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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

February 2017

February 25th 1917

In the Field

Feb 25th 1917

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line again to let you know how things are am very pleased to tell you that I am still in the pink hope you all at home are the same. The old caravan has been on the move again and I have not been able to write you sooner. We are now in a country where it reminds me of Blighty on the one hand and the old old desert on the other. On one side there is a long plain and as far as can be seen is all green grass with daisies dandelions and even a few violets and cowslips. On the left is the desert with nothing but a great patch of yellow sand absolutely bare of any vegetation. I can tell you it’s a treat to see some grass or green once again. its surprising how you get two extremes like this together. I have never seen anything like it before but I should like to loose sight of the desert all the same. I wrote to you a week today hope you have had it before now. I have also written to Dyfan and Uncle Messach please enquire if he has had it. I am getting fed up with the monotony of this game and shall not be sorry to get back to civil life once more. I am like Moses and the children of Israel looking for the promised land things are getting a little more interesting now but the monotony has been rotten. There will be a mail in tomorrow when I hope to get a word from you again. I can tell you that I am very thankful for any letter I get from you it’s the only thing we have to look forward to and whenever there is a mail in I am like an eagle on the lookout for a letter I expect that my letters are equally welcome to you for it’s the only line of communication between us now. Well don’t think I am down in the dumps although I don’t feel very lively today somehow. Roll on the end of the war and then all’s well that ends well. Well I must wind up now hoping you are in good health. I wrote to Jon last week hope he has had it by now. Best love and best wishes to you all.

I am

Your affectionate Son

Goronwy

Lewis Morgan is in good health, wishes to be remembered to you. My address is still Sergt GC Roberts 3144 C Coy 1/5th Batt Welsh Regt E.E.F

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Feb 17 1917

In the Field

Feb 17 1917

Dear Dad and Mam

I am in luck again for I received a letter from you yesterday evening dated Jan 23 so you see this has come in fairly good time was very pleased indeed to get it. It was a fine letter indeed and I honestly believe that I get longer and more interesting letters than anyone I know. Was very pleased to hear that you are all enjoying that great thing”good Health” and am also pleased to be able to tell you that I also enjoy the same blessing. You will be wondering what is the matter with my writing well I have just come off a night outpost and my hands are still cramped so you see its very cold here at night. I can stand the heat till further orders but I can’t bear the cold now at all. I don’t know how things will be when I get back home again hope I will get used to it again. Thanks very much for the program of work of the mission by that you will have your work cut out for you for some time to come. I again wish you the best success and hope the result will be all and more than you expect. I forgot to mention in my last letter that I had received the B.T. and have read some of it but have not finished it yet. I think the notes on the war are exceedingly good and worth ready and I think the notes contain good news too. Wilson does not seem to be quite the ass I thought he was. Very glad that you have heard that I have received the Xmas parcel you sent me it was as I have said many times before ….. …. You are asking for a list of the parcels I have received well I will give you one.

1 Xmas parcel from you

2 Parcel from Jon who I have written to thank long ago

3 Tin of Biscuits from Wm Francis hope he has had my letter

4 One parcel from Aber Ladies Guid containing a cake, Health Salts, Cigarettes, Chocolate. L Morgan had one the same and another containing clothes.

