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Letter from Hartley Stuttard

This letter was sent home following the sinking of 'The Royal Edward' in August 1915.

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Aug 16th
Dear Wife
a line or two to let you know I have got on solid ground again after being on the water a little over a fortnight I will try to tell you of the experiences we have gone through we arrived at alexandria all right and we stayed a short time before tarting for the front we were on our second days sail shortly after breakfast I was at the stern of the boat when we saw something making a strait line for our boat then bang we knew what had happened I tried to get on the upper Deck for my life belt but could not for the men coming down the steps so I went and fell in besides the life boat but when it came down it was full and the vessel was sinking fast in fact the water was washing over the deck so I made up my mind and dived for it I got on a boat but no sooner had I done so than I saw the mast falling towards me into the sea I went again and caught some floating wreckage I looked round and saw the mast had broken the boat in two at this time the vessel had practicly sunk the stern was deep down in the water and her bows high up in the air and then down she went she was at the most four minutes from being struck to going out of sight I was floating about for half an hour when I got hold of a life belt and managed to get it on me somehow then a door came floating besides me and I got on to it after being on the water for an hour I was picked up by a raft with five fellows on it after a while we sighted what proved to be an Hospital ship coming to the rescue and we were rescued after being in the water at least three hours everything was done cooly and bravely and everybody faced the sitinuation as only British heroes can do I have not seen your Harrison wether he has gone or not I do not know some more have joined us to day who were picked up by a French boat there are some more who have been picked up by another boatwe can only hope he may be amongst those I am a bit shaken yet and have a slight bruise on both knees we were treated with great care on the Hospital ship and they are to be congratulated on the manner in which they carried out their duties well I hope you are quiet well and hope it will not be long before I hear from you I will write again soon give my love to mother and the others Your loving Husband Hartley.

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