Correspondence between Field Marshal Lord William Birdwood and Lady Janetta Birdwood, 1915 - Part 15

First World War, 1914–18
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M Mu err eyy fre me could believe possible & atterly I have been sending of 200 men daily sick - today it has been 400 in addittor to about 150 wanded so the drain becomes awsfurl. course when the weather gets Cooles, things with I hope improve much, but in the mean time it makes me hert appechen sive about my nest big more. I feel it myret We all do. Fortunately ome san never be sufficiently gratefut I have the strongest of meides & have kept well. Also I have nok all the hard work - fateguls. Camying heavy lads - digging ie Wkhich the men have, & even them I ofter feal it is all I say do to diag my legs after me when I have hade a long day in the trenches - but seeing & talking to the men makes it well worth it. I enclose a very nice Teleguan Sir lan sent me which yon may care to see a keep. I fee very somy for hum as he must. be very waiied & Aurains at present about the uncertannly of the successs of his last more. In partly depen ded on me. &t precticak did all that was possible - but to my left Gail Stipinsl Army was landed & much depended on him shoring on a oecupying. An impostunte pis sition without delay, & which. I think he could & honld have been able to do But, he had all these new tooops Who dont reet Fe Baltti nnon hom to bight - I have for Binged
i feio mefte f eft presant in aletion tom. Arin Corps. Seroit Mene to shove along. any thing li ke What was hspeal & has given the Turks time & oppertunits to concentrate & dig which thet should never hade had - Had he shoved along it wiulet halee ensured my success & wre would have been hear the and here. In my own rind I caut help blaming hir s to some extent, as gmoring stopnd to be ratteer old &slom he should, Cat least I would have taken much more pesiral charge & in sisted on thingo heme done & teally taker command, Which hhe has hever yet done. Now thatort is late he has removea from. Stop ford (who though a real clarning Ggertemn is not really up to a shas furt. We disle in to command. The latter is a read thenster every one hates him as he is a brite with hi thoughtso for o thers - rude to evezones & as no pancoples, but I believe him to be the right men in the right place, & by his burtelit. I hope he with see things through - I hearatts at come of his mater al mie the shapere Camtnigt &s very bad with no. dee of frgpting whet them cers Can be like & have tos ldea but they sempty have got to be taight to fight & will lose heavity white doing so - Hiro is so. very diffterent from France where all are Merely pireces of a luge Machine with mo chance of exeicising in dividuality or mitrative. Tere troops are much more on their own a training comes in - Croman Iaw afard I am now losing Sent. Williavs wer it e.S. to. Head Qharters. &s Alto. come.
nnr reoerhuerrrmr fact I think he with nio bafll be better placed Than here as he is peveps jut a little old for the pustle and hmocking about guerally all have to do with me hare. I am afraid from old David Shaw has rather come to grief at Aden. The Turks sudderly applared & attacked there & he seems to have sent out an insafficiently egnipped colmmn in a purry who were to some extert over come by the fearful heat & rooned Mumilly letting the Turks capans a goid of wat the possessed. Pon Shan was sent back again to Karachis Gest. Goughow hind sent te to Bden from Egypt with his Brigade & he is now commanding there & the Turks have retured from the Iminediate. Dremite 5d Gunsce that that rather lice Doring po hston gunl ts ergaged to Viscount. Sidmouth who has I fancy bean Stationed Lahore with his Devon Tenitorial Regment all last winter. The Johnston fairely must he raither pleased wortre little lants & aft my love to gon Ever yoin very loving al Will. OmD Teeres 115 3375 ea
