1916. June 16. WWI letter from France. Cedric writes to his mother prior to heading "up the line"

1916. June 16. Letter from France. Writes to his mother prior to heading "up the line".

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On active service
In France
June 16, 1916

My dear Mother

I am leaving "up the line" today. By train leaving this afternoon, so, at last it looks as if I am likely to join my battalion, the 15th Durhams. They are in a mid snug and portion of the line, as far as I can make out, I cannot say where. The war forbids. I will go up in excellent health, & full of confidence for a safe return and an honorable return. I am in good spirits, everything is OK and, as far as worrying: I don't care, if it snows ink.

As I told you last Sunday, Mother dear, I shall not spare myself, but I will take good care hear that I around no unnecessary risks, and when one realises that only about 5.6, or 5% (at the very highest estimate), often fighting forces a knocked-out, that gives one confidence to go into action with a stout & determined heart; this means that I have a good 93 chances out of 100 of returning safe (if not sound) two nz once again off, and I would really have had bad luck indeed if I strike the other % of lads.

But I'm not worrying about these sort of things, and or hope, Mother dear for your own sake, said he will not worry unduly concerning your curly headed laddie in the trenches. I have been busy writing letters today to a good many of my friends in England & Scotland,

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a good many of whom will hear for the first time that I have crossed the channel.

Because, I will not get much time for letter writing, if but I will always right here as regularly as possible. I have before me your nice, long & very welcome letters of 28th April which reached me that this camp, 31st Div. I.B.D. Two days ago, via London & Wellington Court. I was greatly interested in reading these, & was pleased to note the cheerful note in which you wrote. On 28th April you mentioned that Father was much as usual, yet on May 10th at Rugeley Camp I heard that he had passed away to the land of eternal peace, so I presume his death was quite sudden. What a fearful shock it must have given you all when you actually realised that all was over, and that Father had gone. I shall look forward to receiving further letters from you. They will probably reach me in the trenches. I am glad you had a joyful Easter-tide with Harry Buckleton & Eileen for company. Otherwise, as you already know I spent my Easter of 1916 and hospital at No 9 Lines Rugely Camp with German Measles. Most unpatriotic of me don't you think? Life is full of things almost-a-days, and this war is having far reaching effects, which would never even have been thought possible two short years ago.

People of old fashioned cast iron views are actually changing over owing to the stress of the times in which we live.

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I was pleased to read all about the Buckleton family and their warlike doings. Young Ernest, Sydney Buck and Fitz. I hope young Ernest comes through alright, as I know Fitz thinks the very world of his eldest boy. Move to the end of the different for Give my very best love to Gertrude & Harry & family when next you see or write to them. I may have time to write Eileen a few words this morning & I may not. I fear that, in the past, I have been very lax with my NZ correspondence. As a matter of fact, I know I have, so it's no use trying to pass it off I suppose.

Any how, Mother dear anyone who wants to know anything about me can always do so, by asking you, can't they? You see, and days gone past, a very great deal of my spare time has been taken up in writing to the fair Annette of whom I told you in my last letter written on Sunday last. And she has written me yards & yards in return, which was always a great source of pleasure to me, especially when I used to be in the merchant service travelling from place to place in various ports of the world. It would be about October 1911 that we first met, but between that date & now, we have had several rows and long periods of non writing, but there have been no interruptions in our good fellowship for about two years now, so I suppose that can be taken as a good sign for future welfare.Mr Welch is an Admiralty inspector forgings(?) on the Clyde, & has a pretty grand

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and influential position in engineering circles, and is well thought of by all the firms who work for him. His principal business is to test the metal before it is made up, & afterwards. Last time I was in Glasgow, on my final five days ("urgent-private-officer's") leave, about six weeks ago, & when I was staying at 68 Clarence Drive, Mr. Welch talk me through a position of the famous Lochhead forge, which is the property of the well known Sir William Beardmore, whose firm build the HMS "Australia", "Tiger", and many more ", powerful warships. In one shop I sore 9", 12", 15" shells being stamped out, the metal being in a molten state; the initial stage and the construction of these most wonderful pieces, of mechanism & destruction.

Then I saw a certain number of huge naval guns of the very largest type in various stages of construction, huge ladder posts, Waihi and many tonnes for naval units now under construction, and much more of initial interest to me. Mr Welch has one son as Chief Engineer in halls, Palace Funnel, line, a well-known Australian trading firm. His youngest son is also in the merchant service on the "bridge". Arthur, my particular chum, an electrical engineer, has just down 13 good months in the trenches in Flanders, as a double pipped Lieutenant, in the 3rd Argyl & S. Highlanders. Recently a bomb splinter injured his right arm at the shoulder, & it was only with the utmost difficulty that his arm was saved from the acute blood poisoning which followed. I trust & pray that I may be as fortunate. I must conclude now dear mother. In future, my letters will not be nearly as long as this. But love is all at home. From your affec. son. Cedric Graham

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A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC https://perma.cc/A6AG-GWCW.

 

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1916. June 16. WWI letter from France. Cedric writes to his mother prior to heading "up the line" by Tauranga City Libraries Staff - HC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License