside the fort. I also had my mug dragged last week will be able to get one or two of them and will send them on to you, will send the negative on if I can get it so you will be able to get a few taken of that. Mailys and Dyfan must be getting six footers. I am putting on weight broadways but not longways. I expect to be chucking up this job in a few weeks as the other chap is returning from England soon. I will have to start soldiering again but will retain my rank at least I think I will so that will be alright. Dai is still a Cpl by the stripes he has on the photo. I don’t like the look of his missus on the left of the photo I expect you have one. They all look as if they were going to have a serious operation or going to a funeral. I told Auntie so in my letter although I did not say that I would not have Dai’s wife for a missus. How are things going on in Abertysswg let me know all the latest. How is George Parry getting on let me know his present address and I will write to him I have got his regimental address. Has Tom Davies been called up, poor puny chap should be exempt and somebody like Price the Hotel should go. These local Tribunals are up the stick. Lewis Morgan is alright I put him on the Lewis Gun Section, he is going through a course of instruction now he takes plenty of interest in it. He will turn out alright I think. Tell his mother he is in the pink as usual. I must wind up now. Have written to Sam Jones ask him if he has received it. So long now with best love and best wishes to you all

I am

Your loving Son

Goronwy

PS I have received your letter of the June 30 was very pleased to have it and the MG (Mommouth Guardian). This paper is getting no bigger than a sheet of writing paper. My word you are getting quite an authority on tar spraying of Abertysswg streets. I will be on the lookout for the parcel Jon has sent me. Many thanks to Dyfan for his letter. Will answer him again. Congratulations to Mailys on her success. You must have had my letter saying I had received the parcel you sent June 7 and chocolates and …. Have written to thank Mrs Jacob for them. With love from Goronwy

Comment

This must be the postcard to which GCR is referring from Auntie Annie and family

image

 

July 13th 1916

Sgt GC Roberts 3144

C Coy 1/5th Bn Welsh Regt

159th Brigade 53rd Division

Northwestern Frontier force

July 13 1916 Egypt

Dear Dad and mam

Just a line to let you know that I am as usual in the pink hope you are all the same. I received a letter from Sam jones of Rhymney this week and have already written back to him. You have received the letter no doubt in which I stated I had received the cake. I still have memories of that cake. I had a shirt and a pair of socks from Mr Davies the chaplain, he told me to tell you that he is the grandson of John Jones of Dowlais and later of Merthyr and a friend of Dr Parry you may know him by this, he would like to hear from you so write a letter to him his address is Capt Rev AW Davies CF 1/5 Bn Welsh the same as myself. My word it is toasting hot as I am writing this letter, never been so hot for a long time. It is supposed to lighten ones weight in these hot climates but I am doubtful of it. I sweat all the grease out of me but somehow or other I still keep putting on weight. Sam Jones gives me quite a list of people getting married lately. I suppose it is to get out of reach of the Army they do it. Have they had Austin yet hope they have? I like a man but find a coward is not worth bothering with. It’s no use saying that any of us fancy bullets and shells but when it has to be done go with a good heart and not like a frightened rabbit. Well enough of this. How is Abertysswg getting on let me know. Hope it will not be long before we will all be sitting round the table having a respectable bit of grub once more. There seems to be rumours out here that they are going to have a Sulva Day in Cardiff and we are to be there have you heard anything about it. Personally I don’t think there is anything in it but you know the old saying about where there is smoke there is fire. Hope it will prove correct. You stated in your letter that Mr Cooper expected Hughie home on leave from France has he come yet let me know. The commission business I mentioned to you is a washout I don’t believe they think I have money enough to carry a commission in the Artillery because it would mean taking up the Army as a profession. Do you think you could do anything for me in regard to a commission in the infantry for duration of war let me know if you think it wise. I won’t do anything in the matter until I hear from you. Hope Mailys and Dyfan are getting on A1 as I am. I am still Acting Company Quarter Master Sgt and if the old one does not come back will get the job and that means four shillings per day which would be most acceptable and I could do something for you then. I have no more to say just now best love to Jon and Mag hope they are both well. Hope you all are the same. Do you know a chap called Pat Pedlingham who was a printer for Jacobs, Rhymney? Well he belonged to the Hearts of Oak, I told him you were in the same so he told me that he wanted his sister to have the money and not his father and he was going to give me her address and wanted me to ask you to claim it for her. I did not get the address as I was called away at the time. The poor chap was killed, lost his head and got between our machine gun and the Turks and was riddled. I have not mentioned this before because we were not allowed to mention casualties. Can you do anything in this he told me that a member could claim it for his sister. I should have told you that he mentioned this to me just before we landed on Sulva Bay. Let me know about it. Don’t know his sister but perhaps Mr Jacobs could.

