Noel Chavasse letters, Aug 1914 - Oct. 1914

Correspondence of Captain Noel Chavasse VC and Bar MC, Aug 1914 - Oct 1914

Introduction

These letters were sent by Noel Chavasse to his family from the middle of August 1914 to October 1914.

The letters are presented in the order assigned to them by the Imperial War Museum - some may be out of chronological order. Questions, corrections and enquiries about the use of images should be directed to archives@spc.ox.ac.uk.

Letter from Noel Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                               12 Aug 1914

Noel writes to his mother asking that Miss Stokes might send him his best grey suit, four silk turn down collars, two white shirts, a black knitted silk tie and large gold safety pin. He mentions tiring nature of his work. Sent from Bridgewater House, 5 Bridge Place, Chester

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Letter from Noel Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                               14 Aug 1914

Noel writes to his mother to thank her for the package, which arrived safely, if somewhat covered in herring grease (!). Requests more items of clothing. Mentions that he is examining recruits and will start vaccinating them soon. The officers at the depot are sorry at being left behind. Mentions that he has heard that the Liverpool Scottish and the Field Ambulances have volunteered for the front, but worries that he may be left behind, as he is a regimental doctor. Sent from Bridge Gate House, 5 Bridge Place, Chester

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Letter from Noel Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse               18 Aug 1914

Noel writes to his father to explain how he wishes the £40 he has just sent him to be spent. Mentions that he is envious of his brother Christopher having already gone off to France. Is reading up on fighting army hygiene and trying to make himself useful. Talks of sense of fraternity he feels when out with the Liverpool Scottish. Asks that his mother send him some socks and mentions that she has been wanting to buy him a Bible issued on Indian paper. Has also been rowing and heard the Bishop of Chester preach at the cathedral and recounts the subject of his sermon. Sent from Bridge Gate House, 5 Bridge Place, Chester

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Letter from Noel Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                                20 Aug 1914

Noel writes to his mother explaining the medical arrangements he has made with regards to her knee. Asks if she can send him a £20 cheque he left behind, which he would like to pay to his father. Mentions that he has been rowing and imagines what the family gathering will be like once the war is over. Sent from Bridge Gate House, 5 Bridge Place, Chester

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Letter from Noel Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse                5 Sep 1914

Noel writes to his father to let him know he is comfortably settled in camp. Mentions that the Liverpool Scottish were given the option of going to Egypt, but did not accept it. Explains that he will leave his name on the books at the War Office and asks that his name be mentioned to Lord Derby, should his father get the chance. Reports on mood in camp and mentions that he is trying to grow a moustache. Sent from Liverpool Scottish, The Camp, King's Park, Edinburgh

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Letter from Noel Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                                 27 Sep 1914

Noel writes to his mother to say he is sorry to hear she is ill but glad that she is being well looked after. Reports that he has been very busy of late, getting up at 6am and going to bed at 10pm, and that the men under his charge were quite slack upon his arrival, but are now much smarter. He has had to vaccinate over 1000 men against typhoid. Many men have been sick and Noel has been interviewed by colonels and generals about this. Mentions that he likes Edinburgh and has been attending Church Parade at St Giles every Sunday morning. Reports that he will soon be billeted in a ballroom at Portobello. Hopes to get to France sometime in late November. Sent from 10th Scottish Battalion, King's Park, Edinburgh

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Letter from Noel Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse                 4 Oct 1914

Noel writes to his father, having retired early to take a lie down. Reports that he has joined a riding club run by a sergeant, which he enjoys as it gives him a chance to hear the views of the men of lower rank, who also attend. He was kicked by a fallen horse on the knee, but is alright. Has finished inoculating the whole camp, which was a huge task. There are a lot of sick men. Approximately 100 report ill each morning and have to be sorted in one hour. He is worried he will overlook a bad case in a hurry. He also has to train a squad of 16 stretcher bearers, of whom he is very fond. Will go into town tomorrow to get his father a birthday present. Read his brother Christopher's letter with interest. Sent from The Camp, King's Park, Edinburgh

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Postcard from Noel Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse            4 Oct 1914

Noel writes to his father explaining that he is sending him his second month's pay, which he should use to pay off various debts. Mentions that he is writing from bed, where he is resting his knee, which is still stiff. Is due to move to Portobello soon, but would rather stay in Edinburgh as it is toughening the men up. Sent from Home Defences, Edinburgh

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Letter from Noel Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse        Not dated, c. Nov 1914

Noel writes to his father to let him know that he is sending him money to pay for various bills that are due in his name. He is also sending him some photos he had taken, which are a present. No sending address given

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Letter from Noel Chavasse to Edith Chavasse                                  25-27 Oct 1914

Noel writes to his mother to let her know that he has left Edinburgh and that he is now billeted in Tunbridge. Is part of the 2nd Army Corps and hopes he will be sent to France sometime in the spring. Does not think he will really be ready before then. The work of vaccinating the battalion is now largely done. Mentions that he will take steps to prevent men from being deployed overseas who have refused to be vaccinated. The last week in Edinburgh was an anxious one due to an epidemic among the men. Is staying in billets in Tunbridge, which he rides round to inspect. Received news on 27 Oct that the regiment has been ordered to France. Expects that they will first be sent to the lines of communication. Has not yet been paid, so sent a bill for boots to his father, and asks for a £5 note. Mentions the clothes he bought before leaving Edinburgh and asks that his mother send him his woollen running jersey. Also asks for Christopher's address. Sent from Headquarters Liverpool Scottish, The Dell, Ferndale Rd, Tunbridge Wells

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Letter from Noel Chavasse to Francis James Chavasse                   29-31 Oct 1914

Noel writes to his father to let him know that he will not be leaving for France the next day, due to the poor state of the transport. Mentions he will be getting two new water carts with porcelain filters. Everyone is now getting kitted out with new kit, having previously been given obsolete equipment. Recounts how everywhere he goes he sees soldiers, dressed in their kilts, surrounded on one side by their weeping mothers and on the other by their fathers. One man has been waiting three days to see his son before he leaves. People seem to be bearing up well, but this is perhaps the most depressing sight Noel has seen so far. He apologises for not coming to see his parents before he leaves, but he has been busy with RAMC inspections. He has written to Dot [Chavasse] to see if her working party can provide warm clothing for his men, of whom he speaks fondly. The wait for clothing has further delayed departure, but this has given Noel time to write to his friends. Mentions the other officers, among whom are captains of rugby for both England and Scotland, as well as the best amateur golfer in England. A lot of the officers, who are often married men with children, are taking the news of departure hard, but a lot of the Scottish, who had previously not volunteered, are now rushing up to join. He read his brother Christopher's moving letter, which he urges his father to send to the Daily Post. Sent from The Dell, Tunbridge Wells

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Letter from Noel Chavasse to Dorothy Chavasse                               31 Oct 1914

Noel writes to his sister to thank her for the large parcel of clothes she sent for his men. Mentions his RAMC men, who will form a water squad, whose clothes and uniforms were in poor condition. He sent numerous telegrams to Army Stores and the RAMC on the matter, and also took trousers for them from the battalion clothes depot. This, plus the package he has now received, means the men are as well-equipped as any in the regiment. Doesn't know what lies ahead and rather dreads roughing it in winter, but he is devoted to the battalion. Sent from The Dell, Ferndale Rd, Tunbridge Wells

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