Ayt Soe or amyon eff p orate i L Stsflen on Mik ak eld. Fspal. Atte Wpened to poll Chahs Mak 22 Anf 15.] one of now letters affer getting my were. That letter I have not recened. Ay dhin depling Femy fime. Something has been going very lowng with te wads as I tme jut got bad weet lales of fee a he weey toll aelte ae We t hade de Lel en tf Welts wile ta fo Wer tee baiter defent put w an afeance l Si itt aiso Calinen. Sevhafe Ld, Bot tey mary Waneas eeay ay ed ae ba Wde t prs of Wewerch in Curcleatr Canch Wo te bead arn te eane eas Wr Cl ed Cle Weell aitain aste crelil Terde the loak welt. wined me as &De. from & Dee t Cafy th fot. And as Lord Ansstey in alto with me Se cate Sintavas de Eicheve with 3 & f ten tormhen dam beaes if I cay find enough work to do Eeyire here has talhen suct a liking to Angaliey who is so quiet & Cnrostin. ttont oo ts had to goe hee ff hms & ns a
M e ehee h morst just keet him on as extrer for the plesent. fartuately fay makes noo diffecence to him which is generally where the difficulty comes in in suck Cases - I faney he has many tronsands. He was lelking we one day, how his predecess on in the litle- the to teord mary fetlow who red to lave covering tunce with griels was really no relation. wheterer but it t too bs on Stay to wite. Bungon Byne has jut arived here - or ratheer on my. Cfpe o refece Seepord Daiy fort to hanl him tan Dweadldd oen hrom bent wit aded eain la be bale hes reveree fo the eewand of a teeaa Lard Peyion & Col. Cole are thee alss with the Weneren his have cane dimanted. bets ane Wrat reet end S I hallont hays hiflel ago- Capt Wilnes, 1th Siks there a feir day to humbard a thhe lady mated went to in Pestamon When uos left Delli has also been killed. t &appacct before his Rlegt came under mm Coctatt. Hcow is Mabel 2 1s she still. as if se Scant im nother. with.
n fge. 4 f i t house to he dftrls hat over Allouth the he Sygth Iay it. is. W t lee ae ce wen te weanc, h to t set he we as it Hs bean Ariniags letell of s tor night step it. As I learly always get dail issues of it or morning Post from Some one Se here o there dre. Alnay's so far more Satistaclory tham the Weeley& ssoe which I hever read if Sean th the & this - I was loondering chy it had suvled Repin being sent me - S heand from bat hoad fe Won on Cyll the other Aai. Rice Cankearnisthas Won &te Bles we te seiter ts bte ofter enepan Wen ts wlorns wnth tho rertans Mave who said bhe Wee dlols, that Sue &s ham Mtins io toe Ceradies Wffted at Teplows Lidge So pestefts wos May come Aeisth. There is at all events ove thing my recent astance has Lone for me tthat is it has howo me command of quite An nice bit of open country which it is a pleasive walk about over- after being confined to the to teenes Auren there Kills Tlds breact casy tn ot my. cound to walk rond th Capery. be. Oen 9
AUs 9 fe Me ehe h butt there tl lovely Pline Sfloves - with Aurker hom repeninss of them - figs. Multeries & blackbemes - the latter seem so homely, but if twoo if thele of teom st to pick them the chances are the Turks with get a burst of shrapnal over Konl. But dort won wit lithe one I take Any mmake sietos. the shaf sumflly wout let me & him after me like a cat after her hiiters. I simply caiit escape them & if ever thel neeer o shell coming along to my drreation they are atter me to huitle me to a place of safety. Things te certainly shhch belles hawe since we have & carfied so much more ground sut helf the shell fall on my stall beach as tised to. II. dont thin I ire had one alme when bathing for the last. 10 day's or so - the sniping & strany bullets too are not nearly so lad, as they cant concentrate on a few places as was formerty the case - but of course they do come along still in places hate heaving of men being hit in hhas way. but they say it takes. Lgg of them to hill one f coust dote in. I aianit memn rd. bat.
