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Letter to Commander Geoffrey Haggard

Date: 6 June 1915
Overall: 165 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jennifer Smyth
Object Name: Letter
Object No: 00015821
Place Manufactured:London

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    Letter to Commander Geoffrey Haggard from his brother, Captain Rider Lancelot Haggard, dated 6th June, 1915.
    The letter was sent to Haggard while he was a prisoner of war at Afyonkarahisar (Afion-Kara-Hissar) in Turkey.
    SignificanceLieutenant Haggard, his Commander Henry Stoker and the rest of the crew from the submarine AE2 were picked up by the Turkish boat SULTAN HISSAR after scuttling their submarine on 30 Aptril 1915 in the Sea of Marmora. The whole crew then spent the next 3 1/2 years as prisoners of war throughout Turkey and four crew members later died as a result of illness due to the harsh conditions experienced.
    HistoryThe crew were taken by the torpedo boat SULTAN HISSAR to Istanbul in May. The prison here was a Turkish civilian prison and in an account given by Commander Stoker, the conditions there were extremely difficult (Report prepared by Commander Stoker, 27 November 1918). The crew and were later transferred to various camps throughout Turkey, including Afion Kara Hissar, St Stefano and Belmedik. Conditions in each camp varied but some were worse than others. Camp commandants, poor quality food and extreme work conditions contributed to any deaths.
    Lieutenant Haggard seemed to suffer particular hardships. Targeted by Commandant Bimbashi Musloum Bey in the Afion Kara Hissar prison, Haggard was subjected to long bouts of solitary confinement and certainly suffered long term effects for the rest of his life from his years in Turkey.

    25 Pelham Crescent
    June 6th 1915.

    My poor dear old chap,
    I am feeling awfully sorry for you, but I hope this letter will cheer you up. I would like to say alot more but can't.
    Well I must thank you very much for your letter dated April 23rd your last before we heard about the AE2 going down. I didn’t get it till about May 15th which was after we had the first rumour of the AE2.
    Well, my dear old foot is really getting along splendidly but fervently thank my lucky stars that I am out of hospital & home at last. About 3 weeks ago my doctor in the hospital brought a specialist round to see my foot & he said it would take six weeks at least. I wrote home about this of course so dad started to try & dig me out after over a fortnights continual worrying at the authorities & endless difficulties in surmounting miles & miles of Red Tape, I eventually got home two days ago.
    Some time ago in hospital, the doctor thought it would be a good idea to graft a piece of skin on to place on my foot. So one morning he started off & chopped a piece of skin off my leg about half way between the ankle & knee of the same leg as the foot. The skin graft of Couse was no good & did not take at all as my foot was not ready for anything like that, in fact was still discharging & rather dirty. However that wasn’t the worst of it at all. The place where the skin was taken off turned septic & now there is a place on my leg as bad as the one on my foot ever was.
    But still it isn’t in such an awkward place as the one on my foot.
    However I am now under Doctor Harvey & with his tender care both places seem to be making somerel progress. I can walk a bit but my leg altogether is rather weak & I am supposed to keep it in a horizontal position as much as possible. The real trouble really was that fact that I got my foot slightly frozen during the winter in the trenches & that hindered [?] place from healing up properly. I'm afraid that anyone who has suffered from frostbite or trench foot as they call it will always be somewhat gouty or liable to attacks of reumitis [?]
    Now that I am home I am going to try to get my commission in my Reg't. A remark in one of your letters made me really realize that it was up to me to try & get it. I must admit that it had really never struck me as it being my duty & I was quite content to go on as I was. I think I ought to be able to get it all right: the chap I joined with, who is a very great pal of mine got his on the field. His name is Triggs & his brother in the service in submarines: I wonder if you have ever met him.
    By Joves, it is great to be home again. I have got a months leave & ought to be fit by that time. It is over four years ago since I left home & except or a few days leave (a very few by the way) before I actually left England & visits to the hospital have seen nothing of the people.
    I really don't think dear Mother has changed much. She is perhaps a little older but I'll swear that no one would guess her real age.
    The gov'ner I think has aged quite a bit. H is having a very bad time with the club just at present & it worries him alot.
    He isn’t very well just now either but still he is very youthful yet. I don't really know what to say about Phil. But I really think she is about as near perfection as it is possible for any female to be. She is an angel & I am just waiting till I can get around a bit so as to give her as good a time as Jean.
    She seems to have lots to do & there is no doubt that she is "doing her bit" with the best of them. I haven't seen any of the rest of the family except Fran who is as cheery as ever. She is a remarkable girl & never seems to stop talking. Poor Mark's wife took Phyll & me & Joan out for a run in her two seater yesterday. She drive it awfully well & seems to live in it.
    I have hopes of seeing the fair [?]angly before my leave is up. I haven’t seen the Will family for "donkeys" years. Lilas I saw for a few minutes before I went to France. She was as cheery as ever. I haven’t seen Phoebe since she was married: we have good news of Dave, but not very exciting.
    Well I am anxious to get back again I have had too long a rest. Altogether now I have been laid up since the beginning of February. Too long altogether.
    Next time I go I shall probably get a souvenir of the most unpleasant kind.
    I was awfully thankful when we finally heard that you were safe & sound. I am looking forward to our next meeting. May it come soon!
    Well, old chap, I am going to stop. My news has run dry. The family will be writing in a day or two but in the meanwhile we all send our very best love. Goodbye old chap & best luck.
    Ever your affectionate brother Laurie [?]

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