Now available as a Paperback and on Kindle
Walter Carter
WW1 Soldier's Tale

30th January 1915

Walter: Seen this advert in the paper for uniforms… not sure if I’d rather get it for free, like we do, or be an officer and have to buy it for meself…

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/72066000/jpg/_72066208_10795407_mary_evans_kit_poster.jpg

28th January 1915

Walter: The papers say they marched the survivors from the German ship Bluecher through the streets of Edinburgh – I’ll bet they got an earful!

Mary: I hope they did! Rotten lot.

Walter: The Mirror said they was wearing all sorts – not proper uniform and that. If that’s all we’re fighting against, I don’t know how we ain’t won yet…

Ed: That’s it, Walt… didn’t you know? Whoever has the best uniform wins the war...

Walter: Well it helps, don’t it? If you ain’t got the right kit you’re going to get cold and wet and miserable. And you can’t say we don’t look smart.

Rose: Oh I suppose all the soldiers I see out here was smart as anything when they first come out, but you just can’t keep it that way when you’re living in a trench or in a boat or whatnot.

25th January 1915

Walter: Well they tried to bomb the coast again but our fellows in the Navy got their act together and didn’t let them! Ha. We would have had another Scarborough on our hands but our lot broke the German code and worked out what they was up to. Hipper, their admiral, thought he could sneak up on us with his measly three battle cruisers but Admiral Beatty came out of nowhere with five of ours and six light cruisers and extra destroyers! Old Hipper weren’t expecting that! And our ships are faster too. They sunk the German ship Bluecher straight off. The rest got away but they won’t have the nerve to try it again, I’ll bet.

To find out more about the ‘Battle of Dogger Bank’, visit: http://www.naval-history.net/WW1Battle1501DoggerBank.htm#campaign

23rd January 1915

Walter: Have you heard about what they’ve done in Brighton? They’ve turned the big Royal Pavillion (you remember when we saw it Lil? That day we went down on the train?) into a military hospital for the Indian soldiers who’ve been fighting for us. They’ve put in separate kitchens so they can make the right food for the Mohammedans and the Hindoos and the Sikhs, and they can pray in different places in the grounds too. They say the locals are going barmy over all things Indian all of a sudden – they’ve been collecting tunic buttons from any soldier who can spare one!

Lily: Yes I remember – what a grand place! I’d like to see it now. I heard the mayor gave it over specially because he thought the décor would make the Indians feel at home… Now there’s more than 700 beds in it!

To hear more about the Royal Pavilion in WWI please visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01s6x3c

20th January 1915

Walter: More bad news – and on Pa’s birthday too – the blasted Zeppelins have made it over here after all. Dropped bombs on Yarmouth and Kings Lynn last night… killed two people and smashed up a lot of houses. We ain’t never had bombs from the sky before… and to think I was all excited about it last year. The paper’s right though – the more damage they do, the more Brits want to join up. Serves them right.

To find out more, visit www.gorlestonhistory.org.uk/worldwars/zeppelinairraid1915.php

19th January 1915

Mary: Well Mrs Wiggins is making sure everyone knows it’s her birthday. She just swanned off down the street in a new hat and I’d swear I can smell roast beef cooking. I don’t know where she gets it all from. Her husband’s ‘business’, I’ll bet. And here’s me trying to get together some scrapings for your father’s birthday tomorrow. It makes me cross. I did manage to get him a bit of relish for his scrambled eggs from down the road but it ain’t much when you think about how hard he works, poor man. Still, we do what we can.

Walter: He’ll be glad of it Ma, don’t worry. Wish him a happy birthday from me tomorrow.

Mary: I will do Walt. Thank you.

17th January 1915

Rose: I had a fellow on the ambulance train today who said one time in the trenches he went eleven weeks in the same clothes and without having a wash! Said he had to scrape hisself off with a knife in the end… That’ll teach me to moan when I don’t have the time to get undressed for days. We’ve been so glad of that shampoo powder though Ma, it makes you feel a bit more human… and smell a bit less human…

Mabel: Eleven weeks! That’s rotten. He should’ve just stood out in all that rain.

Lily: And there’s me whimpering about a cold wash over the basin every morning! Thank goodness for flannels.

To find out more about washing and grooming in the trenches, visit http://beyondthetrenches.co.uk/shaving-in-the-trenches-washing-and-grooming-in-the-great-war/ and to read about everyday personal care in Edwardian homes, visit http://www.1900s.org.uk/1900s-everyday-washing.htm

 

15th January 1915

Mary: Saw this today – good idea to send some out there, keep their strength up.

Mabel: I’ve never been fond of meat lozenges… seems they can make anything into a lozenge these days. I like them peppermint and ginger ones mind, or a linseed one if I’ve got a cough.

To see more advertisements in the Illustrated London News, visit: http://www.illustratedfirstworldwar.com/item/brands-meat-lozenges-iln0-1915-0619-0026-011/

14th January 1915

Walter: If you can, get hold of a copy of today’s Express – “Territorials Make a Fine Impression in India”. Good to hear the boys out there are doing us proud! To anyone who thought us Terriers wasn’t up to scratch, take a look at this: “the Territorials turned out and marched with a swing and a precision hardly surpassed by highly-trained Regulars.” Seems the Indian winter is easier for them – sounds about right. It does make you fed up hearing about everyone else though and not being able to go out there yourself…

Fred: We’d do just as well if we was out there. Don’t know why they still ain’t getting us on ships…

Mary: Good to hear about the Terriers Walter! I’m sure they’ll have you out there in no time, not that it’ll do my old nerves any good.

