13 November 1916 – Richard to Dreda

13 Nov

Monday. 13th.


My dear Dreda. I believe I owe you a letter don’t I? Many thanks for yours, write sometimes & give me any news. My dear I’ve just come back from the front & am now safe again! Who do you think I saw the other day. Topher! He was awfully pleased to see me I believe & of course we had a huge brick & he told me all about his leave & so on. What a nice little moustache he’s got, you really ought to tell him to go steady with it. He admired mine awfully & now he’s going to try and train his like mine! Poor boy has gone up again today I believe but I may be going up again in a day or two, so we must have another F.F.

Of course you can never imagine the state of the country up there, you’d never believe it. It’s no good trying to describe it, I can’t understand how anyone ever lived up there. There really is’nt room to walk between the shell holes & of course the mud is the limit. It’s so dangerous too. The shells keep dropping about around you as you ride up, & one might easily drop on one & give one a nasty blow. Oh lor too, the air fights & bombs dropping at night, I am sure it must be worse than that Zep raid you had at Guildford. I hate the moonlight nights as the Bosch always comes then, sterrible. And the guns going off all round you all day & all night,  & the big ones each time rattle the whole place, & the other night just as I was passing water into an old shell case before getting into bed, bang! goes a huge gun, out goes the candle & there was I in the dark, wondering what was going to happen next!

T’is funny being back here again & everything is calm & quiet. A comfortable bed with sheets & clean plates & cups to eat & drink with. On the whole I like the other best, one’s doing more, but enough’s as good as a feast & for the men it would be better to do 3 days in the trenches than a month’s making roads & railways up to just behind them.

I had tea with a Countess yesterday. Bow wow, and one daughter most fascinating, fair hair done in a huge chignon, & dark brown eyes, ripping figure & plays the piano so nicely. Please send me “The only girl in” etc to give her to play. Her aunt is the richest woman in Paris, so I’m all for it. The girl is about 18.

I must write to Topher.

Write to me again soon if you have time.

Best love



Here we see that Richard could be charming. His letters to his mother (who adored him) were little more than shopping lists, but this letter to his sister is as full of comment and incident as any of Ted’s. Now why couldn’t he write to his mother like this?

Possible countess

If You Were The Only Girl In The World

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