Second Lieutenant Paul Norman Jones CHRISTIE
Killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres on
the 9th October 1917, aged 19
Paul Christie was born on 18th April
1898 at 85 St. Dunstan's Road in Fulham, the son of Octavius and
Christabel Christie who lived in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire at the
outbreak of the war. His father was a barrister as well as being
an Officer in the 19th (Territorial) London Regiment. He had been
in the O.T.C. at Eton College, reaching the rank of Lance Corporal
during his stay between January 1912 and December 1915. In 1913
Paul cut his left knee on glass and got septic arthritis, which
not only took a long time to heal completely but also caused concern
that he may not have passed the army medical. As it turned out,
he need not have worried as he does in his letters! The Army medical
Officer did, however, remark that he needed glasses as he was slightly
He applied to the Royal Military Academy
at Sandhurst whilst underage and had to wait until they took him
on the 17th May 1916; he had just reached 19 years old when he graduated
as an Officer.
Paul was posted to his first choice,
the Bedfordshire regiment, late in April 1917 and went to the 3rd
Battalion based in Landguard in May for a short time before sailing
to France in June. He arrived at the 17th Infantry Base Depot in
France on the 25th June and, after some more training to prepare
him for the ordeal to come, arrived with the 1st battalion in the
line on the 16th July, who were resting and refitting after their
heavy involvements at the Battles of Arras in April and the storming
of Oppy Wood in late June.
2/Lt Christie spent a week on a sniping
course and returned to his unit just in time for a major move north.
When the battalion moved to the Ypres sector in September, Paul
experienced holding the line in the remains of Sanctuary Wood and
the water logged conditions during the Third Battle of Ypres that
autumn. Weeks later he was to taste his first, and sadly last, experience
The 4th October saw the Battle of Broodseinde,
during which the Bedfords were in close support but were not called
upon to conduct any frontal assaults. He spent his time helping
to consolidate and dig new trenches astride the Ypres to Menin road,
100 yards north of the famous Stirling Castle position. There they
remained until the Battle of Poelcapelle opened on the 9th, during
which thirteen British, Canadian and ANZAC Divisions assaulted German
positions on a five mile wide frontage in the pouring rain.
As the Bedfords held the line north of
the Ypres-Menin road, the attacking battalions (the Norfolks and
Royal Warwicks in the 15th Brigade) suffered dreadfully as they
assaulted the heavily fortified Polderhoek Chateau which stood 600
yards north of Gheluvelt - the position that would not fall for
several more weeks despite the growing casualty list.
Second Lieutenant Paul Christie was killed
instantly during a heavy bombardment of his positions as he stood
directing the fire of his platoon against German positions in Gheluvelt
late in the afternoon of the 9th October 1917. Ten further officers
and the RSM were also casualties in addition to around 100 Other
Ranks as they held heir posts that day.
He was buried on the eastern outskirts
of Veldhoek, on the famous Ypres-Menin road itself but his grave
was lost during the battle. As a result he is remembered on the
Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing from that dreadful battle. The
CWGC have the following entry:
||CHRISTIE, PAUL NORMAN JONES
||"C" Coy. 1st/2nd Bn.
|Date of Death:
||Son of Major Octavius Francis and
Christabel Frances Christie, of Culver, Much Hadham, Herts.
Educated at Eton and Sandhurst.
||Commonwealth War Dead
||Panel 48 to 50 and 162A.
||Tyne Cot Memorial
His service record records his personal
effects amongst other information, as they all do. When I looked
through it I found it rather sad to note that two of the three personal
items returned to his parents on the 26th October 1917 were broken.
These were his glasses (still in their case) and the watch his father
sent to him that is discussed in his letters home in April. Both
of these were very likely on his person when he fell.
I have transcribed the following book
that his family put together after his death, which is a collection
of letters sent from Sandhurst and the front whilst Paul served.
It records his opinions, thoughts and perspectives on a variety
of topics and betrays his intelligence and wit very nicely! He was
obviously a well liked young man, with a quiet way, smiley face,
a very clean humour, and who liked chocolate!
I hope you enjoy it.
Within the book (under 'List
of Illustrations'), this is recorded as being from a 'War Office
film', although it is now within a film held by the Imperial War
Museum as IWM 388.
In Memoriam P.N.J.C. Letters Written on Active Service
"As gentle and as jocund, as to jest
Go I to fight"
For private circulation only
Printed in Great Britain by the Riverside Press
List of Illustrations.
2nd Lieut. P.N.J. Christie at Sandhurst 1917
- Frontispiece [see top of page]
At Eton, 1912 - Facing page 20 [see top of
The 1st Bedfords marching to Church Parade
in France 1917. From a War Office Film - Facing page 56 [see above]
"Paul Norman Jones Christie,
the elder son of Major and Mrs. O.F. Christie, came from Bengeo
School to Eton (Mr. Hugh de Havilland's house) in the Lent Half,
1912. He not only took Fifth Form, but had a fund of general information
beyond his school work. He showed some promise at play; but one
holiday a severe accident permanently injured his knee, and made
most games out of the question. In 1915 he was a good Captain of
the House; for his obvious wish to do well, and the modesty at which
he rated his own very considerable ability, made everyone fond of
him. In the ordinary course of events he would have been in Sixth
form; but, determined to play his part in the war, he left before
his time. It looked at first as if his injured leg would keep him
out of the fighting, but he would never agree that this was possible.
By sheer pluck he went through all the Sandhurst training, except
the long runs, and passed out high on the list. He was gazetted
to the Bedford Regiment, and in July went to join his Battalion
in France, where he fell in action on October 9th.
A boy so unusually well
informed, with his quiet but keen sense of humour, was sure to do
well. The night before he fell, he had been selected, as his Colonel
wrote, 'for a particularly difficult job - marching by night with
a compass'. 'So full of promise, quiet and trustworthy' was the
soldier's verdict, as it is that of those who knew him here, and
who will long miss the friend, ever loyal, cheerful and plucky."
Eton College Chronicle, November 22, 1917.
"Then shall the dust return
to earth as it was; And the spirit shall return unto God who gave
The boy goes on his brief
campaign "Good luck until we meet again", With heart unconquerably
gay With heart full of steel, he goes away.
From bivouac and trench
to fight His brave young spirit wins delight, And, mindful of his
home so dear, Sends homeward messages of cheer.
Limping himself on weary
road He shares his comrade's heavy load, Ne'er fails the banter
on his lip Ne'er fails the faithful fellowship.
I turned, my Officer was
gone, 'Twas a great shock to everyone." So soon is broke the golden
bowl, So soon to God returns the soul.