1s e lhe e ould infest & 200 a Month on bir toan - one bounth after te daying Chie &chool but etc. Gon minghet heve fr thing. Chethonr yfor might hame & 1o- Cuitors seos ete. b ddeum ulateens after a mos th ceot Imhtp have Seet n ring. Ruriver, Iav Save Bon Cal Mleatnd Te ded encen toie edl. Del bat fon atf the Wee Weften fthr ft ae Lantt Cecfell sas Wold t Woee thre hei aa Can tre a tecks Wor ms. Te wall ee &ore wol camnty fice Wire Witen save wist I am toe he wite W be ceded wer to amies aytt to sare ba. had. Cante bae te wach an lalte blen heat ts 8t deae o ben bole of ely have hal Weto for Lanen edniel aff he sean fo Teat say hem dael forted I ami afte he ecces o from te Sappieh's Carpson in eft - if salite. had soned on I ielans we cold have Ctn halis Eudlits Cary oust of here in o Mellto, hore Leece Wr and ld ey h es Cournity Wentorn Air anffl did tolk to tha Cizzards. Coies Cace . Lesterate. Saikan & Cnlton. of Couise line Chaube tn is
M f M. Mommmemeeeecmrereceeerourmeh jut things right, but all are haturelly settens tright on tteew resfective flices till they see more dearly wh is going to win, though there are rumous to day of Comigatong. Greece so ssibl, Bulgatts showing signs which world mean every thing. Of coume all the Wme we epfeated me Crsrars to heave veen enain & pants hiple with over- bot wer then which tould e pade. all the difference- Punssion thots hew &oo tols, so has tlent Turkey hes beasable to bring bot ove thore we Repish ate hare Sencese Lettes a wire Relfes fom an bed Aataher Wrg obort the ser wloct in dferae arampe at saie 1ar fte Savich S hasss of fore efinets ahita bes oo better Ceave brgren bsent mre when the W ten to h by Cse of my Snts Chaans oed whe) & whed was im an Brreghtos cops t athe hos noo S. Aftereer , & which teen mhay care to sec. Goodbye tn owr little lamnt & al uy love to Got deas heart. Eves com very loving ole. Wil 921 [1st 3. ORIS
nenemener em Hed topely & mc 4 tis Sty owr dailing geniy goane We have been ralter cunt of from the vutlide, wirk a Soith. Westete wind which has io the lest heme. Aayys b. Made landing antrandmany difficupt & done of lot of damerge to our boats Opiers. As it was really quite mila one begins to see what things may be like wns the winter when we may he entuely cunts offi forday s Falmost welks from any commu Tcationenct any sort. A lively soit of Esistence if it Courts about I havent any mire news at present as we are now likely to have to settle down firig lot before any othen more can be Conten plated & Sam waitine form Buings Byng on him left to be readis & ablee a hove on.- Ihear that Colt. Cole was wounded over there on 21st last mouth- bus have heard - no farticulars - in the Stoulder believe but not very bad, ad Had jst been asking that he mg be. given ta Brigade- Comband, I fance he with heme gore Eeypst but shce a then leeves hare fir ar haspirtall sheet we hever hear of him aggain. Cfl. Bateman- Chawfarin, has nst arrived with the 4th Turkhas & me are glate to han the reinforcements as miy & then Gunkta Regments are about 300 strong each only. hore of ary Rustralians o te any better as the humbersi o have to invalid tearly are anont. I tr Had to say

