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


February 2018

Feb 26th 1918 In the Field

Feb 23rd 1918 In the Field

Feb 8th/10th In the Field

Dear Dad and Mam

Here I am again writing to let you know that I am as per usual in the pink and still going strong hope you all at home are the same. We are having awful weather these last few days raining torrents and hail stones and cold worse weather than we get in Blighty but i am as usual thankful for small mercies because I have got some sort of a cave to live in so it’s no so very bad in fact it could be very much worse. The Turks are driving the natives out of their villages on their side in this weather to get in themselves i suppose. I found two old women dead on the side of the road dropped from exhaustion. I reported it and got them brought in. It was horrible to see them, if this is war it’s time it finished. These may have been somebody’s mothers and just fancy dead worse than the dogs. It makes me hate Turks more and more. We get on very well with the natives ourselves the only thing is that they charge awful prices for their oranges and figs.

Feb 10th

Was not able to finish this letter when I started as it was raining too bad for anything. Since i started this letter I have received three letters from you one from Dad dated Jan 4 and two from Mailys and Dyfan dated Jan 6 and Jan 1st I was very glad indeed to get them. Dad’s letter was great just like his old letters used to be that’s the style Dad give it plenty more. Very glad indeed to understand you had such a good Xmas under the circumstances. By the description Dad gave me of it I actually fancied myself there. I have described my own Xmas to you a couple of times in previous letters so I will not do so in this as it’s not very pleasant to recall it. Very glad to know that Mr Evans was so very generous this year again he is a real good sort. May he live to be a thousand. I guess the solitary plum pudding you had was feeling rather lonely but I can assure you it’s worse not to have one at all. We have had no plum pudding this year but of course it can’t be helped for I suppose it is counted as a luxury so we must do without it. I don’t grumble because we have had very good tommy on the whole. We get cheese issued nearly every day and butter about twice a week, jam very day 3oz not so bad you know. We can buy plenty of the real oranges from Jaffa and they are good I would send you some in a green envelope only Mr Censor might eat them so it’s not worth risking. Very glad to hear that Glyndwr enjoyed his Xmas dinner hope he did not eat too much. Sorry to hear that Dyfan had a gum boil and had to watch other people devour the good things instead of him. Hard lines old son. Glad he made up for lost time. The weather still keeps very bad never saw such rain in my life as we have had for the last five days simply pouring down. I am very glad to hear that you are all in such good health at home I am as per usual in the pink and feeling A1. I met B Fry two days ago when I went to the 2nd Welsh F.A. (Field ambulance) to be inoculated foe cholera. He has been in Jerusalem for some weeks his lot were running Lord Rothchild’s hospital there he wishes too be remembered to you all. I have not seen the batt for a few weeks so i don’t know if Lew is back yet or Tudor Dodd. I am going up to the line again in a couple of days I may be able to see them up there. I am thankful to say that i have been protected from danger of all kinds and i am sure that the prayers of those at home have a lot to do with it. God has been very good indeed. I could tell you a good many instances in which I have escaped harm and am very thankful for it. The day I had my MM was a special day for me. I will let you know details when I come home. I sincerely hope peace will come soon and all the world will be at rest once more. I thank you all for your good wishes for the New Year. I must also wish Mailys may happy returns of the day although it is gone better late than never. My word she will be an old maid soon. well I have no more to say just now. Hope you are all in the best of health. Best love and best wishes to you all.

