17 January 1917 – Paul to Gertrude

17 Jan

c/o G.P.O.

Wednesday 17th Jany


Dearest Mother – Thank you for your letter – yes I knew you would get it quicker – because we had a change of atmosphere for about 6 or 7 days the other day – quite pleasant it was & such a change from the monotony where we are now. The weather is simply too lovely here – nice bright sunny brisk days, & I have been ashore yesterday & today & played golf & taken a certain amount of exercise; am feeling awfully fit and well.

Yes. I have told Dick about my leave etc- there seem to be chances of it being a little later now, only a matter of days though. I am looking forward to it so. I have heard from him often – & all about Topher. It must be ripping for them both.

I am awfully sorry Ben did’nt wait a bit till she had heard from me again because I told her definitely I knew Nance would help her – Mrs Conway Gordon’s niece – I told you about her before did’nt I? – & Nance went up to Town to try & meet Ben & fix things up because she hates the idea of getting a job anywhere alone & was fearfully keen to meet Ben an’ all – she told me she was awfully disappointed. I don’t blame Ben really – but she was so keen hen she wrote first & I suggested this & now it all seems to have fallen through – for the time being- I don’t believe Ben really likes that canteen work. Nance tells me she’s got a room at Jane’s place – I told her originally to go & see Jane & see if she could fix it up – I am awfully pleased.

I was wondering whether you would ask her down one week-end – Jane could easily bring her could’nt she – will you Mother? Don’t say anything to Ben about what I have said – I may be all wrong in my ideas – but I am disappointed.

Does seem rather funny about Specs – I wonder how he manages to evade being called up. [The clue might be in the name. There was a minimal eyesight requirement for most of the services.]

Oh I am sending some clothes to be washed – garments I wore in our theatricals – I could’nt quite send them to my laundry – they’d have a fit. When you’ve washed the stockings you might give them to Jane to give back to Nance – they are hers. The other garments you might send back – as they are “property Box” now. Never mind about the ribbons!!-

Goodnight Mother-

with best love to you all-

Your ever loving son


It’s hard to tell who takes Gertrude’s patience more for granted, Paul who is reasonably polite but sends her his darning and laundry, or Richard who is more peremptory but at least doesn’t ask her to do laundry.

Paul’s considerable charm was clearly working on Nancy, but it’s impossible to know when their friendship tipped over into romance. It’s also hard to understand who was where at this time. Paul was presumably still in Rosyth which suggests Nancy’s aunt Mrs Conway Gordon was also in Scotland, but Nancy is clearly in London.

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Posted by on 17 January, '17 in About


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