The Norfolk Regiment in Mesopotamia

After a well deserved rest (and undertaking more research) our Mesopotamian correspondent is back with the further experiences of the Norfolk Regiment’s officers during their captivity in Mesopotamia. 

Captivity in Turkey: from the diaries of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Cecil Lodge

Part 3: 1918

This is a continuation of the postings of 16 November, 2016, 26 May, 2017 and 16 June, 1917. Some entries have been omitted if they are unduly repetitious, or where they contain financial details other than about pay or refer to private family matters. The diaries are held in the archives of the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum.

After being transferred from captivity at Yozgad (Yozgat), Lodge had arrived at Afion Kara Hissar (Afyonkarahisar) on 1st November 1817. It is at this place that his diaries continue.

The book into which F.C. Lodge transcribed his written journal
Source: Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum

 

1st January, 1918

Rain during the night, with snow in the morning – dull.

2nd January, 1918

Paid Julius 12 liras for messing – dull.

3rd, 4th, 5th January, 1918

All dull days, and more snow on Friday night [4th-5th].

6th January, 1918

Brighter and freezing 11° [F.]. Recd. 5 liras Embassy Money. Letter from Robert Berry d/ 27 Oct and post card from M. [his wife, Margaret] d/ 25 Oct.

7th January, 1918

Posted letter 63 to M. – Capt. Berry – Mrs Kerr

10 officers p of w arrived early this morning from Palestine Front. One of them, Gardiner, had been in our first Bn. We moved into a new house today. I have now a small room to myself. Still bitterly cold 18° [F.] of frost.

8th January, 1918

Freezing hard 7° of frost during the night. Thomas lies with us now.

9th January, 1918

They have stopped our bread ration from gov. [government] supply. We now have to buy it in the bazaar at 8½ ps [piastres] a loaf instead of 2½. A splendid thaw, it is now quite mild.

10th, 11th, 12th January, 1918

Milder. We hear that they are going to reduce our pay. This will make living all the harder – even now it’s impossible to exist on what we get.; this has been supplemented by private income.

Made 2 beds – one for L/Cp Swift and the other for Wigger.[their orderlies]

Wrote letter 64 to M – and to Genl Mariott & Richardson.

13th, 14th, 15th January, 1918

Fine bright weather with frosts ar night & early morning. Philpot R.F.C. Who arrived here sick with dysentery, died and was buried today.

16th January, 1918

We had 3 shocks of an earthquake during breakfast – 3 at dinner & 2 during the night. Some were strong & shook our house considerably.

Post card d/ 12th Nov. from M.

17th January, 1918

Fine & sharp. Letter from Robert [his 3-year-old son] d/ 13th Dec.

18th, 19th, January, 1918

Both days bright & frosty.

Two letters from M. 89 & 91 d/ 9th 14th Nov.

Letter from Mother 31st Oct.2 letters from Ethel d/ 28 Sept 6th Nov.

Letter from Mrs. Bryans [his mother-in-law] d/ 28 Sept

Co. Wilson, Father Mullen, & Foster left after dinner for Stamboul [Constantinople / Istanbul] all are unfit & hope to be discharged.

20th January, 1918

Misty & raw. Another mail in.

2 letters & 1 p.c. from M d/ 4 Oct. 24 Nov., et al

21st January, 1918

Still misty and beastly cold. Wrote 65 [to M]. Also to Mother & Mrs. Bryans [his mother-in-law]

22nd, 23rd, 24th January, 1918

All misty days, except on Tues. the sun came out after lunch.

25th January, 1918

Misty cold. Stace R.E. Came to live with us in Col. Wilson’s place

2 letters from M. 77 & 84 d/28th Sept. & 21st Oct, et al

26th January, 1918

Began to snow again this morning – it is milder.

27th January, 1918

Bright intervals, milder: but walking in the street very muddy.

7 letters from M. & 1 containing snapshots of the kiddies, etc., et al

Julius had a splendid batch of clothing parcels: he gave me a blanket, 2 shirts, 2 towels, 3 pr. of socks, 2 pr. pyjamas & a pair of shoes.

28th January, 1918

Bright & frosty. The 4 Frenchmen who were sent to Stamboul for exchange all returned this morning.

Wrote 66 to M – Evelyn – Mrs Daunt.

29th January, 1918

Parcels given out this morning – I got 8.

  1. Old green suit
  2. Gumboots, shirts, socks, medicines, tie
  3. 1lb. 3 Nunns tobacco & pipe.

4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Food Fortnum & Mason

These arrived in the nick of time, & were most welcome. A shell from Cecilia [his daughter, twin to Robert]. Went to watch a rugger match.

30th January, 1918

Fine & bright, only a slight frost.

Received money for a £10 cheque I had signed some weeks ago. It was paid through the American Express Coy – really a German company*, I only got 1128 ps a pretty good swindle considering the real rate of exchange. Had tea with Trelson [?] R.F.C.

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Soldiers’ WW1 photographs

My hard drive is rapidly beginning to fill up with all the World War 1-related programmes, debates and documentaries that are filling our screens!

Did anyone see BBC4’s Hidden Histories last night about the photographs taken at the front (some secretly after a ban on cameras in 1916) by British and German soldiers? Not only officers, but also the ‘rank and file’ took ‘VPK’s’ – ‘Vest Pocket Kodak’s’ with them to the Front.

The programme showed photos taken by both sides, many never seen before in public. You could plainly see how the imagery changed as the reality and horrors of the conflict became more apparent. Two photographs particularly stood out in my mind. The first, a photograph taken by a British soldier of two shells put together to form a cross that marked the grave of the friend he had just buried – the last photograph he took during the war. The other was taken by a German soldier of a tree shattered by a shell. Both of these were incredibly poignant and symbolic.

You really got to see the war through a new perspective – through the eyes of those who fought rather than those commissioned to take ‘official’ photographs.

Kath

Vest Pocket Kodak open

Vest Pocket Kodak open

vest pocket kodak closed

Vest Pocket Kodak closed