I have not received a parcel from Uncle Messach but will write him today. You are asking was the private preaching in the YMCA a Roman, a minister or a churchman. Well I must tell you I do not know but I must also say that sectarian quibbles do not count with us out here all denominations are out for the same object and that is to lead men in the right direction and I must say as far as myself is concerned I don’t mind what denomination is holding a service I take advantage of it. I do think that people could be more broad minded about these things they do seem to be getting better for Cons, Meths and Baps are joined together in the army as the United Board, that only leaves out Weslians, C of E and RCs so things are getting better. I don’t know what your opinion is on the subject hope you will let me know. You state in your letter that you have had an illustration in one of my letters which seems to have been of use to you seeing that you have made about 1/3 of a sermon over it. Well very glad it was of use but I do hope you do not mention my name or put anything I write to you in the paper as I don’t like publicity it makes me nervous. We had a bit of sport the other night a horse galloped across the front of one of our sentries who shouted halt three times and then fired but the horse did not stop we all had to stand to over it. In the morning the galloping horse turned out to be a runaway mule which got away in the morning and there was no rider on it. But the mule can shake hands with himself because the sentry who fired was cross eyed, lucky mule. Glad to hear that Glyndwr is getting on alright tell his Nain to give him a kiss for me also give him my love. I received the parcel also letter from Jon after I had wrote the letter you state of and also wrote again to him and apologized for same. I am afraid I jumped to conclusions too quickly then. Give my love to Jon and Mag also Mailys and Dyfan hope they are in the best of health. I must now wind up hoping you are all in the pink. Best love and best wishes to you all.

I am

Your affectionate Son

Goronwy

Comment

Wilson was President Woodrow Wilson of the USA who had been attempting to maintain neutrality and keep his country out of the war. This was becoming more difficult with Germany’s declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare and the interception of a coded message from Germany to Mexico suggesting an alliance by which Germany would assist Mexico in regaining it’s lost states, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. His last attempt to broker a peace deal had collapsed in December 1916.

Feb 11 1917

Dear Dad and Mam

There is a mail going out today so I am hurrying to write to you so that you will get this in good time. We are now properly in the wilds and it will be a bit difficult for me to let you have letters in any regular time but you can depend on me writing as often as I can. We are expecting a mail in today and I am expecting to have a letter to two from you. We have no tents now but just dig a hole in the sand and get down to it like rabbit, last night it rained and you can guess what sort of a time we had. Well I have not got any real news this time I wrote a long letter to you a couple of days ago hope you will have it alright. I have not been able to go to a service for a month or so have either been orderly sergt or we have been on the march and today we have been digging wells hope to get a service tonight. Lewis Morgan is in good health let his people know. I am as per usual in the pink and hope you can say the same. What made you think I was coming home. I wish it was right but I am afraid it won’t come off till this war is over and the sooner the better. Never mind Mam we will have a happy time when we are all home together again at least I hope so. You mentioned in the last letter if I remember reading In the Wilds of Africa, yes I do  and I had an exciting experience yesterday. I was going to put on my shorts  in the morning and when I was going to put them on I found a big centipede in them what do you think of that for an adventure. I also saw a scorpion yesterday and a funny thing it is like a crab only it has a long sting. Mr A W Davies is still with us he marched up with us I don’t think he would like to leave us now. Well I must wind up now hope Dyfan and Mailys Jon and Mag and my nephew are alright give them all my love. Well so long hoping this will find you in the pink. With best love and best wishes to you all.

