My dear Mother and Father
I have just a few minutes to spare and have only just been told that a mail
is leaving for England tomorrow a.m., first thing. So if this is written in
a hurry don't be disappointed as I have already sent some letters off from
here by the Russian post and which I trust you will have got by now. Let me
thank you very much for the parcel (marked no 15) and 2 letters which I
received this week. Parcels no 13 and 14 I suppose will be in the next post.
I hope so. It is one of the few treats we have out in this country of which I am getting somewhat fed up - the same as all of us.
I'd give anything to just pop in to see you all and have a bit of good English beef and Yorkshire pudd! - altho' I cannot grumble, as we might have done much worse in this direction. Still, at the same time 15 months is a good spell I reckon. I don't suppose it will be long before we are all back again. Let us hope so!
This place is like all other small Russian towns - you can see all there is to see in about 5 mins. Of course, if we had a bit more time to ourselves in the towns we should have a better chance of picking up the language and thus the country would be much more interesting. Roumania was much more interesting to me than ever Russia was, as in the first place it is quite up to date where Russia is much behindhand.
We have a lot of trouble out here with the Russian officers of whom a great deal were nothing in civil life. It seems a bit thick when a Britisher who has volunteered to come out to Russia is not allowed to smoke in the streets owing to the objection of a pack of hypocritical people who don't receive half our money. I call it a downright insult. Excuse this, but it's how it makes me feel.
Well, time is getting short and I shall have to be slippy. Your parcels have been splendid. You ask me if you are sending the right thing. I sent 3 or 4 letters from Odessa in which I gave you a list of what not to send. I have remitted another £10 to Mother out of my pay. Please make a note of this and see you get it. I have the receipt which I keep as before, until I know you have received the money. Well, out of this I want you to send me the following please;
1 a good safety razor and 2 2 dozen spare blades 3 good shaving brush 4 steel unbreakable mirror in case 5 2 dozen roll films for my camera (Vest Pocket Autographic Kodak) 6 developing and fixing powders for ditto 7 5/- worth of SELF-TONING paper (size 7cms x 4 1/2 cms) 8 some fixing powder for same
(By selling photos to the other men I have already made back half the cost of camera which is a little beauty - cost 18 Roubles second hand.)
I could do with socks any time. Another undershirt would be welcome please.
Don't think from this list that you have not sent what I want - just the opposite but you can realise how difficult it is to get things out here - much more so than even in France. I was forgetting about Jack (brother) who will also be in need of things now. Don't let my parcels stint him as we are possibly not so badly off as he will be and what is more we are used to the rough and tumble life by now.
I want you to spend 10/- out of this £10 on one or two things that Jack will
appreciate and send it as a parcel from me if he is not at home. I want you
all to buy things on each of your respective birthdays as a present from me.
I'll leave it to you as to how you should make use of the money. I only wish I were at home to buy the things myself - but, I'm not so we may as well look it square in the face and patiently wait. Will you send me another pipe out please (a Peterson for preference). DON'T send any more sterilizing tablets, Horlicks' malted milk, OXO;
Mother's biscuits were lovely after the ship's biscuits we get as a ration when bread is not obtainable. I'm looking forward to the time when I can sit down to one of Mother's best efforts, with Kitty (sister) on one side and Jack (brother) on the other of me and both of you, Mother and Father opposite. By jingo! it's a long, long way to Tipperary. BUT WE'RE NOT DOWNHEARTED YET. I'll bet you any money that the Germans are. What; that's the side to look at. They've had their day, it's ours now. Then it will be "KORASHO" as the 'Ruskys' call it.
I'm going up to the front again shortly as Lieut-Commander Smiles now, has sent word down. Our section has got the distinction of the most highly decorated section in the corps - thanks to a Lieutenant with a sense of sport and dash. Every man on the heavy car (div) to which I am attached has received the (4th Order) St George's Cross which I described in my letter from Odessa. One of our lads has been recommended for the D.C.M. for a real fine bit of work when we were up at Braila. I remarked about it in my letter describing our work there. He deserves it.
My pals on the "Ulster" have also received the 3rd Order besides the 4th, so you can see our sections have have done their share towards strofing (?) the Hun. We haven't finished yet though, but am sure we soon shall have.
Well, here comes the C.P.O. for the letters so I'll have to dry up. I was very interested to hear about Kitty leaving school and hope she is keeping well as I hope you all are the same. I send my best love to you all.
Hoping you keep in the best of health as I am really as well as ever I was.
I remain Your loving son
PS The temperature tonight is 15 below Fahr and snowing. (I'm on guard).
|Author||Grandage, Gordon M.|
|Title||Letter home to Bradford from Russia 1917|
|Item Date||23rd February 1917|
|Creation place||Tiraspol, South Russia|
|Copyright||The Great War Archive, University of Oxford / Primary Contributor|
|Digital repository||The Great War Archive, University of Oxford|