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Letter to Commander Geoffrey Haggard

Date: 27 August 1917
Dimensions:
Overall: 185 x 110 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jennifer Smyth
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Letter
Object No: 00015823

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    Description
    A letter to Commander Geoffrey Haggard from his brother, Captain Rider Lancelot Haggard, dated 27 August 1917.
    Captain Haggard was on leave from France at the time. He would be killed on 30 October 1917 at Passchendale during the assault on Meetcheele Ridge by shell fire at 6.00 a.m.
    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.

    On active service.
    27.8.17

    My dear old chap,
    How is the world treating you. I hear you have been moved to another part. Hope it is o.k. Am glad to hear parcels keep coming in a bit better now. Well I am still out at the [?] and have had a pretty lucky time in a great many ways. Just at present I have left the Reg't for five weeks to do a special course & it is fine to get away for a bit. I hope to go on ten days leave soon. My God, I only wish you could be there with us all. However we hope that some day it will be all through & then. By the way I have got my third [?] what is known as a temporary promotion which is th bet one can get without being a regular soldier. As a mater of fact I am seriously thinking of staying on after the war & hope to retain any rank. Have found that this life suits me a lot better than a bank & I am awfully glad I wasa Tomy once. It has helped me an awful lot. By the way, I haven't heard from Billy Dupen [?] for many a long day. She is a worse correspondent than I am & that is syaing something. I hope to see her on leave however. Phyllis is doing some nursing again. She is fed up with the war ofice work. She is a wonder that girl. Have lately managed a game or two of Rugger. Find that my/any ancient skill has not quite deserted me, though my wind is not what it used to be. This I suppose is the effect of too much smoke & whiskey & soda. Imagine you don't get such luxuries as that. We don't very often but it can be managed sometimes. Well old fellow must dry up. Keep cheery & perhaps we shall all be together soon. But anyway keep your tail up.
    Cheerio,
    Your ever loving brother
    Lance
    R.L. Haggard
    P.S. Address me at home.

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