1915 – Malta
Jan 1st 1915
Dearest Mater -we got to our destination at 11.0 this morning and were in the harbour at 1.0. I have seen a good many officers of the old battns – they are all very fit – and they say this place is quite nice for the next 3 months; the first hour we were besieged by bum boats of every shape and size with everything to sell from cigarettes to underclothes. A huge official envelope came up for me – I thought it was from the Governor, but it was only a barbers touting circular written in the quaintest English!
Jan 3rd 1915
Dearest Mater – I write on Sunday Jan 3 from the barracks; this island is indescribable – to begin with the chief populace is children and goats – Then outside the towns every inch is cultivated – tiny fields – stone walls – and they get 3 crops a year …….We are up on a hill – we marched 7 miles here and have a magnificent view.
The barracks are the best in the British Empire- the officers quarters are a palace – and my house, if I cared to use it, is immense but I have taken two rooms in the ‘palace’ instead. The quarters are in a square with an open court in the middle -open porticoes below and above and open verandahs all round above and covered with bougainvillea ……..to the left, 5 miles away I see the sea – to the right a deep valley and the old capital, Notabile, its walled town and hugh cathedral just opposite our barracks. I lunched with Lord Lucan, the brigadier, on Friday – he was very nice. I am going to call on Sir Leslie Rundle, the Governor tomorrow or Tuesday.
Jan 12th 1915
Dearest Mater; I had a ripping budget of letters by the mail yesterday – the only ones I have had so far as mails are not at all regular – occasionally a few letters through Italy but mostly by sea once a week. I am beginning to be quite proud of the men they are jolly good.
I have to look after the adjutant a good deal, as he is learning everything. Lord Lucan motors up every other day and has not found much wrong so far. We got some papers of Jan 2 yesterday – and of course we get Reuters wires sent to the club and they telephone them to my office as a rule. I don’t know when we shall be considered fit – but gather that it may be about April – then it only depends on who comes to relieve us ; one of my men who developed diphtheria has died – it was the third time he had it. best love and wishes and many thoughts of the home I have always loved – Fritz.
Dearest Mater – no special news – the flowers are lovely – beautiful violets and roses in my room every day – I enclose a snap of Prance and one of the Serg Instr. Love to everyone – tell them to write to me – Fritz
Many thanks for your letter. This is a weird place -all rocks and wind – but buildings and flowers are fine; no milk except tinned and only frozen meat. I write this from the club at Valetta , the only Englishy town we come in on Thursdays and Saturday afternoons as a rule; the place makes one rather homesick in unoccupied moments -which luckily are few in number. I don’t know when or where we shall go from here – it depends what is happening in April or May or thereabouts; write as often as you can – best love, your loving brother. Fritz.
There was little fresh news during February – Fritz played some golf and continued to be pleased with ‘his’ men. At one point he was given a car – De Deon and despite never having driven ‘set off for Valetta after 20 minutes coaching from Prance’. The war seemed to be coming nearer – he heard from his mother that Colchester had been bombed and ‘did you see that the 1st /3rd (the Regular Battalion) got it at Neuve Chapelle- 7 officers wounded and 4 killed‘.
The Governor dined with the ofﬁcers in the barracks and the evening went well.
On April 8th Fritz sent a telegram to his mother ‘Legworse- tell Nafferton’ this was obviously some pre- arranged code to explain where he was going – and Nafferton was Marie’s home. A letter followed also dated 8th ‘Dearest Mater – have got an hour from the transport to write letters to you and Marie. Our orders only came this morning at 2.10am and I have been very busy ever since. We have a horrid old boat – but shall only be 3 days – I will write when we land – only 1 battalion was ordered from the brigade and mine was chosen, which is a great compliment. The Governor saw us embark and was extremely nice and so was Lord Lucan and Lady Lucan; Address after this – ‘Malta, please forward’ the PO will do the rest. We ought with luck to see great things – I am almost looking forward to it – and hope that if I have a chance I shall be helped to take it and make the most of it. I shan’t have time for many letters now so you must pass mine round. I think God will bring me back – your loving son………….Fritz