Lily: Great news darling – well done them!

To find out more about the Territorial Force in the Great War, visit http://www.1914-1918.net/tf.htm

12th January 1915

Rose: I ain’t half fed up with this rain. I suppose it can’t be much better at home, but out here it somehow seems even more rotten. Just when you think there can’t be no more rain left in the sky it comes down all over again. Everywhere’s flooded. We had a whole set of patients in the other day who was covered in mud exactly up to their necks! That’s what they’d been wading through, poor loves. There’s more than a few men drowned in it, and they can’t get them out again when that happens… so they just stays in the bottom of the trench. Best not to think about it.

Walter: Sounds like you’re having a rough time sis. I hope it dries up. Are the men still getting frost bite?

Rose: Not so much now, but their feet still has a hard time with the wet and the mud. They gets all swollen and white. Lucky for them they usually can’t feel them by that point – we works out how bad it is by pretending to talk to them and secretly sticking a needle in the bottom of their foot. If they don’t yelp, then we know they ain’t better yet.

Walter: I wish you hadn’t told me that. I don’t know how you keep it up Rose. I hate feet. Ain’t you squeamish?

Rose: I can’t be squeamish, can I? You just gets used to it. After everything I’ve seen, feet are nothing. You’ll get used to it too, dearest Second in Command of a Rifle Section, if you come out here.

Walter: I bleedin well hope not. I hope they sends me to Egypt with the Australians.

Rose: Well then you’d get sunstroke instead. Remember that time you got burnt on the beach at Brighton and your nose looked like a beacon for a week? It’d be worse than that.

Walter: Thanks, Rose.

9th January 1915

Walter: Have a look at this, Ed – from the Express today. Looks like you might not get a choice after all.

8th January 1914

Walter: Looks like your fellow was right about the Christmas truce, Rose! Saw a story about it today. Ain’t it funny that it’s only just come out in the news? And only in the Mirror at that. Fred saw a local paper with a letter from the Front about it, but that’s all. They say High Command was that angry about it they stopped all leave for the units that took part…

Ed: I suppose no one wants to say too much about it, in case everyone starts to think the Germans are actually friendly types who ain’t worth killing… Funny that, ain’t it? What if they all just stopped, and wouldn’t fight each other no more?

Walter: Well then Charlie would have died for nothing and I can’t stand for that.

Ed: But if no one was fighting, he wouldn’t have been killed in the first place…

Walter: He was in the Army, Ed, that was his job. And he was fighting for us and Ma and everyone at home. Don’t talk no more about it, you’re making me angry.

 

To hear more about the Christmas truce, visit: http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/podcasts/voices-of-the-first-world-war/podcast-9-the-christmas-truce

7th January 1915

Lily: Love, did you hear about ‘Lassie’ the dog? Bit of nice news for once. There was a sailor off the ‘Formidable’ who got pulled in from the sea at Lyme Regis and put in a mortuary because everyone thought he was a croaker… but the local pub had this crossbred collie dog called Lassie and she wouldn’t leave him alone – kept licking his face and cuddling up to him – and he came around! Ain’t that nice? You want to see if you can find yourself a little dog if you ever get out to the Front.

To find out more about Lassie and the HMS Formidable, visit http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/ww1/stories/11382600.Discover_the_real_story_of_Lassie_and_HMS_Formidable/

Mabel: Oh Lil, that’s so sweet! Makes you feel better don’t it?

Rose: Look at her sleepy little face… I wouldn’t mind getting meself a dog.

4th January 1915

Rose: We had a sergeant on the train today – going down to Le Havre. He said his battalion came out with 1400 men and now there’s only 78 left. Can you believe that? He was moaning about the new young officers who gets too excited and won’t keep their heads down when they’re in the trench – they ain’t got the experience because they been rushed in to fill the gaps. Another fellow told me the Germans have got officers now who’ve only been out 2 weeks… so I suppose it’s the same all over.

2nd January 1915

Walter: Rotten news about HMS Formidable, and on New Year’s Day too. These German submarines are starting to put the wind up me…

To find out more about the attack on HMS Formidable, visit http://www.burtonbradstock.org.uk/History/Wrecks%20off%20Burton%20Bradstock/HMS%20Formidable.htm

1st January 1915

Walter: Happy New Year chaps! It’s all go already for us… the 1/23rd are being changed into four companies (it’s been eight until now). It’s not going to change things too much – we been training together anyway because some companies are a bit short on numbers, and the Commanders and Seconds-in-Command will stay the same. Fred and I get to stay in the same company too, so that’s alright.

Fred: Good job and all – wouldn’t like to have different free time from you… I’d have to find someone else to tell rotten jokes to.

Walter: Here’s one for you Fred – not too far off me own rifle section…

Website Designed and Built by B&M Design & Advertising

Now available as a Paperback and on Kindle
Walter Carter
WW1 Soldier's Tale