January 2010 - Comments

Sgt Sam Avery said... Hello Harry: Glad to hear you are finally on the move for home. We have also moved to Sarrey and are waiting for the next move if and when it comes. As long as we don't head to Russia, which is possible. Stop by for a read when you can. Regards, Sam
January 09, 2010

Anonymous said... On one hand, I'm almost believing he's nearing home; on the other, a pessimism born of watching the Army mess up his leaves and demobilization still has me worried.... Harry's getting close, but he's not there yet. We hope to see you safe at home soon, Harry!
January 07, 2010
It's wonderful that we're all still talking in the present tense. The illusion continues. BL

Roger O'Keeffe said...The so-and-sos couldn't manage to get him home for Christmas, but better late than never. Note that everyone is confined to camp in Marseille, again par for the course: the authorities are probably terrified that large numbers will try to make their own way home, and their personnel files will be left in such a very untidy state!

I would encourage all you Harry junkies to begin to migrate to Dieter Finzen's blog before withdrawal symptoms set in. An American student, Alex Seifert, has taken over the English translation and I'm catching up with the French, and now good old Rocco is translating it into Italian. Welcome aboard! So Harry's community lives on.

As Dieter's blog is a diary rather than letters home, he is much more outspoken about what he's going through than Harry, who - still! - has to worry about both the censor and the anxieties of his nearest and dearest. It's quite fascinating to see an account of living conditions on the front directly opposite the positions occupied by the British after the "big push" on the Somme has petered out. There is also information about how the "live and let live" policy worked out in practice. Sven Janke, the person who is keeping the blog, has followed Bill's lead in accompanying the diary with extracts from the war diary of Dieter's Regiment. These give an interesting view from the "bigger picture" perspective. He is also posting photos that are not directly linked to Dieter, but that give a very good idea of conditions.
January 06, 2010

Looks like the "powers-that-be" relented and allowed them to savour the delights of Marseilles in 1920. Maybe it would have been more of a challenge to keep them confined to a camp with the sounds and smells of a great seaport just outside! As Harry says, he would have met "all sorts of people". What a great adventure. BL

Kittybriton said...
We kept the home fires burning
While our hearts were yearning
Though you have been far away
We'll welcome you home!
January 07, 2010

Inverness said...My Lord, home for the weekend. What am I going to do next week? Time to buy the book.
January 06, 2010
He's not home yet! "Many a slip......." (But please do buy the book) BL

Greg. Tingey said... Not so slow, actually! I have a copy of the 1922 "Bradshaw", in which the best and "normal" trains London / Paris / Marseilles are advertised... Marseilles to Paris Best (1st class de luxe only) 11 hours, normal 24 hours. Paris / Boulogne 3.5 and 5 hours repectively. So a troop-train taking three days, with food/water/facilities stops is not too bad at all.
I would assume he would "overnight at Calais, march to the steamer, and then either get on a direct troop-train for Yorkshire, since, with a double engine-change, a troop-train could have gone through what is now called "thameslink", or go in two stages changing Charing Cross / Kings Cross ....
January 06, 2010
Thanks Greg, much appreciated. I can't quite get my head around the 1st class taking 11 hours and the "normal" 24 hours. (or did it just seem like that). They must be separate trains, I suppose - like the Orient Express and standard trains. To go twice as fast, there'd need to be some overtaking. Sorry, my ignorance of train matters is immense. BL

Anonymous said...In his letter to Kate, Harry mentions Connie's 'holiday' --- any idea what was happening? I would have thought she'd spend her school holidays with Ethel and Willie, rather than 'Aunt' Kate.
January 05, 2010
I can only guess. Maybe Kate spent this Christmas with Ethel, Willie and Connie. Maybe Connie did stay with her mother in Leeds this time. She would be home from the Liverpool school for the holidays. BL

Kittybriton said...Lumme! You should get a medal for endurance Harry.
January 04, 2010

Anonymous said... Whoopee! It's starting to look like good news for Harry: he sounds quite upbeat and almost chatty --- he must have his hopes up that he's finally on his way home!
January 02, 2010

Kate said...Have been following this for about 18 months now and really enjoy it...quick question, on the entry for the 1st Jan. Christmas is referred to as Xmas, did Harry write Xmas?- as I naively thought this word was a very recent addition to the English language. Many thanks.
January 02, 2010
Harry did write "Xmas" in both letters written on January 1st. he has used "Christmas" in earlier letters and so the two would seem to be interchangeable, even then. BL

Nanny (Shirley) said...Hopefully we will welcome Harry home very soon!
January 02, 2010

Anonymous said... Webmaster, I love your site. Thank you sooo much for working on it.
January 01, 2010

G. Tingey said...Across France by train to Boulogne, channel crossing, train to Charing Cross?
Or steamer to Portsmouth/Southampton from Marseille?
January 02, 2010
We'll have to wait and see. I suppose I could open a book on the two alternatives. He could catch the Spanish 'flu and not get any further! BL

Rocco said... white handkerchiefs winding on our hands at the Italian border.
January 01, 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have been following this for about 18 months now and really enjoy it...quick question, on the entry for the 1st Jan. Christmas is referred to as Xmas, did Harry write Xmas?- as I naively thought this word was a very recent addition to the english language. many thanks, Kate.