The valiant dust in dust
is laid, The soul unstained that God has made To God returns. He
courage calm Inspired; He nerved the stripling arm.
Page 9 Isolation Hospital R.M.C. 5th March 1917
Dear Mummy You will see from the address I have succumbed
to mumps at last and am in a Ward with Bilton and Hunter Blair.
At present I am on the slop diet with hopes of fish in the near
future. Please thank Daddy for the cheque and say I am quite alright
for cash. There are few chances of spending anything while cooped
up in the R.M.C. and even fewer in hospital. [Comment; "R.M.C. is
the Royal Military College at Sandhurst]
Page 10 Isolation Hospital March 1917
Dear Daddy The third stage of mumps is the most unpleasant,
as when you eat you have first to negotiate the jawbone, which is
apt to be unpleasant, and then the swallowing which is more so.
However, now I am nearly normal and expect to be quite so tomorrow.
I am sorry to say there have been two deaths here, one from Spotted
Fever and one from Pneumonia; Champernowne of E Company and late
of R.S. Kindersley's, an awfully decent fellow, was up to Lyttleton
with me and used to stroke the eight. I have put in for the Bedfords,
Essex and Worcesters in that order. Why not take a commission in
the Frosties? Otherwise when we meet you would have to spring rather
smartly to attention which would be rather a jar! Do you see the
"Strength of Britain" stunt in the papers? "The Spectator" seems
great on it. What maniacs some writers are!
Page 11 R.M.C. April 17th 1917
Have just got Daddy's letter to say you were in the
Nursing Home. I am so sorry to hear that you had to have an operation,
but very glad to hear you are going on all right now. It as awfully
thoughtful of you to think about my exams. Isn't it topping about
the British advances at Arras? 10,000 Boches and 40 guns, they can't
say that was voluntary. It has appeared in orders that we are not
to be inoculated till we join our regiments, which means sick leave
if managed tactfully. If I pass all right I expect to leave this
Asylum on the 30th, in time for the last of the Plum Puddings (if
so be it be kept till eventide) for rumour has it that the Dook
[sic; Duke] of Connaught inspects us on that day.
Page 12. R.M.C. April 1917
Thank you very much and Dad for the beautiful watch.
It keeps perfect time so far (but wait till I begin progging about
in the "innards"). I passed the medical alright and I think the
exams. Anyway I have got 640 out of 1,000 for the outdoor field
training which I feared most. We have had rather a strenuous week
with Battalion training, which means trekking out six miles or so
in full equipment, i.e. packs, haversacks, water bottle, entrenching
tools and handles thereof, both ammunition pouches, bayonet and
rifle, and then do a scheme - outposts, rearguards, etc. and "so
home in the cool of the evening". This morning we rehearsed for
the Dook [sic; Duke] and tonight we do "night ops".
Page 13. R.M.C. 25th April 1917.
Dear Mummy No, the M.O. (a stranger) did not examine
my knee but remarked that there was something odd about my hips
- lopsided - and I told him why and he said "Oh!" but did not make
I have Passed Out and will not be at G.C. much
longer. Already stars and things are floating around on overcoats
etc. also weird and wonderful equipment, weighing about 14 tons
(roughly). I do not know about the Bedfords for certain yet. [Comment;
"M.O." is the Medical Officer, "Passed Out" means he completed his
Officer training and the "Stars" refers to the Officer pips he received
when he became a 2nd Lieutenant]
Page 14. 3rd Beds., Landguard. 17th May 1917
Dear Daddy Thanks awfully for your letter and Mummy
for hers. I am off for a Lewis Gun course at Grantham on Saturday
which ought to be interesting though I am not much of a hand at
Last Thursday "War Stations" sounded, so we had to man
the local redoubts and trenches. "D" [comment; D Company, which
Paul was in at the time] is nearly all specialists so our parade
consisted of seven Officers, one C.S.M., two Sergeants, and 20 rank
and file! I was seventh in command of a redoubt with fifty men.
The responsibility was terrible. Love to Mummy, so glad she is sleeping
Page 15. Harrowby Camp, Grantham June 1917.
Dear Mummy Well, here I am among the machine gunners
at last after a cross country journey
At Ipswich, or maybe March,
I fell in with a Colonel going on a senior officer's course, who
very kindly stood me lunch
In this mess there are, at a moderate
reckoning, 200 Officers. Luckily, the ante room and mess room are
commodious! Some of the Machine Gunners are a queer lot - curiously
enough, they all speak Irish or North Country, but that may be the
effect of (a) the gun, (b) the Grantham air. Which brings me to
Grantham:- As a place of amusement it surpasses Felixstowe, having
a theatre Royal and no barbed wire. P.S. I hope the insomnia is
now quite all right again.
Pages 16 and 17. 3rd Beds. Regiment, Landguard June
Dear Mummy As Kipling would say, "Back to the Army
again, Sergeant". Many changes have taken place here since I left.
Kerr is on a bombing course, Gilbertson also remains and is now
Lord High Bomber of the Battalion [comment; presumably the Bombing
Officer?]. Collett is still here, though being passed G.S., and
is now available fore active service
Talking of that horrible
animal, the Boche, we had Field Marshal's warning last night at
10.15; at 12 a false alarm that the second warning, which means
all turn out, had gone, and at the disgusting hour of 3.30am we
had to turn out as the Zepps [comment; Zeppelins] were over us.
However, the Archibalds were in great form and numbers and made
the night horrible (especially for one Zepp.) so much so that she
burst into flames to the accompaniment of joyous hoots from R.M.
Trawlers and cheering from the 3rd Beds. who did see something for
their nights sleep; it was a gorgeous sight, though, I believe,
some way off. Have you had any tennis lately? There is some chance
of a four here, but we have not much energy in this "swelt" after
parades; bathing is more to the point, and I had a topping bathe
yesterday, the water was quite warm.
Page 18. Landguard, Felixstowe.
Dear Evelyn I don't think I have written to you since
I left Eastbourne so here goes. On the 26th of last month I left
this hole for Grantham on a Lewis Gun course wherein I passed 6th
out of 48 (applause). Thereupon I took a week's leave and have now
rejoined the Beds., where we are in the midst of air alarms and
By the way I may be going out any time now I am over
age and fit so don't be surprised to hear so. How are you getting
on at Ranny's? Write and tell me all the latest news and scandal,
as life is rather boring here
Page 19. July 1917.
