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