In the Field
Jan 2nd 1917
Dear Dad and Mam
I am again writing to you to let you know that I am as per usual in the pinky condition hope you all at home are the same. I wrote in answer to the letter I received from Dad Mailys and Dyfan three days ago you may have had it before you get this or the same time. The first thing I must do now is to wish you all a VERY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR although I have done so before this I am doing it again. New years day was nothing like the new year we used to get at home it was the same routine ass usual with us. I went to a Welsh service on New Years Eve held by Mr or I should say Capt Rev AW Davies it was a very nice service indeed he is a very eloquent man, and there is not such a popular chaplain in the brigade as him especially with the men. You never told me that you had written in reply to Mr Davies letter, did you do so after. I told you in my last letter that we had a concert on Saturday night and that the Brigadier General had complimented the conductor of our choir on the fine singing. I don’t happen to be in the choir myself not being able to sing over well. We had a rumour here today that Austria had chucked in the towel which is very welcome if it is true. I don’t believe it myself only it shows you how rumours get about. How is Glyndwr getting on I have not had a word concerning him from Jon it strikes me he will be walking before I see him now he is already getting on in months. Just tell Jon I want a letter from him at the double or I will see he gets a bit of pack drill or some field punishment which includes digging for him to do. Now for a bit more while I remember I must wish Mailys MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAYAND MANY OF THEM. I wish I was somewhere I could get her a present of some sort, but will send something first opportunity. I was looking at a copy of the Daily Mirror just now and saw a photo of a crowd of non-combatants or Won’t Fights. I was surprised to see that they nearly all looked big smart chaps. They must be a lot of cowards or had a touch of sunstroke because their consciences must be in a funny condition. I also saw that the landladies they were to be billeted with objected “Bravo Landladies”. We have had a lot of rain for the last few days more that I remember having since we have been from Gallipoli, it does not rain without it pours here not of your drizzle about it. Got washed out of my blankets one night I wont say bed to you although I call it bed here and a great bed it is consisting of a waterproof sheet and 2 blankets, but if two sleep together its alright I sleep like a top always and can always do with a wink extra in the morning. I feel in fine fettle indeed if I can always keep up to this mark I will have no reason to grumble. How is Mailys and Dyfan and Jon and Mag and my nephew getting on give them all my love. Hope Mam and Dad are in good health if they are as well as myself they are certainly alright. Well let’s have a little bit about the war. L.G gives it 90 days to go, now he is beginning to talk, well I for one hope he is correct in his surmizing. I don’t see how it can last much longer certainly not another year. With regards to operations out here there is no danger of anything serious happening have got the enemy in under our thumbs. Well I must wind up now with best love and best wishes to you all.
Your loving Son
Have not had the parcels sent Nov 16, 29, have had the one Nov 23.
Please take care of the enclosed letter for me. I think a lot of it, helped me many a time.
LG Lloyd George became Prime Minister after the resignation of Asquith with the nation demanding he conduct the war vigorously. To that end he rejected any chance of a negotiated settlement and decided he needed a significant victory in the field to impress public opinion. He decided that the capture of Jerusalem would do the trick.
The main effort of the EEF in the months before December 1916 was to push a railway and water pipeline into the Sinai to make further operations in the desert possible. In December El Arish and Maghdaba were captured with the use of mounted troops and the Sinai was British Imperial hands by the end of the years. Meanwhile the 53rd Division remained at the Canal Zone. 159th Bde spent Christmas in Romani.
I suspect that the letter that”helped me many a time” may have been the letter sent by GCR’s father Rev John Roberts as GCR left for the Middle East in July 1915. It is the only one in this collection (so far) sent to GCR. It was the second letter included in this Blog.