Dear Mummy Here I am in La Belle France after a calm
crossing with no trouble from U Boats or natural sources. The cabalistic
letters will find me alright but "for your information" I.B.D. equals
Infantry Base Depot and A.P.O. equals Army Pay Office. I travelled
in a most luxurious Pullman from Victoria, attendants prowling round
with refreshments etc., also French notes which I received at 27
Francs the large Bradbury
I expect to stay here a week or two
before joining the First Battalion.
Page 20. 19th I.B.D., B.E.F.
Dear Phil Ici je suis dans France at what they call
a Base Depot though where I may not say. I arrived on Monday evening
(25th) having spent Sunday night at the Grosvener near Victoria
catching the 7.50 leave train down and the 11.20 boat from Folkestone
- quite a calm journey with point des contremps internals
Eve's rather ancient letter pour laquelle mes plus beaux remerciments
(observe my fluent flow of parleyvoos)
I had a letter from Sylvia
who made one very sage remark "perhaps you will see Watts at the
front or perhaps you will be somewhere in quite a different part."
Love to Eve. Yours affectionately, Paul P.S. Have you heard of
the sad demise of my Lord the Earl of Murray owing to his unfortunate
wish to ascend to the throne? [Comment added presumably by Paul's
father:] Paul was always singing: "They've slain the Earl of Murray
Because he would be King"
Page 21. 17th I.B.D., B.E.F.
Dear Daddy Still at the base where people keep coming
Baker and Dodgson remember you well, also J.F.C., and
ask to be remembered to you
It has turned vilely cold and wet.
I have so far resisted the temptation of abluting clad in a shirt
as some are apt to do
We go out daily for training and practice
in crater fighting and other warlike arts. I put in some particularly
deadly work with my revolver the other day, which bodes ill for
any Hun who is so ill advised to depart from the Kamerad tradition.
Page 22. 17th I.B.D., B.E.F. July 8th 1917.
Dear Mummy Laughton has just left for the First.
I expect orders to "hold myself in readiness" any time now, meanwhile
life is very quiet, barring violent thunderstorms through which
I sleep peacefully
Hitch has just come out again; he is soon off
to the 6th Battalion
By the way you might put my racquet in the
press if not deja ici; of course use it if it is wanted.
Page23, July 4th 1917.
Dear Mummy In answer to questions - I sleep on my
valise and very well too. I wash in a bucket; but whether the First
Beds are in line or are in rest billets now, I may not say even
if so be I could
There are no specialist courses at the base,
only general training; I think I know as much about bombing as most
people, ce qui n edit pas beaucoup certainement
Tell Daddy the
only flaw I can find in his Virgil tag is the "Meminissi" which
is rather weak, but not so bad as the "jubavit" of J.F.C.
Page 24. First Beds. Regiment, B.E.F. July 11th 1917.
Dear Mummy Tomorrow I am off up the line taking with
me what the Adjutant is pleased to call a "small draft" to join
the first Battalion. I hear the Boches on their sector are absolutely
demoralised at the prospect and "Kamerade" drill is being practiced
I was Depot Orderly Officer yesterday - a dull job and early
rising for the Mess breakfast at 6am. Don't be anxious if you don't
hear often in the future as I may be busy with the Boche and other
things. I will write whenever possible though.
Pages 25 and 26. First Beds., B.E.F. July 15th 1917
Dear Daddy Yes please send Kiplings to the above
address. No I was in tents at Calais. Fancy [comment; names blanked
by censor throughout] being an M.P. I admit I thought better of
him than to be a myrmidon of the A.P.M. You seem to have had some
excitement with the aeroplanes
"Going up the line" seems a longish
job. I started from I.B.D. about midday on the [blanked by censor]th
and arrived at [blanked by censor]. Rest Camp by rail about 7. Starting
the next morning, our train meandered gently across France eastward,
arriving at [blanked by censor] Company's Rest Camp at [blanked
by censor] about 2 where we stayed the night. There, being the only
Officer I was put in charge of the drafts for the Division in addition
to the Bedfords which I brought from I.B.D., and the whole boiling
left at the ghastly hour of 5am (really 4am) for this place, a distance
of about 12 miles, varied by thunder storms. Luckily our packs and
things were transported. Here at [blanked by censor] we are in billets,
at least I am with the Town Major, and the men, poor devils, are
in barns of a sort. My landlord is a refugee from Arras and can
understand my French and I generally his. When I don't I find a
colloquial Ah ca? or Ah Ca! will carry me on very well. Tomorrow
we trek on about seven miles to [blanked by censor] where my gang
is taken over by various units.
Pages 27 and 28. First Beds., B.E.F. 20th July 1917
Dear Mummy Please address all letters now to First
Battalion which I have reached at last after wandering for about
a week across France. I am looking forward to the Crθme de Menthe,
pas deja arrive. I trust the A.P.O. has not snaffled it. Some more
of that Rowntree's chocolate which Bates sell in half pound tins
would be very useful when we actually get in the line. We are at
present technically at rest, though the nights are occupied by fatigues
when we slosh about slaving for the R.E. My Company Commander Chirmside
[comment; this should read Chirnside as it was William Stuart Chirnside,
formerly of the 5th Battalion] is a very good sort, a pre war terrier,
with a bar to his M.C. [comment; two Military Crosses for bravery].
Our C.O. is Worrall from the Devons
Our guns had a nice strafe
the other night but of that more anon (much more so). The guns you
heard must have been the Boches' stunt up north. I am afraid Ostend
is still intact. Next week we are to have organized "intensive"
games. Contrary to general belief they are not beloved by "the boys"
who like to be left alone at times. P.S. Thank Phyll. for the letter
and say I will write in due course of post - a safe expression.
Page 29. 1st Beds., B.E.F. 20th July 1917.
Dear Daddy If you read the gazette in yesterday's,
the 19th, "Times", you will find the report of my Company Commander's
(Chirmside's) bar to M.C., also the D.S.O. of Collings-Wells, the
C.O. of the 4th. Tell Mummy the draft arrived safely, also my valise,
although some evilly disposed blighter turfed it out of the compartment
wherein I had put it and I only saw it as the train was moving.
Our fatigues for the R.E. only take place every other night now
owing to a snorter from Chirmside. Twelve hours or so without food
every night is too much for the men - as it is they get about enough.
There was another gun strafe for Fritz last night when we went up,
resulting in a pretty display of fireworks from the harassed Boches.
There is a very strong rumour in the battalion that peace is a matter
of weeks now. How it arose I know not. So Bengeo beat Northaw, and
Eton Harrow. C'est bien ca. N. and H. are both low places and beatings
do them good. By the way I heard from Quintus the other day - he
seems In good spirits.