With best love and wishes to you all

I am

Your loving Son

Goronwy

 

July 4th 1916

Sgt. GC Roberts 3144

C Coy 1/5th Welsh Regt

159th Brigade 53rd Division

July 4th, 1916   E.E.F.

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line to let you know that I am in the pink hoping you all are the same at home. I have not received a letter from you for about a fortnight but I can’t grumble because I have received my letters very good indeed since I have been back with the battalion. I am now on the lookout for the parcel you said you send me, I will be expecting it every mail now and will let you know at once when I get it. I sent you two letters within a couple of days to each other last week hope you have had them before now. I was at a service at one of our mess huts on Sunday night, Rev AW. Davis was preacher, a nice short sweet service it was, you should hear the boys singing they let it rip for all they were worth. Mr Davis is giving us another humorous lecture on Wednesday night on All sorts(?) and condition of women. We had one on All sorts and condition of men before and it was a big success, all of us enjoyed it. There is a competitive concert to be held here on July 7. Mr Davies is working hard to make the time a bit interesting for the boys. He has a free library and we all like to read the books he has, he has a good selection. You have not let me know whether you know him or not. The C of E Chaplain is a dry old …. and a miserable sort of chap altogether. If you saw the sort of place we are in you would pity us, you can imagine some high steep sand hills and some tents at the bottom and a few wooden huts and you will have an idea what the northwestern frontier is like and you can bet the best sort of entertainment is very welcome. How is Dyfan and Mailys getting on, hope they are well and are doing all right with the Central Welsh Board Exam, hope they will pass alright, hope they are not so Macnoon as I was. Macnoon is arabic, so you see I am learning Arabic not Greek now. How are things getting on at Abertysswg now, let me know. Has Roberts the Co-op joined up yet, you told me he had received Lord Derby’s letter. Has Austin been called up yet, what regiment is he in the poor child. Emrys should go as well but I suppose he is a conscientious objector to military service. I saw a good cartoon of the noncombatant corps or conscientious objectors; it was a cartoon of the first casualty of the gallant corps. The poor fellow had been digging he had accidentally sh..d a worm in half and the shock had been too great for the poor chap’s nerves. What do you think of it. We hear out here the offensive has been taken by us in France and that we have taken the German first line of trenches. The captain of my Coy recommended my name for a commission in the artillery but it went in to late. Well I have no more to say just now hope to hear from you soon. so long for the present. With best live and best wishes to you all.

I am

Your loving son

Goronwy

 

Comments

The offensive to which GCR refers would have been the Battle of the Somme

June 24th 1916

Sgt. GC Roberts 314

C Coy 1/5th Welsh Regt

159th Brigade 53rd Division

June 24th, 1916   E.E.F.

