Not all the letters are grim.
I am surprised how much time some of them spent in England. Not Paul, at sea in the Navy, but Richard was a doctor and was posted in troop hospitals on the English coast during 1915. I am not sure what Jim was doing in England at this time (few of his letters survive) and Ted was either on leave or training troops during this day trip straight out of Betjeman:
My dear Mother. I expect you’ve heard of Ted’s & my trip to see Mrs Hughes Hewett. We enjoyed it awfully & it was a pity Ted had to come away so soon. He missed so much of the motor part. It was so nice seeing Blanche again, & Diana is a dear little girl.
I motored back here & found nothing doing. No wounded & the place empty. I wonder whatever they will do with us. I must try & get up to see you all again soon. I miss Ben, she has not written yet, but I suspect she is busy with her new job. Please tell her I have been to Swanage today. Quite a nice little place & such a good tea. Honey – cream – lovely bread & butter & gorgeous cakes! I took Miss Twining.
I am wiring to Jim tonight to get him over for a dance tomorrow. He’s been here on Sunday. Lovely weather nowadays. I bathed today and enjoyed it.
Best love to all
Yr loving son
Wherever he is outside the trenches, Richard stays in the best hotels and his letters are full of pretty girls, dances, motorcars, race-horses and occasional tallies of figures as he works out how to pay for them all.