Page 30. 1st Beds., B.E.F. 22nd July 1917.
Dear Mummy Thanks awfully for your letter. No Crθme
de Menthe has arrived yet and things begin to look black against
the I.B.D. However dum spiro spero. No herrings thanks at present.
I will let you know when I want anything. I have been appointed
a member of the Mess Committee - not much of a job as the gourmets
and gourmands of the Mess are apt at times to get restive. I saw
an old Bengovian, Captain Musters, when we exchanged with the Norfolks.
He is three or four years older than me. I rather tactlessly enquired
after his minor, a contemporary of mine also at Hayward's who I
believe I took out to Leahoe once or twice - he had been killed
in the R.F.C. We are in for a strenuous week, inspections galore
and games and guest nights, of which more anon. P.S. Tell Phyll.
to keep off the remount stunt - they are quite enough to handle
when they are broken!!
Page 31. 1st Beds., B.E.F. July 25th 1917.
Dear Mummy Many thanks for the Crθme de Menthe also
R.K. The Crθme de Menthe arrived yesterday, very good, so I withdraw
my base imputations on the I.B.D. Our respected Brigadier turned
out this morning for a demonstration in smoke tactics when all went
well and fair words were spoken. My Platoon took part in the demonstration
Yes, you will find me positively bursting with importance next
leave - whenever that will be is doubtful, at present one Officer
and umpteen other ranks go every five days, but of course it is
liable to stoppage at any time. My Platoon Sergeant goes home for
a month on Thursday - he is a time expired man who came out at Mons,
so deserves it. Has Phyll. decided about the remounts yet? On second
thoughts perhaps they would be safer than motors from my hair raising
experiences at Northbrooks. The battalion scoffed two M.C.'s, two
D.C.M.'s and one bar to Military Medal out of the Oppe Wood [comment;
Oppy Wood] stunt about three weeks ago. Pas si mal, ne c'est pas?
The Postman is e'en now on the threshold so I must stop.
Page 32 and 33 1st Beds., B.E.F. July 27th 1917.
Dear Mummy Thanks awfully for your letter and the
papers. We are going into the line for a bit tomorrow but it is
a very quiet sector I believe at present. Our week of intensive
training and games is now at an end and we now hope for some peace!
You cannot do anything very violent in the line
I hope no stray
bombs came along your way from Stortford. Avant d'oublier Phyll,
mentioned chocolate cake. If obtainable C Company mess would much
appreciate it. We are having Company Officers messing in the line
and all things in common - on peut obtenir ici cigarettes
we are for a Brigade Gas bag march - a form of amusement which I
don't appreciate at its true value. The other evening the battalion
marched into Arras to see a concert party yclept "The Duds". However
there was a hitch and therefore no seats, so the C.O. decided to
let them loose in the town for three hours, much to their joy, from
6 to 9pm. What is more they all turned up on time, a bit lively
certainly and some had to be assisted home, but very creditable
on the whole. The march home was full of melody including "We are
the Bedford Boys", a variation of which Daddy knows I think! Well,
au revoir and best love to all. Ever your loving Paul
Page 34 1st Beds., B.E.F. 29th July 1917.
Dear Mummy Many thanks for your letter just received
in a certain dugout many feet below the earth where we are all very
happy, though also muddy in the extreme. The offer of chocolate
cake is hereby gratefully accepted if so be on peut l'obtenir. Was
there really a raid on Bishop Stortford? One of my platoon lives
there, by name Everett. You will be glad to hear that he supports
C. and Co.
Well I will draw to a close, "hoping this finds you
as well as it leaves me at present in the pink" (this is how 50%
of the mens letters close). Best love to all Ever your loving Paul
Page 35 1st Beds., B.E.F. Aug. 1917.
Dear Sylvia Thanks awfully for your last letter.
I expect Mummy has told you I have been in the trenches for a week
or so and am now about two miles behind the line, but still in trenches
Don't hit too many balls dans las riviere. I may come in for the
end of the season though it is very unlikely indeed. No, non, nein,
noski, nope, I did not lose a single draught on my way up to the
war and I spurn the impudent suggestion. Restez jusqu'a je serai
de retour et je donnerai quell pour. P.S. Splendid cakes from Phyll.
just arrived. Very best thanks for same.
Page 36. 1st Bedfords B.E.F. 2nd August
Dear Phyl, Thanks awfully for your letters
in the front line trenches is a damned silly business. You spend
your time wandering up and down unprintably muddy trenches, getting
them nicely drained, floored and revetted, when there comes some
more rain and it is "as you were". However, the G.O.C. was pleased
with our Battn's trenches this morning, especially C Company's and
No. 10 platoons. It is extraordinary how one comes to disregard
the Boche shells; the mud is much more bother, and if so in August
___? Daddy will call that aposiopesis I expect ''' Since the last
sentence two new Officers have just turned up making 12 in the dugout,
rather a squash. Quelle matiere? The more the merrier and the less
work. I really must stop now as I must go on duty in the nice trench
Page 37 and 38. 1st Beds., B.E.F. August 8th 1917.
Dear Daddy Thanks awfully for your letter and Mummy
and Sylvia for their last. The Lucanas have not yet arrived, thanks
very much for sending them as also the chocolate and Crθme de Menthe
(second issue). We are now back in support after six days in the
line - three in the front line and three in battalion support, and
I am writing this lying on the top in the sun (strictly against
orders) as also sundry C Company's Officers. Yesterday I had my
first wash for a week and it was good. Shaving I had to carry on
with - rather a curious fact, I should have thought it the other
way round but I found I could stand dirt much better than face fungus.
I have come across a Sergeant whose name escapes me for the moment,
who used to work for C. and Co., a young chap with a fair complexion
and cheerful nature who came out with the first batch from Hoddesdon.
I expect you know him. He said he recognized me as soon as he joined,
and enquired most tenderly after different members of the family
We had it very wet in the line and it was heart breaking work
draining after each storm. Here conditions are much better and one
is much less on the qui vive
I also heard from Granny. She does
not seem to appreciate the latest conscript drafts in training at
Tunbridge Wells [characters inserted here - perhaps Greek?] and
the Lord preserve this battalion from the same. Please excuse spidery
writing as I am feeling sleepy.
Pages 39 and 40 1st Beds., B.E.F. August 10th 1917.
