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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

August 2016

August 18th 1916 Suez Canal Zone

Sgt. GC Roberts 3144

C Coy 1/5th Welsh Regt

159th Brigade 53rd Division

E.E.F.

Aug 18, 1916

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line to let you know that I am as usual in the pink, hope you are all in this condition at home. Now for some good news, I received the parcel you sent for Auntie Annie three days ago and by now the cake has absolutely vanished to the last currant and crumb my word it was a treat. It went down without touching the sides. It was in very good condition. I have already written to Auntie Annie to thank her for it and hope she has received it before you get this. I gave Lew Morgan a good bang at it and all in the tent and various friends also did their duty to it so you see everything had a go so I did not have much left for myself but I could not think of eating it all myself or I might have been in Hospital or on the way home to Blighty. I did not give any to our captain. You may be surprised to hear that Mr Rutherford from Rhymney is Capt. of my company now. He has been with us for a month or so now he is alright.  I have told you before that I am soldiering now as the CQMS who went home on furlong has come back he was in England for a month.  I am now down on the Suez, it is very hot here.  I expect we will renew our friendship with our old chums of Gallipoli.  I don’t mind at all it will liven things up. I don’t mind bullets but hang the shells. They stop you for good if they meet you.  So you need not worry on my account, somehow or other I feel I shall come home alright someday and in the pink at that.  We have heard out here that Austria “has chucked up the sponge” is that correct. Mr. Davies did not give a lecture on Billy Bray after all but he gave us one on wit and humour and laugher.  You would have bust yourself with laughing he was very humorous indeed and we all spent a most enjoyable evening. Could you send me a bit of soap out?  I would be much obliged to you.  I intend to buy a nice present for you before I leave Egypt.  So roll round pay day.  How is Mailys getting on also Dyfan did they pass their exams let me know.  You will have to excuse my writing this ……. because I want to finish this letter in the time for the orderly Cpl to post it. These envelopes do not get censored so I can express myself in my own way.  The Brigadier General told us that we were the smartest battalion in the 159 Brigade.  And the divisional GOC told us that he was very satisfied with us and that we had reached the standard which he wanted us to reach so you can guess what that means.  He said that all ranks must have worked hard and willingly to reach this end.  Well how is John and Maggie getting on let me know hope everything is alright.  And for goodness sake tell them to put a decent label on the baby and not a jaw breaking nerve shaking name because the poor youngster will have to wear it and not them.   Hope I have not mentioned this too soon.  And tell grandmother to see that the child is brought up and not spoiled until I come home then I will teach him to slope arms, order arms and show him the ropes generally that is if he is a boy and if he is a girl I will have to leave him to Mailys.  Well I have got no more to say just now, I hope you are all as well as I am then you can’t grumble with best love and best wishes to all.

I am your loving son Goronway.

xxxx

For Mam Mailys and Maggie & the baby.

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August 7th 1916

Sgt. GC Roberts 3144
C. Coy 1/5th Welsh Regt
159th Brigade 53rd Division
E.E.F.
Aug 7, 1916

Dear Dad and Mam

It gives me great pleasure to be able to tell you that I received two letters from you and one from Auntie Annie. One from Mam dated July 23 and one from Dad dated July 26 so you see that they have arrived in wonderfully good time. Yesterday I received a parcel from Uncle Messach containing cake and health salt. The later was most acceptable but I am sorry to say that the cake had gone mouldy. It was sent June 7 so you see it has been a fearfully long time on the way. Very glad to hear that you are all in good heath at home. Auntie Annie told me dad had a cold, hope it is better by now. I am sorry to say that I have not received the parcel sent by Mag and Jon yet, hope it will turn up one of these days. I went down to the town we are near to now yesterday and spent the afternoon there. Was in the YMCA for tea but did not have any opportunity to speak to any of the secretaries, there is an English lady there. I am at the place where George Parry was leaving after leaving Lemnos. I am very pleased to hear that there are no conscripts attached to our family as I thought there was, glad to know there are good hearts left. Sorry that Hughie Cooper was not able to come home after all, hard times after expecting to come. The mention I made in my letter about a commission, I am sorry to say it is all a washout no one is to go after all and I am afraid my education is not good enough, they wanted to know if I had passed the Matriculation Exam so I am afraid I will have to leave it at that. Very sorry to hear of the death of Eddie Williams in France, hard lines on his people I am sure please give them my deepest sympathy when you write. My word fancy Mam being a grandmother well she will not half be swanking now but tell her that Auntie Annie has walked her after all by a couple of years. Glad to hear that your Eisteddfod was a success. What did Dyfan want to lose for he is getting slack or did he meet a better man than himself. I told you in one of my previous letters that our Eisteddfod was a great success. Our Regt Choir won the prize for Comrades in Arms, but the other Regts have some beautiful swingers.

Further pages missing

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July 31-Aug4 1916: On the move.

Sgt. GC Roberts 3144

C Coy 1/5th Welsh Regt

159th Brigade 53rd Division

E.E.F.

