12 May 1916 – Ted to Gertrude

12 May

May 12/16


Dear Mother

As I told you before I think we got another mail yesterday, making 2 again this week. Are’nt they erratic. Yes, Nell said my letters were very late that week & she did’nt get them till Monday. I heard from her yesterday of course & she was delighted at the prospect of going to stay at Delaford, but how awfully short. But of course that can’t be helped as she works at the old hospital 3 times a week. I’m longing to hear how she got on, from both you and her. I hope she was nice and behaved herself! I wish I could have been there.

Quite a large week end party you must have had; what awful bad luck on Topher not being able to get home. I do think it’s rotten, especially as it was all a scare apparently, as as far as one can see there has been no pressing urgency on the British Front to warrant the stopping of all leave. Poor boy, I do hope he gets his leave soonish as he must be wanting some badly.

Fearful rain yesterday, but I think it did a lot of good, though perhaps it’s too late now to do any real permanent good. Anyhow it’s made the place gorgeously cool and clean, as we have had a lot of dust storms lately which simply coat the place in dust and are very unpleasant. Last night, just at dinner time there was a tremendous thunderstorm with brilliant lightning & very heavy rain; a wonderful sight the lightning, it seemed to be all colours, blue, purple & mauve. But it did clear the air anyhow and this morning (I am writing this at 6.30 a.m. before parade) it is simply gorgeous, cold, clean, & clear. The weather before the rain made one feel horribly sick, but it’s much better now.

I am sorry about old Lewis’ son. Yes Rather I remember the old man well, at anyrate by name, & I’ve often heard of the flying son, both in France & at Delaford. I know he had done awfully well out there and it does seem a shame he should have been killed. He’s been right through the war so far, has’nt he. Was’nt his daughter-in-law a friend of Spider’s? I remember meeting her there, & I think you said she had been to call on you the other day; rather a nice person I thought; anyhow she had heard of the Garhwalis I know, because her brother is in the 2/Leicesters who were brigaded with us in France.

The new arrangement upstairs sounds an improvement. In any case the view out over the lawn is much nicer than the other I think, and anyhow a change is always attractive. What about that old ceiling in the front room d’you think? Is it quite safe, though I don’t suppose it matters much if it does come down now. Yes, do go on sending the pink papers, we don’t get them & they are much appreciated. They have one or two very good war articles too. If you ever buy a “Saturday review” or a “Spectator” I should’nt mind that; one gets rather out of things here. The weekly times now rolls up direct; I could’nt get on without that.

Asquith has indeed stultified himself before the nation : it absolutely beats me how government hangs on; it’s only the loyalty of the people that prevents them getting up and having the whole lot out of it for a set of incompetent muddle-headed curs; I suppose the public realise this is a very critical time of the war, & not the time to swap horses while crossing the stream. How Germany must laugh at us, & what a show we are making before the allies who are putting every man into the field with not the slightest hesitation. What a terrible show that Irish business was; why can’t they hang that beast Casement straight off for high treason; surely a trial in the case of a man like that is a mere farce & quite unnecessary. He’s a self-proved traitor, caught absolutely red handed, & should be shot or hanged without ceremony. If he’s let off with a sentence of penal servitude I fancy the public will have something to say to it.


Gorgeous & fresh on parade this morning & there is a lovely clear view of the Snows today, a thing we have’nt seen since we’ve been back as it’s been too hazy.

I got a Cordwalles Chronicle yesterday, I must say old Vowles has got it up awfully well, & exactly the same as the old numbers. I must write and thank him as I think it’s awful good of him to take all that trouble with old boys.

Must end up now

Best love to all

yr loving son


Donald Swain Lewis

(Sir) Roger Casement

Painting by Lavery



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