Dear Mummy At present we are still in Brigade support
and move further back in a day or two out of the trenches. However
I am for a sniping course at the First Army school and shall be
away about ten days. Rather a treat as it avoids the "intensive"
period of training and games so dear to all here, je ne pense. Les
garcons say they prefer les tranches. Things have been fairly busy
of late, what with inspections by C.O.'s, Brigadiers, G.O.C.'s etc.,
in one of which No. 10 platoon was third. I have not yet heard anything
more of the second consignment of Bates' goods but suppose they
will arrive in time. By the way those flat cakes of Phylls were
particularly good. I heard the attack on Infantry Hill but it was
not quite in our sector
I find the majority of my platoon come
from Luton or Hitchin with a fair sprinkling of Watford men. Sergeant
____ who lives near Hatfield, home on leave lately, visited relatives
in Hertford Heath, incidentally possessing himself of a duck pour
les officers from a farm at Hatfield.
Yes the weather has improved
a bit, though we still have to drain. The condition of my boots
an puttees would call forth unfavourable comments at the R.M.C.,
I fear me!
Pages 41 and 42. 1st Army S.O. & S. School August
Dear Mummy Me voici sur ma course. This is
not an exciting place though that has its merits aprθs le line!
The commandant, Major Hesketh-Pritchard, is a good chap. I think
we are in for a good thing with not too strenuous hours, i.e. 9-12.30
and 2-4.30 thus allowing a good nights sleep which is my chief lack
in this war. I loathe, with an intense and bitter hatred, the idea
of rousing at the hour of 2 ac emma in the smiling mourn for trench
duty, the more so if there has been rain overnight, so I complain
not that this course will continue over our next tour in the front
line! In some ways the army is a most casual place. A bus from the
Corps was detailed to take us here, stopping at various places along
the way to pick up the various units and I arranged for one of our
limbers to take my valise. Needless to say it didn't turn up so
I hailed an A.S.C. which chanced to be going to Y., one of the posts
of call, boarded same with my batman, a Corporal who was for the
N.C.O. course here, plus valise. Well and good, this took us to
Y. and deposited us there where we found several officers waiting
for the bus due at 11.30. 11.30 and 12.30 passed and still no bus,
so the local potentate wired and discovered it had gone here direct,
missing us out. In the end we stayed at Y. for lunch and tea. A
lorry arrived for us about 5 pip emma! Tel est la vie
a billet here with another officer, a Canadian. I have just discovered
his servant has been using his notepaper to write on and my Onoto
pen, thus using up my ink which is reserved for addressing envelopes.
On being crsed he made the reply "I asked your servant if I might!"
Sudden death awaits Private Fox, late of Watford, on his return
"for conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, in that
he, when on active service, connived at the unlawful use of his
officers property i.e. a pen, by a comrade while knowing the same
to be his". See Army Act, Section __ ''' Well, "I will now draw
to a close" as they say so often in the letters it is my fate to
Page 43. 1st Army S.O. & S. School August 15th.
Dear Eve Many thanks for your letter from Marlboro'
I am continuing my grizzly record in the matter of watches. The
be-ewtiful one I was given for my birthday I had the misfortune
to lose somewhere up the line. I then bought a French one for 40
f. whereof the mainspring is now no more, so do you think you could
ask Daddy to get me another like my birthday one, guard and everything?
This school is a gentle affair consisting largely of looking through
high powered telescopes and seeing what is to be seen, varied by
very technical lectures which no one understands; when it is ended
"leave" I hope will be more or less in sight
You ask, have I done
any fighting? Well I have been in the line as you have heard but
I feel the censor's blue pencil hovering o'er this screed, so of
that more anon
How is Quintus' leg? I can see him lying dans la
jardin issuing orders at his ease as per description. Love to all.
Pages 44 and 45 1st Army S.O. & S. School August
Dear Mummy Today there arrived four parcels
and a packet and therein was: Menthe, crθme de, tins of 6 Chocolate,
tins, ½ lb 9 Soap, bars 3 Cigarettes, Lucanas 50 Magazines 2 Grand
Total 70 And a tongue. Thanks awfully for all these. I wonder what
happened to them and why they all arrived at once. The post out
here is a funny thing. Please cut off supplies for the present though
as there is rather a glut!
This is a good course consisting of
gazing through telescopes and listening to lectures largely. I only
hope they don't make me sniping officer when I rejoin as I would
much rather be with my Company. Tonight we are having night ops,
which I dislike on principle, but don't expect these will be over
strenuous if there is not too much crawling.
A still greater "knut"
visited us yesterday, the Army Commander no less. I did not see
him as I was acting as an imaginary British post at the time for
the benefit of the NCO's to test their observation, but some said
they saw the great man in his "mocar" which reminds me, comment
va le Renault? Is the petrol supply still going strong? I greatly
fear I shall be too late for tennis as I told Evelyn but glad the
lawn is looking up again. I hope now Quintus has got over his leg,
which must have been very painful for him, but no doubt the illustrated
Virgil will be a consolation. Is it the one with "Arma virumque
cano" in it, which some sportsman translated "arms and the poisonous
dog"? Well, ah bientot, as our allies say. Love to all.
Page 46 First Army S.O. & S. School 20th August
Dear Daddy Thanks also for two parcels, one
from S. & V. and one containing toffee and three more packets of
chocolate. Please cut off supplies of eatables as I have enough
now for months and months and months. Thanks awfully tout le meme
The Canadians seem to be doing well. There are four or five here
very jubilant at things. However we can always retort with good
old Langemark. I begin to think I might make a sniper myself. I
got a three inch group at 100 yards yesterday
The Boche seems
to have nobbled His Holiness with fair success, as a result I dreamed
last night that peace had been declared. I was out with an enormous
patrol in no-man's land when the news came and we immediately arose
(rather rashly) on our hind legs and made for Blighty. On arrival
there, however, we were informed that we must return as peace had
been "washed out" also all leave!
I have read the Kiplings you
sent. Could you send out "Rewards and Fairies" by the same author,
about his only work I haven't read
Page 47 1st Army S.O. & S. S. August 21
Dear Phyll Thanks awfully for your letter and
the Nuts (Ginger) V.G. and other things but please do not send any
more for a month or so, as the cupboards in the billet here are
not up to it
There is an Harrovian on this course, and strange
to say he is quite a decent sort, with sound views about "The Hill".
The great John, from whom I heard the other day, joins the Guards
O.T.C. soon I believe
Tonight we are "for" a night compass march
which I remember doing at R.M.C. in Sep. 16 but here they have conceived
the bright idea of making us do it in gas masks! Who says the Prussians
I hear great tales of your tennis, also Mummy's double
handed back handers, a shot I could never do if I tried!
is a most infernal nuisance in the line where it converts everything
either into lakes or mud pies. However let us hope it will be good
for the crops.