Could believe possible - Latterly, I have been sending off 
200 men daily sick - today it has been 400 in addition 
to about 150 wounded, so the drain becomes awful - of 
course when the weather gets cooler, things will I hope 
improve much, but in the meantime it makes me very 
apprehensive about my next big move. I feel it myself - 
we all do - fortunately (some can never be sufficiently grateful) 
I have the strongest of insides & have kept well - also I have not 
all the hard work - fatigues - carrying heavy loads - digging etc 
which the men have, even then I often feel it is all I can 
do to drag my legs after me when I have had a long  
day in the trenches - but seeing & talking to the men 
makes it well worth it. I enclose a very nice lett
telegram Sir Ian has sent me which you may care to see 
& keep. I feel very sorry for him as he must be very worried 
& anxious at present about the uncertainty of the success 
of his last move - It partly depended on me & I practically 
did all that was possible - but to my left Genl Stopford's 
Army was landed & much depended on him shoving on 
& occupying an important position without delay - & 
which I think he could & should have been able to do. 
But he had all these new troops who don't yet 
know how to fight - I have four Brigades & 6 Battalions after me at


3) present in addition to my Army Corps - & didn't manage 
to shove along anything like what was hoped & has given 
the Turks time & opportunity to concentrate & dig which they 
should never have had - Had he shoved along it would have 
ensured my success & we would have been near the end here. In 
my own mind I can't help blaming Sir I. to some extent, as 
knowing Stopford to be rather old & slow, he should ( at least I 
would) have taken much more personal charge & insisted on things  
being done & really taken command which he has never yet done -Now
that it is late he has removed from Stopford (who though a real 
charming gentleman is not really up to it) & has put De Lisle in 
to command. The latter is a real thruster- everyone hates him as 
he is a brute, with no thoughts for others - rude to everyone & 
has no principles, but I believe him to be the right man in 
the right place, & by his brutality I hope he will see things 
through - I hear that some of his material in the shape of 
Territorials is very bad with no idea of fighting - What their
officers can be like I have no idea, but they they simply have got 
to be taught to fight & will lose heavily while doing so. 
This is so very different from France where all are 
merely pieces of a huge machine, with no chance of 
exercising individuality or initiative. Here troops are  
much more on their own & training comes in enormously
I am afraid I am now losing Genl. Williams who
is also going to Head Quarters, where as a matter of


fact I think he will probably be better placed 
than here, as he is perhaps just a little old for the hustle 
and knocking about. generally all have to do with me here. 
I am afraid poor old David Shaw has rather come to grief 
at Aden. The Turks suddenly appeared & attacked there, & he 
seems to have sent out an insufficiently equipped column in a 
hurry who were to some extent overcome by the fearful heat & 
retired hurriedly letting the Turks capture a good of what they
possessed. Poor Shaw was sent back again to Karachi & 
Genl. Younghusband sent tk to Aden from Egypt with his Brigade 
& he is now commanding there & the Turks have retired from 
the immediate vicinity. 
Do you see that that that rather nice young Johnston girl is 
engaged to Viscount Sidmouth who has I fancy been
stationed in Lahore with his Lahore Territorial Regiment all 
last winter- the Johnston family must be rather pleased! 
Goodbye little lamb & all my love to you 
Ever your very loving old 
3rd Series (15)


X I expect you will probably have 
referred to Lou Onslow's death in  
one of your letters after getting my 
news? That letter I have not received. 

Med Expdy. Force 
22 Aug 15
My own darling Jenny Jane. 
Something has been going very wrong with  
the mails as I have just got two weeks letters of 
yours in both of which you say you have written before 
& that these are just [[?]] up letters - while the first 
ones you wrote haven't X put in an appearance - perhaps 
they will do so later on- I do hope so- but they may 
have gone down in the bags sunk by the Turkish shells. 
I got the photo of memorials in Twickenham Church 
which are I think very good & it is nice of Pickering to 
have taken so much trouble about them, as he evidently 
has done they look well. 
de Crespigny has just joined me as A D.C from Aden 
and as Lord Angelsey is also with me, I am rather 
embaras de richesse with 3 A.D.Cs for whom I am blowed 
if I can find enough work to do! Everyone here has taken 
such a liking to Angelsey who is so quiet & 
unassuming that it is hard to get rid of him, so I


must just keep him on as extra for the present- 
fortunately "pay" makes no difference to him which is 
generally where the difficulty comes in in such 
cases - I fancy he has many thousands! He was telling
me one day how his predecessor in the title - the 
extraordinary fellow who used to love covering himself 
with jewels was really no relation whatever,  but it
is too long a story to write 
Bingo -Byng has just arrived here - or rather on my 
left to referee Stopford & I am glad to have him there. 
I haven't yet seen him but will do so soon. Genl. 
de Lisle has reverted to the command of a Division - 
Genl. Peyton & Col. Cole are there also with the 
Yeomanry who have come dismounted - both are 
I hope all right, but Sir J. Millbank was killed 
there a few days ago, Capt Wilmer [[? 14th Sikhs]] 
the husband of the lady [[?]] went to in [[?Pesham]] 
when we left. D Ellis has also been killed - this 
happened before his Regt came under my 
command. How is Mabel ? Is she still 
with [[?]] [[?]]; as if so I can't understand


