Mail’s late this week so I have’nt had a line from you yet, but it ought to be in tomorrow or next day but I’m afraid it will be too late to answer it by this mail. Not much news this week. Still here! & likely to remain here I’m told till mid-June, not a very pleasing prospect, as we are in a very dusty camp & there’s nothing doing here. In any case we shan’t see any of the scrapping this spring, as the hot weather is coming on now & they don’t & can’t do much while that is on.
I hope you have’nt been wondering too much if I’ve been round about all this fighting they’ve had lately up north of Baghdad; well, anyhow you know by now that I’ve been no where near it, but have been sitting quietly at the base all the time. However I suppose we shall go up sometime and shall probably be in time for some of the fun next autumn – if the war is’nt over by then!
The weather has been truly varied in the week since I last wrote. We have had one or two piping hot days, but the last two days have been the worst, a howling gale with a perpetual sandstorm day & night. Really it’s been most trying & one’s eyes get so sore & the air is full of flying sand & you simply can’t get away from it, tents are no good as sand easily defeats them & the whole of one’s tent gets smothered in it too. The temperature dropped into the 80’s, thanks to the wind, but I would much rather have the higher temperature & no wind. It has made a valiant struggle to rain tonight, but it ended in a miserable failure, though it made a great exhibition & we had lots of thunder & lightning.
The Colonel has gone to hospital with a touch of dysentry; he was’nt at all well when he went, & I had a line from him yesterday saying he felt very weak & could’nt eat anything, & how thankful he was he had got away from the hot & dusty camp into a nice cool & clean hospital. So he evidently was’nt feeling up to much. I don’t know how long he will be away, but these things always take some time to get right, especially in countries & climates like this. Meanwhile I am commanding the regiment while he is away, & unless they think I’m too junior I suppose they will leave me in command till he comes back, & also if he is invalided to India for any length of time which I imagine is quite possible.
I have been out to dinner once or twice with various pals, & I have also been to one or two concerts given by amateur troups here, exactly the same sort of thing as you see photographs of in ‘the Sketch’ etc occasionally, performing in France or elsewhere. I must say they are awfully good, much the same as amateur pierrot shows always are, they seem to enjoy it as much as the audience, who are always most enthusiastic, & are obviously all out to enjoy themselves. I am going to one tonight at a hospital near here; I have got to know some of the doctors & nurses through various pals whom I’ve met & one of the nurses asked me to go tonight; since when I hear she has gone on a month’s leave to India!, but I’m going to the concert all the same.
Capt Fox has just come in to my tent & said the mail may be in this evening so p’raps I may get a letter from you today after all; but all these things are always very “p’rapsy”.
It’s turned out a lovely evening, after the awful squalls of the last 2 days & the wind has dropped a lot thank goodness. Fox & I went into the town yesterday, to do some shopping; we went down by the river, & as there was this strong wind blowing, we sailed down in a very crazy craft, & I’m sure we nearly upset heaps of times, though the boatmen said it was all right : at least I imagine they said that, though I did’nt understand a single word really! Anyhow it felt very unsafe as the river was really quite rough & choppy in the wind. But we fairly whizzed along, so different to the usual method of progression by being punted & paddled, which is deadly slow. I’m having an early dinner with my friend in the wireless mess to get to the concert in time, so I must wind up.
Best love to all
Yr loving son
Samarrah offensive north of Baghdad, April 1917