Do you see the photo groups in "The Tatler"? They
arouse great derision in our mess here
Well si longtemps.
Page 48 First Army S.O. & S. School August 24th
I heard from ___ who had heard I was in the
line. She appears to have rather a curious idea of the duties of
an Infantry Officer as (I quote) she hopes "you are dodging the
shells and have a nice cosy dug out to return to when the attack
gets too heavy"
The letter you forwarded from one Chignell, late
of D Company R.M.C. now 3rd Worcesters, a very good sort. He sent
me the following particulars of Officer casualties in the Bedfords,
under three heads: (a) Shot by their own men (b) Shot by order of
Court Martial at dawn (c) Those who crept away behind traverses
and put themselves hors de combat by a revolver bullet in the foot!
I replied more insultingly if possible and hope he is squashed
Re crawling. It has no ill effect on the limb which is still going
The Herts. Guards seem to have been in it. The Battalion
has been under a Sergeant at one time. My servant, Fox, knows of
several casualties from Redbourne where he lives.
Page 49. August 28th 1917
Dear Quint How did you enjoy "The Better 'Ole"?
I hear it was very good. By the way did you accept that invite to
the Conference of the Juvenile War Workers at Manchester? It must
have been great fun. And how is the little Ray of Sunshine? Give
her my love and tell her to write and tell me all about it
you ever come out to this war (in seven or eight years time) ask
to be put on an Army sniping, scouting and observation course. You
will find it a pleasant rest, Sunday "off" for one thing. P.S. Have
you been killing yourself much lately? Hope your knee is right at
Page 50 First Army S.O. & S. School August 1917
Dear Mummy We have not done much actual sniping,
in fact, none, but of course that is more the job of the N.C.O.'s
on this course. This morning we had a "demonstration" of how our
armour piercing bullets penetrate Boche plates and theirs don't
ours, to "give us confidence". Unfortunately the Botche did penetrate
with ease our plates. They explained that this was because of something
or other but I think the men's childlike confidence has been somewhat
shaken! Though of course nous autres officiers ___ It is raining
here with misguided zeal which I hope means fine weather when I
resume my patronage of la grande guerre, which I understand has
been going on none too well in my absence
I hope you enjoy your
trip to St. Margaret's Bay. How long do you stay there? I expect
you will want passports or something if it is in the Dover area?
Look out for U Boats and sharks while bathing, also sea lions and
don't get out of your depth. Do you remember the swimming "picquets"
you used to post round me at sunny Shoreham?
Pages 51 and 52 August 30th 1917
Dear Daddy The studs ought to keep me for quite
a little while. In the line I got quite skilled at using a Heath
Robinson arrangement of string to do up my collar but it was not
very satisfactory. I fear I rather annoyed one of the instructors
the other day. He saw me throwing a telescope into the void and
catching it as it spun around. How much greater would have been
his annoyance if he had chanced to see me miss it as happened once,
when the precious instrument crashed to earth (luckily no damage).
Happily he is an absent minded man and has now forgotten the contretemps
I always thought that the education at Harrow Grammar School was
very inferior, so am not surprised at John's spelling
a pretty story about ___ and the soldiers. If she is not careful
she will get an open letter in "John Bull" or mention in "Tommy's
Troubles". We had a scouting scheme today in which I was O.C. a
transmitting post (one of the softest jobs I have struck). I posted
my men up a tree whereby I gained much glory and honour! P.S. Tell
Nancy that I shall arrive, when my leave comes, with a fully loaded
revolver in case she gets obstreperous, which I shall use ruthlessly.
Page 53 and 54 First Army S.O. & S. School
Dear Daddy The results of the exam are just
out. I am fourth out of twenty with 103 out of 115 marks though
I rather think that it is more the result of a certain skill at
figures (wind allowance, elevation tables, telescopic sights) than
any great aptitude for path finding and observation. However, it
looks well, which is the main thing in the British Army. I don't
want to be made Battalion Intelligence Officer, I would much rather
stay with my Company, but nous verrons ce que nous verrons
the thought of "Uncle Tom Cobley" had crossed my mind when I heard
those names read out - even more so at Eton after the revered names
"King Henry VI and other our benefactors such as were William of
Waynefleet, Henry Godolphin etc. etc." which are read out on Founders
Tonight we entertain the Staff in the Mess, for which the
bully is going to receive a more thorough camoflague than is usual
- they are all good sorts though one does speak like an American
cockney with a bad cold. Tell Quints that the B.E.F. is seething
with anger at the idea of the "Kaiser Wilhelm Cottage Homes". He
had better look out for himself when "the boys come home". A dozen
Gillette blades would be useful.
Page 55 1st Beds. September 3rd 1917
Dear Mummy Encore les tranchees, where I arrived
on Saturday from the course. We move out tomorrow and then trek
for somewhither, the whole Division, sappers, gunners and all the
rest of 'em. Will let you know more later, but anyway a fairly enjoyable
march seems indicated
I am at present second in command of C Company,
though one of the newly joined ones, Graham was in the R.M.C. during
the Boer War and resigned afterwards to go to the Colonies and joined
up for this and got a commission from the ranks, so I am senior
to him which seems odd, since if he had stayed on he would by now
have been a Brigadier or peradventure a Field Marshall! Tel est
la vie as a French author has wittily remarked
No, the life of
a sniper is not particularly dangerous; anyway if I take it on it
will only form a small part of the job, which will comprise as well
intelligence, observation and scouting. However, as per above, at
present I am with good old C Company where I hope to remain
Page 56 1st Beds September 9th 1917
Dear Daddy We have arrived at the place after
a two day trek, in which many fell by the wayside but (I am glad
to say) few of C Company. We had three or four days in the line
with little doing bar occasional potting at hostile planes with
Lewis Guns - a futile form of amusement
We have Company Messes
in this place and I am P.M.C. of ours, os if you happen to be passing
by the old world village of Blank, just step in
Goodman of the
Worcesters, late D Company R.M.C., has been wounded - compound fracture
of something but seems to be quite cheerful. At any rate he is sufficiently
well to cast insults on the Bedfords as did his comrade in the same
Regiment, but I think I crushed him by enquiring if it was really
true that he Worcesters were going to be split up into Sanitary
Squads for the Portugese Army!
Leave, as I said in my last letter,
is now more or less "off" but there are only four or five between
me and it, so optimum speremus.
