11 November 1917 – Ted to Gertrude

11 Nov

Nov 11/17


Dear Mother

Two letters from you today, one from Pitney on 26th Sep & one from home on 3rd October. Thanks most awfully for them. I have half an idea that there is a mail missing, though we have not been warned of one being lost – as a matter of fact later mails do arrive sometimes before previous ones, as they occasionally go via Ceylon for some reason or other, & while they are doing that the next mail nips into Bombay & reaches us first- However the chief thing is that they should arrive sometime. I wrote to you 2 or 3 days ago so I have’nt much further news for you.

We got the home papers today with the wires about our Ramadi show in it, but I see they are very non-comittal & told you nothing beyond that the action was a success. I cabled to Nell as soon as I could to say I was all right, and I expect she sent it on to you, at least I hope so. The wires were rather congested just then so I only sent one.

Nell’s birthday today, she is 20, so is getting quite grown up! I hope Jane finished her present in time, somewhat novel perhaps & I hope Mrs Fielding won’t be shocked! Nell writes very cheerily & of course is wild at the prospect of my coming home next year. I hope the dear child realises that it is only an outside chance & may not be possible, but I’m going to have a jolly good try.

My chief bit of news this mail is that Col: D.B. is definitely giving up command on the 22nd of this month, and Jack Hogg has been appointed to succeed him. He is son of Col Hogg you know at Camberley, & is at present commanding our 3rd Bn: in India. He is an awful nice man & we are lucky to get him. The official letter says he will proceed to Mesopotamia “in due course”, which may mean anything. So when he arrives and Lyell, I shall drop to humble Captain again! But I can’t complain can I; I’ve had my innings & a jolly good one too; besides it is’nt over yet either, as I don’t suppose Hogg will be out much before Christmas.

I went out shooting this morning, it’s the first holiday the men have had since we left Baghdad last September. We have been so busy marching & digging that we have’nt had time for any “days off”. It’s rather a krewst here, as you have to have an escort to go out any distance from camp with, rather novel conditions to shoot under! However nothing exciting happened, & we brought back 6 partridges & 2 grouse so had quite a nice little outing.

I hope the stores have sent you some photographs- I sent you the key to them some time ago & if they have numbered them properly you should be able to tell exactly which is which. I have ordered them to send you another lot & send the key to the new lot herewith.

So glad you had a few days at Pitney, the fruit sounds gorgeous. Yes, Ben told me all about the air raids; terrible they sound, & it’s good (?) to get some inside news, as the papers tell us so little. They must do a lot of damage of course; you can’t miss anything, bound to hit something flying over London. They are terrible things all the same, & I sincerely trust we are paying the Boche back in some of his own coin by now.

Thanks most awfully for your contribution towards the mess Fortnum & Mason parcel. It’s most awfully good of you, & we shall all appreciate it most awfully when it arrives. I was particularly anxious to do something – however small – in return for all the good work fellows, who have served under me while I’ve been in command, have done for me. I could not have been better served, & I am frightfully glad to feel that you too are helping too- I do hope things turn up in time for Christmas, but things take years to arrive to this “outpost of empire” nowadays.

I see a picture of George Moodie’s fiancée in the Tatler this week- so Topher turned up on leave did he at last; I am glad to hear it, & I hope he liked it- Wish I’d known, I should have liked to have sent him the price of a sherry & bitters at least-

You say in your letter of Aug 21st that you sometimes feel a bit anxious about me, but please don’t my dear mother. I really & truly am awful fit now & am feeling so well an’ all & in this cold weather one ought to keep as well as anything.

Nell tells me she finds it very hard to get away now, her V.A.D hospital is only staffed with ½ the right number of nurses apparently, so she is pretty busy. I wish she would get away for a holiday & change, however short, all the same.

I don’t know how the mails run nowadays, especially so far away as we are, but I expect this will reach you some old time.

Best love to all

yr loving son


Am enclosing key to next lot of photographs, stores Bombay will send you

Ted later writes to Jane saying “I say, I told you did’nt I how fearfully bucked Nell was with the undies you made her; thanks awfully for making such ripping ones. I got some very old letters of hers last week, dated last July! In those she said Mrs F. had said she thought she ought to be getting her trousseau, & they went off & bought some Japanese silk for undies on the strength of it!” Though he doesn’t say whether Mrs Fielding was shocked.

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