2) her allowing the house to be dirty as both 
he & you say it is! 
By the bye did you order the Weekly Times to 
be sent to xx me as it has been arriving lately? 
If so you might stop it as I nearly always get 
daily issues of it in Morning Post from some one
else here these are always so far more satisfactory than  
the Weekly issue which I never read if I can
get the others - I was wondering why it had suddenly
begun being sent to me. I heard from that [[?mad]] Mrs
Gunn in Egypt the other day - Miss [[Carr?]] [[Harris?]] that
was & she tells me her sister has broken off her engagement
with the fellow with the [[?German]] name who said he
was Swiss and that she is now nursing in the Canadian
hospital at Taplow Lodge so perhaps you may come 
across her.
There is at all events one thing my recent advance has
done for me & that is, it has given me command of quite
a nice bit of open country which it is a pleasure
to walk about over, after being confined to the
trenches among those hills, with practically no
open ground to walk round in safety. On my rear


bits there are lovely olive groves - with olives now
ripening on them - figs - mulberries & blackberries. This 
latter seem so homely, but if two or three of you stop
to pick them, the chances are the Turks will get
a burst of shrapnel over you! But don't ever 
think little one I take any undue risks - my staff
simply won't let me & run after me like a cat after
her kittens! I simply can't escape them &if ever they
hear a shell coming along in my direction they are
after me to hustle me to a place of safety - things 
are certainly much better now since we have
occupied so much more ground and half the shells
fall on the small beach as used to. I don't think
I've had one arrive when bathing for the last 10
days or so - the sniping &stray bullets too are
not nearly so bad, as they can't concentrate on
a few places as was previously the case - but 
of course they do come along still in places
& I hate hearing of men being hit in this way -
but they say it takes 499 of them to kill one
man!  Of course little one, I didn't mean you


3)  could invest £200 a month in War loan - one
month after fl paying Chris's school bills etc - you might
have nothing - Another you might have £100 - another £200
etc. - by accumulations after 9 months you might have
sent nothing - however I am sure you will understand
this &do as you think best. I do hope you will have
nice weather when you are down at Harefield as it
should be lovely there then- will Chris have a bicycle
with him? He would see some lovely country if he
had. Kinky White's cake will I am sure be much
appreciated when it arrives as it is sure to do - I
thought a large box which came yesterday must be
it, but found it was bottles of sweets Edie had
sent from Sister & which all here seemed to like.
I can't say how disappointed I am after non-success
of poor old Stopford's Corps on my left - if only he
had shoved on I believe we could have turfed the
Turkish army out of here in a month - now I see
no clear road before us & we may be here all the
winter - an awful outlook in this country of
desperate & continuous storms & blizzards!
Of course any change in the Balkan situation may


put things right, but all are naturally sitting tight
on their respective fences till they see more clearly
who is going to win, though there are rumours today of
Greece & possibly Bulgaria showing signs of coming along
which would mean everything. Of course all this
time we expected the Russians to have been menacing
Constantinople with over 60,000 men which would
have made all the difference. Russia not being
able to do so has meant Turkey has been able to
bring 100,000 more men against us here.
I enclose rather a nice letter from an old Australian
lady about her son which is a good example of some
I now get & which shows a fine spirit - also a bit
of a letter Clive Wigham sent me which was
written to him by one of my Sergeants (I haven't
any idea who) &who was in an Irregular corps
with him in S. Africa - &which you may care
to see. Goodbye my own little lamb & all
my love to you dear heart. Ever your very 
loving old     Will
3376 (15)


Med Expdy Force 
4 Sept 15 
My own darling Jenny Jane
We have been rather cut off from the outside world
for the last few days by a South-Westerly wind which has
made landing extraordinarily difficult & done a lot of damage to
our boats &piers. As it was really quite wild, one begins to 
see what things may be like in the winter when we may 
be entirely cut off for days & almost weeks from any communications
of any sort! A lively sort of existence if it comes about!
I haven't any more news at present as we are now likely to have to
settle down for a bit before any other move can be contemplated
& I am waiting for Bingo Byng on my left to be ready & able to
shove on. I hear that Col. Cole was wounded over there on 21st
last month, but I have heard no particulars - in the shoulder I
believe but not very bad. I had just been asking that he might
be given a Brigade command. I fancy he will have gone to
Egypt, but - once a man leaves here in a hospital ship we
never hear of him again. Col Bateman- Champain has
just arrived with the 4th Gurkhas &we are glad to have
the reinforcements as my other Gurkha Regiments are
about 300 short each only. None of my Australians are
any better as the numbers I have to invalid
daily are awful. I am glad to say I am now getting

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