Page 57 1st Beds. September 1917
Dear Daddy At present we are in another old
world village in billets having a pretty fair time. So poor old
Korniloff has given in to Kerensky! It is as if "Duggy" Haig were
to knuckle under to L. George during a German invasion! I also regret
to note the suppression of Vladislas Napoleon Klembovsky and eke
old man Kaledin G.O.C. Don Cossacks. What a Nation!
Yes, a small
consignment of chocolate would be very nice, the previous stores
being at last devoured tout a fait. By the way, "Rewards and Fairies"
has not yet arrived.
Page 58 1st Beds. September 12th 1917
Dear Mummy Quel prix les Russes! I note that
Kerensky has sacked poor old Korniloff and Vladislas Napolean Klembovsky
reigns in his stead. Somehow I distrust a man with a name comme
No, the Intelligence Officer does not get any more pay for
the job. Anyway I don't think I shall be made one so that's all
right. I must stop now as inspiration has deserted me. Ever your
Page 59 1st Bedfords B.E.F. 23rd Sep. 1917
Dear Phyll Thanks awfully for your last letter,
and Daddy and Mummy for several since I last wrote. I fear me greatly
that I am not keeping pace with them. But then que voulez vous?
I am sorry to hear of Quintus' new wounds; by the time his class
is called up he ought to be pretty well hardened against the machinations
of Brer Boche!
The latest about la fin de la guerre is that G.H.Q.
says it will end in November next! I wonder what they know, as it
sounds rather unlikely
"Leave" now I expect about Xmas next. I
don't think before then, but in the words of the old French proverb
"mieux tard que jamais". My share of Company's letters have arrived
for censoring. They have been (as usual) horribly industrious lately
and I regard the pile with disfavour, but then I suppose there won't
be much to slosh about; about 1 in 100 on the whole needs any sloshing
Your loving brother, Paul
Page 60 and 61 1st Beds. October 1st 1917
Dear Mummy Thanks awfully for all your letters
and Daddy also. I am afraid I am rather behindhand in answering
but the Battalion has been on the move again so things have been
rather hurried. We are out of the line now, which is all I may say,
but this is not a permanency like the other places. I spoke to Macer
the other day, you appear to have done him well
So Horacio Bottomley
[comment; perhaps a reference to Winston Churchill?] has been in
the trenches, nor is he slow to point out the risks he ran! I can
imagine the feelings and language of the unfortunate G.O.C. when
he heard that Horatio was to be foisted upon him
How is the food
control committee faring? I suppose it comes in for its usual share
of curses. It seems to offer chances of scoring off the people you
dislike for those sitting on it, much in the same way as the good
old Tribunal. Talking about Tribunals how about the local Embusques?
Golf Links of late? They ought to be in pretty good condition
now before the Autumnal rain. Next time I play I am going out with
an unlimited supply of balls, and when one goes it may go. Well
I must close now. I admit my letters are getting on the scrappy
side, but this benighted country has a bad effect o the intelligence
(if any). Love to all. Ever your loving, Paul P.S. Another of those
nice chocolate caked Phyll. Makes would be very nice.
Page 62. 1st Beds. October 1917
Dear Daddy Please thank Mummy for several letters,
arrived lately, also Nash's Bystander etc. etc. but so far no chocolate
from Bates. Yes, I will write to the S.O. & S. blighters about "Rewards
and Fairies". They have no excuse for they know my regiment, so
if necessary I will carry the matter to G.O.C. First Army for "necessary
action". Talking of "necessary action" the thought has struck me
that the phrase "passed to you please for necessary action" [comment;
this phrase has a collection of marks and symbols over it, no doubt
meaning something to the family but not to the censors!] forms a
Sapphic line (I fear that I can be no true soldier to have such
thoughts). We have been trekking a good deal of late and have not
settled down, but very likely it will be soon, as you have been
wondering ''' I am looking forward to "The Gentle Grafters" which
seems a book after my own heart
So Dick is on the London Scottish.
Why, pray? Is it in memory of the mythical "Christie Scotland Scotsman",
the founded of our clan? I do hope ___ is quite fit again, and going
strong as ever.Love to all Your affectionate,
1st Bedfords Oct. 15/17.
Dear Major Christie, Words are poor consolation in
times like these, but I should like to send you a few words of sympathy
in your heavy blow in the hope that He may enlighten it. He was
such a nice boy, so full of promise, and I thought so much of him
that it is a biter blow to me. Quiet and trustworthy, I selected
him only the day before for a particularly difficult job - marching
by night with a compass. Both his pals, Reynolds and Fleming, were
also killed, so there is a big blank left in the battalion at the
loss of these cheery boys. I asked the battalion on parade today
to never forget the example set us all by this trio, and to pray
for you all that He may help you to bravely bear this cruel blow.
Forgive a poorly expressed line of sympathy.
Yours sincerely Percy R. Worrall, Lt-Col. Comdg. 1st
P.S. He is buried in our cemetery hard by a famous
road - famous since 1914. I went to Holy Communion yesterday and
offered up a prayer for him and his relations.
1st Bedford regt. 14-10-17.
Dear Major Christie It is with the deepest sympathy
that I write to tell you about the terrible loss you have sustained
in the recent action. You will doubtless have received the official
intimation. Paul was in my Company, and liking him as I did, I feel
his absence more than I can possibly express on paper. He was not
only very efficient in his work but was always so cheery, and we
all feel very sad indeed to think that we shall never again see
his smiling face in the Mess. We had four Officers killed last week,
not one of whoim we could afford to lose, and he may have told ou
about Fleming who was a contemporary of his at Sandhurst, who came
here with him. Poor old "Margy" as he was affectionately called
in the Mess was also killed the day before. I hardly know what consolation
I can offer you, expect that Paul doed a soldiers death, in a manner
reflecting the highest credit both on himself and on the regiment
to which he had the honour to belong.
Yours very sincerely W.J. Chermside, Capt. [comment;
this is Chirnside]
P.S. He was killed instantaneously by a shell, whilst
standing in our newly dug trenches, and was buried just behind our
Battalion Headquarters - W.J.C.
Dear Major Christie I feel I should like to write
a few lines to express my sympathy with you in your bereavement.
As the Brigade Chaplain who looks after the C. of E. men in the
Bedford Regt., I frequently saw your son in and out of the trenches,
though in the last battle I was in the advanced Dressing Station.
Captain Chermside has, I believe, told you all the details he knows.
I only know how much the Batt. feels his loss and at the same time
their gratitude for having had him with them though even for a comparatively
short space of time. Im afraid I can give you no news that will
be of any use.
