No 2 British Genl: Hospital
Please don’t be alarmed at the address, as it only means I’m in here for a few days to get over a slight go of dysentery, & I ought to be fit again shortly & back with the regiment, certainly easily by the time you get this. I felt rotten all last week in camp & had symptoms of dysentery, but I did’nt want to come to hospital & our M-O- treated me in camp. But I got no better, & after all it’s the wisest thing to get these things treated properly early, before they get a hold of you, then they are much more easily cured. So on Sunday (this is Wednesday) I came in here, & am now under treatment. I am much better, even in these three days; they won’t let me out of bed, but that is the usual thing I believe, rest & quiet, & injections of stuff called “emitine” which is certainly marvellous in its results.
The first 3 days I was here I was on “fluid” diet, milk & egg flips & weak soup, a very dull affair! But today I have been promoted to “semi-solid”, which means custard for lunch & an egg for breakfast & tea – I hope they did’nt send any alarmist wires home about me. Dysentery I believe is always reported as a “seriously ill” case, & I asked the Doctor here not to be too depressing, but he has to wire home about all officers admitted to hospital- I am thinking of wiring to you also, to say I’m all right, which I really am – I fancy I have a very mild go, & have caught it early in its career, so I shall soon be back with the regiment again. This emitine takes 10 days through, & by the time that’s finished I ought to be quite fit again. So don’t worry in the least about me please; I’m perfectly all right, & am feeling most awfully fit, & very hungry! as all last week I was on slops, milk & eggs etc, & they cut your food down here too, & I’m told it’s a good sign to be hungry. Anyhow the doctor was fearfully pleased with me this morning, & as I say, promoted me to semi-solids, so I’ll be all right again in no time-
Thanks awfully for a mail letter which I got yesterday, most opportunely on my birthday. It was dated 23rd May- The matron here gave me a few hankies & a writing block & some shaving soap from the Red X as presents, & everyone was very nice. The sisters are perfect darlings of course, & treat one like mothers; they are simply magnificent, & it’s impossible not to get well quickly under their treatment. I do admire them so, working in all the awful heat. Of course we have electric fans in hospital here, & it’s most awfully comfortable, just like home.
The actual building is the former residence of the Turkish governor of Amara, before we drove them out of it in 1915; it is built on the banks of the Tigris, & is a big square building, 2 storeys, with a courtyard place in the middle, & can accomodate about 60 patients, all officers: the men are all accomodated in the old Turkish barracks close by. At present there are only about 30 patients, & only 2 of us dysenterys, my stable companion being an army vet: quite a nice person. Fox & our doctor strolled in to see me last night, as it’s only about 2 miles to camp. They were surprised to see me looking “so well”, as they said, & told me I looked a hundred times fitter than when I came in on Sunday.
It’s been very hot these last 3 days, up to 118º in the shade, but these fans cool the place a lot of course: still it’s hottish o’ nights, & hard to get to sleep sometimes. They have just brought me my evening basin of water, so I must perform that very unsatisfactory duty of trying to wash in bed; useless I call it!
I have’nt yet met Desmond Gabb, as you see we (our brigade, that is) have been split up so far, & we shan’t all meet till we all collect at Baghdad sooner or later. When we do collect I must certainly go over to the Queens & see if I can find any old pals or if I know anyone by name.
We get no more mails now for a month, as the ones we got yesterday were the 24th May, & the 31st May ones were sunk- By the way, the ship was sunk sixty miles from Bombay! By a mine, dropped by some neutral I suppose, or possibly a raider. Sickening is’nt it getting so near as that and then being sunk.
Many thanks for Printer’s Pie which came yesterday, I have’nt read it yet, but have had a good laugh at some of the pictures. Several other papers also turned up, for which very many thanks, but I have’nt had time to read them yet. I will finish this off tomorrow, & give you the latest news of my condition after the Doctor’s made his morning rounds. I’m certainly feeling very fit this evening. Good-night.
He continued the letter the next day
Probable location of Hospital, scene of further siege in 2004
SS Mongolia, sunk 23/06/17
Images from Printer’s Pie