My dear Mother
Many thanks for the Sketch & Spectator & Pictorial. What an awful raid I saw that was. I do hope they don’t get to Guildford. Hot as blazes nowadays. I love it.
Topher is always saying I never have any work to do! When you write to him say you hear “Richard says he is working very hard nowadays & says he gets so tired, so mind you look after him well.” It will make him laugh.
Best love to all,
Yr loving son
Folkestone raid, 25th May
Given that Richard was a doctor, his work was presumably extremely grim. His relationship with his mother was always heavily veiled and his letters were nowhere near as open as Ted’s or Paul’s. He was one of those spoilt, entitled children who learned far too young they could ignore or bully their adoring women-folk and get away with it. It’s frustrating: Gertrude volunteered with the Red Cross, so we could have been evesdropping on shop-talk between a doctor and a nurse if Richard had chosen to be more open with her. If he had Ted’s enthusiam for his profession he would have been discussing the efficacy of pain killers or new ways of treating the injured in the field. If he had Paul’s concern to find things that would interest her he would be describing their working conditions. As it is, his letters in 1917 are little more than shopping lists. He’s exhausted, he’s dealing with unimaginable horrors, he’s probably finding Topher exasperating but cannot say so, so it’s impertinent of me to compare him unfavourably with Ted and Paul who are not under such contstant strain. But I do.