Post rest aunt

6th October 1914

from 9085 Lce Cpl F Crawshaw, 1st Dorset Rgt, 2nd Army Corps, War Office – 6 – 10 – 14

to Miss M Crawshaw, 29 Strathleven Rd, date stamped Army Base Post Office 10 Oc 14 – censor 137

Dear Mabel

Just a few lines to let you know that I have received your welcome letter and also parcel which I was ever so glad to get. I have got a pair of the socks on and they are alright. The cough tablets where just right you couldn’t have done better and also the chic only I would have just have had some Frys plane, but still you done your best and I am more than pleased with you. Have just got a cake from Ciss a seedie, I was surprised I can assure you thank her from me. I am writing to her today.

Heard from old Muff she wrote me a letter from the old people and hopes I am alright and trusts to see me soon, I was surprised to hear from them am dropping them a line or two. You and Aunt are still Tangoing it I would if I was there, I hope you are enjoying yourselves, I expect things are much better for Aunt now that Mattie is knocking at the door good luck to him and I hope he sticks it.

Glad to see you are still busy at Stewarts and still mucking along of Stammering Sam. You know that old saying follow in Fathers footsteps its like old May her mar (Man?) was the same.

I am getting on alright and in the pink, Till I am sorry I am unable to send you any money for sending me the parcels but I will make it up to you later on lets hope so. When you next write Till could you manage to send me two red handkerchiefs as I can’t get any and thats what you need on this gaff I can assure you.

I met the other day a fellow who lives at Brixton as well I knew him when we were kids he is full Corporal and he is the Divisional Post Corporal, we had an interesting chat.

Now I must conclude hoping this letter finds you in the best of health and still merry and bright. Did Uncle Matt get his P card he should have done. I have just heard from Jess, she mentioned that she had heard from you several times and also mentions (C?) Roll on Brixton. Now that all trusting to hear from you soon with love to all from Fruity(?_)

I remain

Your loving Brother
xxxx Bid x

Also in the same envelope – same date etc

Dear Aunt

Just a few lines to thank you and Uncle Matt for the kind thoughts as regards sending me that parcel. I was very pleased to receive it and when I found the B paste I thought I was on Furlough at 29 having a afternoon cup of tea a what. Yes Aunt I am very pleased with you, and I shall never forget it either. I am getting on alright and still mucking in along of the Bhoys

Well how are you all, I am glad to see that you are all in the best of health and now that Wallies is working and Uncle Matt still taking out of the knocker you are getting on alright you deserve a little luck mate if any one does ad I hope Uncle Matt will stick it remember me to Wallie and thank him for his Bovril tell him I hope to be able to ask him what up with his hand shortly.

Have heard from 60 and also had a cake from Ciss not so bad mate. No cold tea out here or little drops of lizzie (?), could do with a drop of cold tea now.

Well thats all this time except I was pleased to get Matties letter it was a good one. Now I think this is all the news this time trusting to hear from you soon Aunt sometimes letter take longer than others you can see that by the date. So it is with fondest love to all from your old mucking in chum

I remain
your loving Nephew

So you get two letters for the price of one today. I’ve broken up the stream of consciousness to make it easier for you to read.

Frank takes advantage of their little break and writes home, happily replete with paste, chocolate and cake. The Brigade had received heavy post the previous day so I suspect Frank is responding to various letters and parcels he received. He was very active in sending letters home.

I am going to split these over the week and discuss their contents in more detail as I did with the last letter.


At 2:45pm their rest came to an end. Orders were received to march to Béthisy-Saint-Pierre, from there they went on to billets in Verberie, four miles on. The Dorsets’ diary complains that the 14th Brigade held them up for three hours during the second stage of the march. They had marched another ten miles to the west.

At 11:30pm they received further orders that they were to entrain at Compiègne, another ten miles to the north, by 7am the following morning.

Sharp shooting Frank

30th September 1914

Carrying on from yesterday, which I though was an excellent post (trumpet blowing is fair enough, as I make up about 50% of this blog’s readership), we’re going to look at Frank’s skills. Apart from ladies and beer, of course.

Photograph showing Frank Crawshaw in some stables
Frank is on the far right. The rest of this motley crew are Royal Artillery or Royal Horse Artillery.
Photo of an Royal Field Artillery cap badge
Royal Field Artillery cap badge

The photograph above shows Frank outside a stable with a bunch of artillery men. I’ve always assumed these other men were Dorsets too.  I’ve looked at this photos many times but my non-military mind completely failed to spot their cap badges were different. Their cap badges link them to the Royal Artillery. It’s hard to narrow this down to the Royal Field Artillery, Royal Horse Artillery or Royal Garrison Artillery. However, much discussion is to be found here as to whether or not the men have ball buttons (Royal Horse Artillery) or plain buttons (Royal Field Artillery).

The photograph was taken between January 1912, when Frank was made a Lance Corporal (the single stripe on his left arm), and the beginning of the war. It’s more likely that this is when he’s in Aldershot as Royal Artillery units were stationed there in 1912. The Dorsets left for Belfast on 9th January 1913.

If you look closely at his left hand sleeve, towards the cuff, there’s another badge there in the form of a pair of crossed rifles. This is the marksman “skill-at-arms” badge, awarded when a soldier had scored 130 points or more in an annual “musketry” test. 50 rounds were fired at targets from different positions. 4 points were scored for a bull, 3 for an inner and 2 for an outer, making the maximum score 200 points. Impressive stuff, but the badge was not as uncommon as you would think. Many regiments really went to town on musketry training so a quite a few of their men had these badges. If you like statistics then fill your boots with this thread on the Great War Forum.

The Dorsets’ diary reports a quiet day and night, with only the occasional high explosive shell passing over them into Sermoise across the Aisne. The weather had cheered up a bit and the Dorsets were beginning to enjoy something approaching a frontline routine.