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line to let you know that I am still in the pink of condition, hope you all at home are the same. I am writing this because there is a boat in and I want to catch this mail so that you will be able to have this one in fairly good time. I hope you are receiving my letters alright because it is not often when we have boat coming in and we have to have our letters ready to go by her. This is a very good boat this time, she has a large mail on board so I am hoping to have a few letters. We are at present doing outpost duty not much of a job but plenty of writing for me. I told you in my last letter that I received a letter from Jon and I have also answered it. Ask him if he has received it. How long does it take for my letters to reach you? Let me know. I have not got any news to tell you this time. Nothing much has happened so you can’t get any news. Do you know our Chaplain, Rev. Capt. Davis CF? Don’t remember his initials. Lewis Morgan is here and is in good health, tell his mother so. I wrote to her in answer to the letter she sent me. I have also written to Mr Whitney, ask him has he received it. He received the letter (containing) a few views of Alexandria I sent him. I enclosed him an ornament the natives wear slung to a string of beads. They make this fake themselves out of tin. Do you know if Mr Evans has received a letter from me, let me know if he has received it. I don’t think much of his manners he could have the civility of a nat (?) but I don’t think he has by the look of things. How does the sun cheating bill act, how do people like to get up an hour earlier in the morning, it does not effect us out here? Has Arthur West gone back yet do you think that he will come out here again? I was very sorry to hear Geo Parry had been so badly wounded but still you must take your chance in war, hope he will soon be over it. Well I have not got any more to say just now, give my best love to Jon and Mag. How is Mailys and Dyfan doing in school, have they passed out yet in the terminals, I suppose Mailys and Dyfan are getting like the side of the house now, should like to see you all. When am I going to have that photo? Well so long for now with best love and best wishes to you all.

I am your loving son

Goronwy

Just received letters from Mam June 4 and one big long letter from Mailys, I’m on the lookout for parcel.

June 24th 1916

Sgt GC Roberts 3144
C. Coy 1/5th Welsh Regt
159th Brigade 53rd Division
June 24th, 1916 E.E.F.

Dear Mam and Mailys

I must first give you an explanation of this writing paper. Well this is the only one available now, I have tried at the canteen and they have none there and the boys are also hard up for paper so you see this has got to come back to you, I have no need to tell you how very glad I was to have a very long letter from Mailys, and also the short but very sweet one from Mam. Mind I don’t mean to say that Mailys’ letter was not sweet, it was great like a sixpenny novel in fact. My word she can’t half bounce about her teaching and preaching. She had better not lecture me much for even if I am use to obeying orders it is a soldiers right to grumble so tell her to look out. I am afraid I must remind her that I have got a handle to my name and tell her to use it even if she is Miss Roberts, I am Sgt Roberts at your service. I am glad to hear that Y Peoples Social was a success, you say there was only a few dozen of them there. Well I bet I can name a few of your young people, Benj Evans, Mr Williams’ widow, and MJ Evans and a few more like this, all of them under 64 and over 60. Well I may tell you that that…. in Rhymmny want their eyes and brains seen too, fancy exempting a big bloke like Price and sending a little rat of a chap like Tom Davies. Bless their little hearts, I would send the bloming lot of them if I had my way. Is Austin and Emrys exempt from the army, if so its a rotten same when there are married men with families serving for the likes of them chicken hearted people as I have said before they have not got the guts of a rabbit between the two of them. I also had a letter from Auntie Polly, she tells me you have not written to her for months, how is that. She seems to think that this war will be over in August. Hope she will be right, but I am afraid it will be all over Belgium right enough. You want to know am I safe here, yes as safe as houses, you need not worry on that point. You must excuse writing, am in a hurry to get this finished, it is twilight and about 8:15….. time. Glad to hear that Mailys and Dyfan are getting so big, I see that I will have to grow a bit more or they will put me in the shade. I will be on the alert of the parcel that you are sending. I wrote to thank Mr Davies, the shop, for the small parcel he sent me although it was no use to me, some sort of…. and there was milk in the paper…. and these had melted. Glad you have received my PC at last. While I must wish you all goodnight, hope you are all in the best of help, I am in the pink. With best love and wishes to all.

Goronwy

Divide them between you.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: