In the Field
Oct 31st 1916
Dear Dad and Mam
Just a line again to let you know that I am as per usual in the pink hope you are all the same at home. I am writing this on guard to while away a bit of the time, I have no news to tell you I have not had a letter for about 8 days from you but expect some by this next mail also the parcel. I hope you have received the photos I sent you from Alexandria before now let me know as soon as you get them and of course what you think of them. I have a book of views of Alexandria which I will send on to you later. Let me know when you get the snaps I sent you about a fortnight ago. Well I hardly know what to put down here to fill up the paper. I was on Church Parade yesterday morning and the chaplain preached very well but he can’t come up to Mr Davies, by the way we are expecting back in a week or so. The present chaplain does not take (?) like Mr Davies. I don’t think I told you this little bit. We had a C of E chaplain with us beside Mr Davies but he could not make any shap (?) on things. At Solum he ran a bit of a canteen and coffee stall and on Sunday he would preach to the men about doing him down of piastres in his canteen. The consequence was that many more men of the battalion turned nonconformist and went to Mr Davies parade and attended his lectures so Mr Davies became very popular and the C of E chap has left us and the excuse he gave was that a Welchman was wanted with us. How are things going in Ainon, hope things are prospering although these are trying times. I may tell you honestly (I) am pretty fed up with the desert, ten months out on the desert is no joke it’s awfully monotonous. I would volunteer to go to France if I had a chance because there is plenty of chance to get home from there. I would risk the bullets and shells, a man does not go under before his time and when the time comes he can’t prevent it. I firmly believe this. But if you can get some cause so that I can get compassionate leave. I would be very glad, although I should like to see you all again very much I don’t make myself miserable over it for that would be one of the worst things I could do. I don’t intend to be miserable. How is Maggie getting on also my nephew John hope both are progressing favourably I forgot to tell you that I have had a gold stripe or braid served out to me and have to wear it. The names of all who were entitled to wear it appeared in battalion orders. I think gold braids are all a farce, what are the distinctions of men who have served a long time and been sick of frostbitten. Lewis Morgan had two letters from home last week the first two for about 12 weeks his address is the same as mine C Coy 1/5th Batt Welch Regt EEF he is in good health, it was I put him on the Lewis Gun section a bit easyer than working with the company. Hope Mailys and Dyfan are in good health I am as usual in the best of condition (Pinky). Well I must wind up now with best love and best wishes to you all, so long.
Your loving Son
Sgt GC Roberts xxxxxx Square them out between you all
Best love and wishes to Nain Jones hope she is enjoying herself
Rev J Roberts
GCR is referring to the “Wound Stripe” that was introduced by order of the King in 1916.
The following is from
“The stripe was first authorised under Army Order 204 of 6 July 1916:
“The following distinctions in dress will be worn on the service dress jacket by all officers and soldiers who have been wounded in any of the campaigns since 4th August, 1914:-
Strips of gold Russia braid, No.1, two inches in length, sewn perpendicularly on the left sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion on which wounded. In the case of officers, the lower end of the first strip of gold braid will be immediately above the upper point of the flap on cuff. Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men will wear the gold braid on the left sleeve, the lower edge of the braid to be three inches from the bottom of the sleeve. The additional strips of gold braid, marking each subsequent occasion on which wounded, will be placed on either side of the original one at half-inch interval. Gold braid and sewings will be obtained free on indent from the Army Ordnance Department; the sewing on will be carried out regimentally without expense to the public.
But how did a man qualify?
The Army Order was followed by Army Council Instruction No. 1637 of 22 August 1916 …
“…. it is notified for information, that the term ‘wounded’ refers only to those officers and soldiers whose names have appeared, or may hereafter appear, in the Casualty Lists as ‘wounded’. The braid will be supplied to officers and soldiers under regimental arrangements, and Commanding Officers will ensure that it is not worn by those who are not entitled to it. Sufficient for two jackets will be supplied to each man.”
… and was refined by Army Council Instruction No. 2075 of 3 November 1916:
“1. The term ‘wounded’ refers only to those officers and soldiers whose names have appeared or may hereafter appear in casualty lists rendered by the Adjutant General’s office at a base overseas, or by the G.O.C. any force engaged in active operations. Reports in hospital lists are not to be regarded as authoritative for this purpose.
2. Officers and men reported ‘wounded – gas,’ or ‘Wounded – shock, shell,’ are entitled to the distinction.
Accidental or self-inflicted wounds or injuries do not qualify.” ”