July 31st, 1916 Aug 4, 1916

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line to let you know that I am as usual in the pink, hope you can all say the same. I have got a little time now so I am trying to find something to tell you, but am very much hard up for news. Of course we should like to say quite a lot, but it can’t be did. Our armored cars went out last week and cooperated with the Italians and both went and had a smack at the Sunessi (Senussi), our causalities were only three wounded not bad do you think so. I wish this was all over am about fed up with it but don’t worry much for it does not do anybody any good to worry over things. It will all come out in the washing. I wrote to you a few weeks ago concerning Pat Pedlington, who used to work for Jacobs the Printer you have not let me hear weather you have received that letter or not please do so as soon as you have received it. How did Mailys and Dyfan get on with their exams, hope they did well, let me know the result. How did Jon and Mag enjoy their holidays at Aberystwyth they did not write to me from there, pretty rotten on their part, they could have dropped a chap a line but never mind I will put them through the mill for this when I come home. I will be big enough to eat Jon then. I think I can wack him now, he is only a little pimp. Well how is Mam getting, has she been for any holidays yet, if not she ought to go for a change to buch herself up and dad should go with her. When I come home, I hope we will all be able to go for a good fortnights holiday. I will have a bit of money to come then I hope between the blood money and bounty which I expect ought to be a pretty decent one. I have not got much more to say just now. Will conclude for the time being.

Aug 4

Now for another start and I am writing this from another place have had another move and we will dealing with our dear old friends we came to deal with twelve months ago. You know how they are and what was the consequences to little me hope I shall be as lucky this trip. I have also to tell you that I have finished being CQMS of C Coy from today as I told you when I took the job on it was only while the other chap was home on furlong and he returned to us today, but I am still Lance Sergeant, and will retain my rank. So you see I have not done so badly after all, I was very lucky to get the job temp. Was at a service last Sunday night given by Rev AW Davies it was a voluntary service and the mess hall was crammed full, must be about four hundred present. We had a fine service and the boys were singing for all they were worth. They all like Mr Davies but are fed up with the C of E Chaplain he is a dry old stick.

(Missing Pages)

Comment

The move referred to was to the Suez Canal Zone (the dear old friends are, of course the Turks). This may have been at short notice as a result of the Ottoman and German attck on the Canal Zone at Romani. The Battle of Romani which raged between 3-5 August 1916 was a clear victory for British Empire forces and was the last attempt by the Turks on the Canal.

 

 

July 28 1916, North West Egypt

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Sgt GC Roberts 3144

C Coy 1/5th Bn Welsh Regt

159 Brigade 53 Division

July 28 1916 EEF

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line to let you know that I am in the pink hope you are all the same. You must excuse this scribble as I am writing this all of a hurry skurry as the mail is going out at 2-30, it is now twelve and the letter has to be censored. I received a letter from Auntie Annie last mail but did not get one from you more luck next time I hope. I am very busy these days with one thing and another will have time to write you a decent letter in a day or two. I have not received the parcel that Jon sent me on June 21 but am expecting it every mail. We are having very hot weather but will get it hotter later on. I must congratulate Mailys on her success in the Sunday School Exam, she is getting quite a fagger, tell her to mind she does not get grey headed with studying and a very bad thing indeed it is for me. How is Dyfan getting on? Hope he is alright. I am going to write to Auntie later. How is Jon and Mag getting on hope they are in the best of health. Lewis Morgan in the best of health tell his mother so. I must close now with the best of good wishes and love to you all.

I am

Your loving Son

Goronwy

 

July 24 1916 North West Egypt

2424a24b24cSgt GC Roberts 3144

C Coy 1/5th Bn Welsh Regt

159 Brigade 53 Division

July 24 1916 EEF

Dear Dad and Mam

It gives me great pleasure to be able to tell you that I have received your letter dated July 6 and also the SWWN so you see that I am very fortunate in receiving your letters and receiving them in very good time at that. I am like you state in your letter absolutely devoid of news so you must not expect a great deal to start with. You say that I figure myself out to be a full seargent well I am still a lance seargent but am still Coy Master Sgt and it is the way we put it down so you understand now what it is. I was very pleased with the pc s you enclosed they are enough to make a donkey laugh, but of course I don’t mean to say that I am a donkey or anything like one even if I did laugh. Hope Jon and Mag are enjoying their holidays. I must say that they are not patriotic or else they would economize in wartime and not go for holidays but I must excuse them because I hear strange rumors from 3 Arthur St. I expect by when you receive this letter you will have had the Annual Sunday School treat well I hope it has proved a great success as I am sure it would if it is not raining. I can remember having a good game of kiss in the ring on that day two years ago it seems a mighty long time ago don’t you think so but I sincerely hope to be home for the next one. You may be surprised to hear that Mr Rutherford of Rhymney is in command of my Coy now as our old Capt has been sent to hospital. I see by your letter that the Coop is getting quite enterprizing and waking up to a bit of business, they want to wake up quite a lot and I see that it was you who recommended them to use motor lorries. I have no more to say now so long with best love and best wishes.

From

Your loving Son

Goronwy

 

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