With deepest sympathy, I am yours sincerely Geo. Stanton
Orton Longueville, Peterborough 30thOctober 1917
Dear Sir I am writing to express my deepest sympathy
at the death of your son. Col. Worrall sent me your address and
hopes I shall be able to tell you a little more than he could from
France. I saw your son just before he was hit by the shell on the
9th. He must have been killed somewhere between 4 and 6 o'clock
on that evening as I received the news of his death at 7.25pm. I
saw the Sergeant who was wounded by the same shell and, from what
I could make out, Paul was giving orders to fire at the Boche in
Gheluvelt. He is lying near other Officers who fell in the same
stunt. I am sorry to lose such a friend and at his death the 1st
Bedfords lost one of their bravest Officers. I am sending his watch
and cheque book, am sorry I could not send before but have only
just got out of hospital.
Yours sincerely, J.T. Dickinson
Landguard Camp, Felixstowe 22 Oct. 1917
Dear Sir Thank you so much for the photos of Paul.
They are very good. But in the paper they did not say enough about
his "tophole" work. You asked if I could give you some idea of what
we did from the 1st to 8th of last month. On the 1st we left France
for Belgium and camped on the 2nd south of Ypres. On the 3rd we
had quite a long march up to the position we had to take as Divl.
Reserve. The 13th and 95th Bdes. went over on the 4th and we acted
as Counter Attack Batts. About 6 o'clock in the morning we had some
heavy stuff sent over on to our position and lost quite a lot of
fellows. Including Lt. Reynolds, killed, and Capt. Pearse, wounded.
At 5pm A Coy. was sent up to the R.W.K. with S.A.A. The rest of
Batt. getting up and digging in left of the Menin Rd about 12pm.
Next evening, the 6th, we took over the line from the R.W.K. From
then on to the 10th when the Batt. came out we got too much shelling
to make the place at all nice. But we had quite a nice time shooting
at Germans. Lt.-Col. Worrall has been sent down sick and Major Hulford
has command of the Cheshires in our Bde. now. So expect Capt. Chermside
has command. Paul's late Coy. Cmdr. If there is anything else you
would like to know I shall only be too pleased to help if possible.
Yours sincerely, J. T. Dickinson
1st Battn., The Bedfordshire Regt., B.E.F. 28.10.17.
Dear Mrs Christie I have heard with very great regret
on my way to rejoin the Battn. about Paul. It came as a great shock
to me as I was wounded two days before and have been in hospital
since. Paul was a great friend of mine, we were at Felixstowe and
came out to France together, and were in the same Company and both
Hertfordshire fellows and so had a deal in common. Out here Paul
always did his job extraordinarily well and in the most quiet way
and never grumbled or made a fuss. He was a general favourite among
the officers and men and will be greatly missed, especially by the
few of us who knew him better and worked with him in C Company.
With deepest sympathy to Major Christie and yourself.
I am, madam, yours sincerely, J.T. Laughton 2/Lt
Kenry House Hospital for Officers, Kingston Hill,
Kingston on Thames, Surrey. 19 Oct. 1917
Dear Mrs Christie I was most awfully sorry to see
your sons name in "The Times" and felt I must write to you. I met
Paul at Sandhurst and with a boy called Chignall we formed a close
triumvirate of friends. I never saw him after leaving Sandhurst
as Chignall and I went into the Worcesters and he went into the
Bedfords. I went out to France a little before him, and was hit
at the capture of Langemark on Aug. the 16th and have been in hospital
ever since with a fractured thigh. We corresponded pretty regularly
since leaving Sandhurst and in his last letter suggested trying
to arrange a meeting between us three in town. I shall always remember
him as the wittiest man I ever knew. For clean intellectual humour
he was unrivalled and I often think of the many new "schools" if
one may use the term, of jokes to which he introduced us. His influence
on me, I know, was all for the good. Please accept my deepest sympathy
for your loss. I should be very grateful for any details as to where
and how he died.
Yours sincerely, Neville M. Goodman 2/Lt., 4th Bn.
R.A. Mess, Hut Town, Lydd. 26.10.17.
Dear Mrs Christie I am writing to tell you how grieved
I was to see the news of Paul's death in the Eton Chronicle, which
reached me a couple of days ago, and how deeply I sympathised with
you in this terrible loss. . . . He was such a good fellow, one
of the best friends I have ever had, always jolly and full of good
spirits, and after we had both left Eton he wrote to me fairly often,
and I always used to look forward to hearing from him, his letters
were so amusing and cleverly written. I am absolutely certain he
would have done well, jolly well, if only he had lived, and he was
the sort of fellow who was sure to be thoroughly popular both with
officers and men. He was a real sportsman if ever there was one.
. . .
Yours very sincerely, R. H.C. Yorke, 2nd Lt., R.G.A.
Pt. C. Macer, 13639, C Coy., 1st Batt. Bedfords, B.E.F.
Dear Mr & Mrs Christie, With much regret I have to
write these few lines to inform you that your son was killed in
action on the 10.10.17. I am sorry to say I could not see him as
I was cut off from the remainder of the Company and it was impossible
for me to get to him, but from inquiries I have made I find out
that he was buried some distance behind the firing line at Batt.
Head Qrs. I am pleased to say he was a brave Officer, no matter
where he was and was very well liked by all who knew him and will
be missed very much. I wish you to share my deepest sympathy in
your great loss.
Yours Truly, Pte. C. Macer
29818 Pte. W. H. Berry, 1st Batt. Beds. Regt., Saltwell
Towers Hospital, Gateshead on Tyne, Oct. 29th 17.
Dear Mrs O. F. Christie, Just a few lines on behalf
of your Son's death Second-Lieut. P. N. J. Christine killed in action
on Oct. 9th, and the deepest sympathy is sent by his Platoon as
he was a very good officer and he was liked very much by all of
us and was very steady while in the trenches and a very good leader
by night. I told the Boys in his platoon that I should write to
you being that my home is so close to yours and knowing your name
very well but I could not get your address till I had the "Hertfordshire
Mercury" yesterday so I thought that It was my duty then to write
to you being that I was wounded with the same shell and he had just
sent for me to bring my gun as he saw a lot of Germans being relieved
and I was busy firing at them and when I got my wound I tuned round
and see that my officer had gone and it was a great shock to every
one. My home is at New Town Hatfield, Herts.
I remain yours obediently, Pte. W H. Berry.
"Then said he, I am going
to my Father's; and though with great difficulty I am got hither,
yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to
arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me
in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it.
My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me, that
I have fought His battles who now will be my rewarder. When the
day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the
river side, into which as he went he said, Death, where is thy sting?
And as he went down deeper, he said, Grave, where is thy victory?
So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other
Mr Valiant summoned.