Very many thanks for an unexpected letter from you yesterday dated July 23, it seems to have come a long way round somehow & been considerably delayed as I have letters up to Aug 12th from you & Nell. I got 2 letters from Nell yesterday too, & a London Magazine from you for which many thanks, most welcome.
So glad your rest and change at Totland were so pleasing & good for you, I knew they would be and you wanted and deserved a few days off- Coo – as Nell says – what would’nt I give for even one day’s real loaf on the sands. However that’ll all come someday, & meanwhile I suppose we must all get down to it & finish off this little matter we’ve got in hand. Not that we seem to be doing nuch towards it out here! But we are ordered to be here, so that’s that.
Meanwhile what wonderful things the Allies are doing in France, truly marvellous performances which we read of with tremendous admiration and envy out here. The troops are magnificent are’nt they and no obstacle seems to stop them. And now the Boche is beginning to squeal & this peace offensive is a sign of the times. Of course by the time you get this it will be a thing of the past – one way or the other. It sounds attractive in its way, but somehow I feel sure the allies will have nothing to do with it. Wilson is the big man now on the allies’ side, & he is all out to have the Hun out of France & Belgium by force of arms, & I don’t think he will listen to any peace proposals till the Allies are in a position to dictate terms.
And we can do that, true at the cost of more lives and money and still greater sacrifices than we have made already, but it’s worth it, & besides I’m sure it’s our duty to ourselves, to the world, & to posterity to finish this thing off for once & for all and not give the Hun a loop-hole or a chance to set the world ablaze again, and to make such an example of him that no nation will ever attempt world conquest again-
Wilson says you can’t trust the Boche, and he’s quite right too. Look how the exchange of prisoners fell through because the Boche did’nt fulfil his part of the bargain so the French dropped the negotiations at once. You simply cannot put any faith in his spoken & written word. It’s his own fault, & he must stand or fall by what his enemies think of him, opinions formed on his behaviour in this war, where he has shown such utter disregard for what we call “playing the game” for want of a better expression – and so my contention is don’t let’s listen to any of these specious proposals for peace conferences etc- Let’s go on till we can say what we want & with the power & victory behind us to enforce our wishes.
After all we’ve made tremendous sacrifices to get thus far, and we have got on so magnificently lately and really turned the corner at last, that it would be wrong I feel sure to stop now. It means more sorrow, more sadness I know to go on, but as I say I think it’s our duty to go on & finish the thing off properly- otherwise it only means a repetition of it all someday, and a thousand times more sorrow and sadness and sacrifice then than a completion of the job now will involve-
What a dissertation! But I do feel so strongly on these points, & I’m sure everyone feels the same. I say you got at Teddy Darwen all right, & quite right too I think – unless he can produce good sound reasons I don’t see why he should’nt shoulder a gun & go to the wars- And fancy not wanting to do something for old England, instead of making cardboard or something! However, p’raps he’s gone now. Anyway you are indeed in a position to criticise- Talk about your sons, my dear mother, you are doing splendid war work yourself, and anything we do or achieve we owe to you & you only just because you are our Mother-
The news is so consistently good nowadays that the crowd round Reuters’ daily wire & the war map in the mess is huge daily here! I’m afraid it’s costing us a lot, as you can’t break through these highly organised defences for nothing.
I am writing this before breakfast, a lovely fresh morning, & thank heavens the hot weather is done now. It hung on & hung on all through September in a most trying way, just at a time when you begin to think it’s all over & every extra hot day makes you feel more weary & faded than ever.
Best love to all
yr loving son
Ye gods, the irony. Of all Ted’s letters, this passage is probably the most painful to read 100 years on:
“I’m sure it’s our duty to ourselves, to the world, & to posterity to finish this thing off for once & for all and not give the Hun a loop-hole or a chance to set the world ablaze again”
The Treaty of Versailles – so vindictive and punitive – gave us an even greater conflagration in WW2, whereas the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947 have given us over 70 years of peace in Europe. Yalta, of course, was another matter.