I am, Your Affectionate Son


Feb 6th 1918 In the Field

Dear Dad and Mam

I am very glad to tell you that I came down from the line for a few days rest last night and I am still more to find three letters awaiting me when I got there. Two from home and one from Nain Jones. The letters from you were dated Dec (13th, 9th) and Dec 23rd. I am very thankful yo you and Mailys and Dyfan for writing to me so often, but of course the more the merrier. I am also very pleased to know that you are all in good health, I am as per usual bar a slight attack at times, but a few doses of Dad’s favourite (quinine) will soon put that right. I hope you enjoyed your Xmas dinner as per usual I did not because I had to play an awful game of coddum with myself. Sorry to hear of the absence of mince pies etc. We have not had any plum pudding out here this time I see they had it in France, but as we get plenty of decent footy I don’t mind. Sorry to hear that Mr George Rees has passed away. I should have liked to have been with you this Xmas but it can’t be helped i suppose I live in hopes of being home long before next Xmas rolls round. You say that you hope peace would come soon so do I too but it will come before long never fear the sooner the better. I guess it’s all for the best and when it’s all over it will be a great lesson to a good many like myself to value what is good and right and use a bit of common sense. I hope too that God will spare us all to meet again and I believe he will as you say I have been protected in danger in a marvelous way many times and if it be His will everything will come right in the end. I am glad to hear that Glyndwr is progressing in such a wonderful way each letter brings glowing reports of him from Mailys and Dyfan. I have not had a letter from Jon for a long time about last Nov if i remember rightly. I wrote to him a short time ago hope he has received it before now. I write to you as often as possible the last I wrote was on Feb 2nd. Hope you still continue to get my letters alright. It seems that there is a lot of bother about the sugar and tea queues hope you don’t have such trouble in the Co-op. I see in the paper that there is a strike on the Clyde again it is sickening g to hear of these strikes continually what does Labour want do they know themselves. I bet two thirds of them don’t. It does not seem there is a war on in Blighty according to them. It seems they are all out to make their pile as quick as possible. Let’s have the war over first and then one thing at a time. Glad to hear that Mr Evans has been so kind again this Xmas I had a fine letter from Nain really she is getting a better and better writer all the time. Had a fine description of the concert they had on Xmas night and a very enthusiastic bit of the part Elwin took in it. I wrote to Nain a week or so ago hope she had it alright will write again in a day or two in answer to this letter. I have not yet received the four bob Uncle Messach sent to me may tun up later. You don’t seem to have received the parcel you sent for my birthday. I had it about the end of November and have written to tell you several times. Diolch yn fawr yn wer am dano. We get spells of wet weather here now and it’s as cold as in Blighty we have just had a shower of hail stones a few minutes ago. I am hanging out in a bit of a cave for the few days I am down here. I must thank Mailys and Dyfan for their letters which they sent so regularly. You would not believe what a blessing a letter is to us chaps. There is some active service stripes being issues some time or other I will get three one for each year of active service. I may get the medal (MM) before long. I have the ribbon and wear it. I will send the medal on to you when I get it. Best love and best wishes to you all. Your Affectionate Son, Goronwy.

Feb 4th 1918

Dear Dyfan and Mailys (about turn I mean)

I am now giving myself the pleasure of writing to you in answer to the letters you have been sending me so regularly. They give me great pleasure in deed to receive them so I must say with all my heart Thank you very much indeed.really you would surprised if you could see how we all out here look forward for the mails. The letters we get act like a fine tonic on us and pick us up from down in the dumps up to the sky so you see how valuable letters are so mind you keep it up or I may get down in the dumps. I used to keep all my letters for a few months but I lost all I had on Dec 27th so you see the Turks may have enjoyed a few of your letters anyway. However I am afraid they were not much use to him whoever he was unless he could understand some of the Latin Dyfan sent in some of his letters. I am very glad from the information you both give me that young Glyndwr is progressing so well. I heard from Ethel that he walks and talks now is this correct. By Jove you both must be swanking now Aunt and Uncle Ah what? So see you keep him in training until I come home. By the way what do you think of this child with the MM Ah what? Wonders never cease do they. I hope you are both getting on in school. Stick it Welsh hope you still like the job. At present I am in the line but would much rather be in Pengam or Aber Council School. I hope I will get a chance of sending you some thing as a sort of souvenir from this country I will as soon as I get the chance. We don’t get into the towns even when we are close by or even billeted in one until we can get special leave which I have not had yet. I will be very glad indeed when all this strife is over and I can come home to dear old Aber once again it will be quite lively enough for me finish excitement for this child. I received a letter from the Young People’s Society on Feb 2nd dated Dec 17th it was signed by Dad and the letter addressed by Mailys and enclosed was a Xmas card from Miss M Evans will Mailys please thank her for it on my behalf as I forgot to mention it in my answer to the letter. Glad to hear that you both are giving Dad and Mom a hand on the allotment and so forth. I wish I was home to put a shoulder to the wheel. I have broken my false teeth and actually swallowed a coupe of teeth. I am going to get then mended at the first opportunity in the meantime I am letting my mouser grow to try and hide a bit of my gummy mouth proud I am not. I must pack up now paper finis. Best love and best wishes to you all.

Your Affectionate brother


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