I am

Your affectionate Son

Goronwy

Feb 7 1917

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line again to let you know how things are well I am feeling fine hope you can all say the same. I wrote a short note to you yesterday but am writing again today have a little more time. Well there is a mail expected in today and I am now anxiously waiting to see if there is a letter from you for me I think I will finish this letter after the mail has been called. Hope everything is going on alright at Abertysswg everything in Asia Minor is alright the place I am at is not a large town but it’s by the sea and I enjoy a bathe every day so you see that is a great boon to us we are not allowed in the town whatsoever but it’s only a collecting of mud houses and a mosque. By the news we get America is on the borders of war well it’s time she came in she must have a very very thick skin to stand all the cheek Germany has given her. I don’t think this war will last much longer I don’t see how it can well the sooner it is over the better and then I hope to come home and have a happy time for as long as you will have me home. There is one thing the army does and that is to appreciate his home a great deal more and to know when he is well off and when he is not. Mind I am not grumbling or down in the dumps I always believe in making the best of everything no matter what the circumstances are and I can say that I have succeeded so far. My name has been sent in to go for a course in anti gas methods and if successful to become an instructor in them but I don’t think anything will become of it although I would like to go. Tell Dyfan that I have wished many a time I had paid more attention to my lessons in school and had a better education because I have missed a few good chances through it. If I had got a good knowledge of chemistry I would have got this job without a doubt but as it is I know nothing about chemistry so I think it’s hopeless me getting this job, good education  counts for a lot even in the army and it’s no good for a chap to be a dud if he wants to get on anywhere. Have you had the letter in which I gave you the result of my course in …… (?) you can see by that how things are. That was the hardest three weeks studying I have ever done and you will notice how the marks increased in the end had 95 in the final written exam. Well hope Dyfan and Mailys are doing well in school and keep and keep on doing so by the way what is Dyfan going in for I expect he has thought of something by now let me know would like to know very much. How are the brave plucky chaps who can shout “join the army” doing in their business picture framing I mean W Bebe and Howard Hughes hope I won’t be so weak minded in future as to listen to men of that sort, but think and act for myself that is another thing the army does for a chap if he does not he will very soon go to pieces. Well I hope you are having better weather now we are getting quite good weather now but it’s very cold in the early morning and night. Jonny has not been over today strafing us with his little fireworks he gets a warm time when he pokes his dirty nose here. Well I am going to have a half time now like Mailys and going to wait to see what the mail brings forth. HALF TIME

My address is still the same and I remain Sergt GC Roberts 3144 C Coy 1/5th Welch Regt EEF.

“Hurrah” I have waited for the mail and had an envelope  addressed to me containing a nice decent respectable letter from Mailys and a nice but very short letter from Dyfan. Thanks very much for both, I feel quite worried to find that you have not had a letter from me for about three weeks I don’t know what to think of it I have always written as often as I can and never delaid as long as that no matter what has been on and I can’t understand what makes Mam think I was coming home I will give you plenty of warning when to expect me but I am afraid it will not be for sometime perhaps duration so mind you don’t let anybody know when I am coming for I want to come quiet. Very sorry to hear of the fire at Hengoed. Mailys gave me quite a start when I heard the first part I thought something dreadful had happened. Sorry that Dyfan does not know how to keep his buttons clean after being in the service all this time. Tell him some pinko, a hard brush and elbow grease will bring them very nice and bright and he can get a button stick for 6d anywhere. Well we are moving again tomorrow don’t know where to. Well I must now wind up. Hope you are all in the best of health I am feeling pinky as per usual. Well so long best love and best wishes to you all.

I am Your affectionate Son

Goronwy

February 4th 1917. El Arish, Sinai

In the Field

Feb 4 1917

Dear Dad and Mam

Just a line to let you know that I am in the pink hoping you are all the same. You maybe a bit anxious at not having a letter from me for some days but it could not be helped. We have been on six days march since the last three I told you of in my last and I can tell you it was a stiff one. We are now at the place we have been after for some time and we get some excitement fairly often still it’s no so bad have had much worse before. We have now marched something like 160 miles across the desert so you see we have had something to do, hope we won’t have to march it back. I had a letter from Ethel Burgess the other day but have not received one from you since I had the one from Mam and Mailys. You will have to excuse this short letter as I am orderly sergt for this week. We were for six days that we did not have a wash were looking like sweeps but when we did have one it was glorious. Well how are you all getting on, hope you are keeping up to the mark keep your spirits up and don’t worry about me I am in a safer place by far than you with them Zepps flying about. How is Jon and Mag and my nephew hope they are getting on alright. I think I told you in my last epistle that I had received a tin of biscuits from Will Frances have written to thank them for it ask if they have received it. I have not had the parcel from Uncle Messach yet I think it’s gone West by now. I also had a letter from Nain Jones also two from Auntie Polly have answered them both. Well solong for the time being best love and best wishes to you all.

I am your affectionate Son

Goronwy

mapsinaiwwi

From  – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinai_and_Palestine_Campaign

 

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