I have’nt the foggiest idea when mails go out up here, nor has anyone else I fancy, but as I have’nt written a line since I arrived to take over my new job I thought I’d do so now. I arrived just over a week ago after a rackety train journey & then 4 hours in a car, thanks to engine trouble & burst tyres. I did’nt get here till after 9 at night & the Brigade had quite given me up! Anyhow I arrived safely with all my goods & chattels, which after all is the main thing.
I have settled down more or less & am getting over the initial strangeness of things, though of course I find office work quite familiar after I have done so many years of it in the regiment as qr master & adjutant. My general, Genl Wauchope, is at present commanding the Division while the Divn General is away on leave, and a Col Wolff-Flanagan of the Royal West Kents is commanding the Bde temporarily- Buckle, Nance Swann’s brother in law who was killed early in the War, was in the R.W.K & Col W-F speaks very highly of him & knows Mrs Buckle well. I thought this might interest Paul & the Swann family generally. I like Col W.-F. very much, a charming man to work with- What with Col Keen on the Divl staff, & Col W-F in the Brigade, I seem to be fairly moved up with Paul’s in-laws & their friends.
This brigade is the end of all things on this front. Beyond us is the desert and – presumably! – the Turk, but where heaven knows, except that it’s a very long way off- So life is fairly peaceful, though it promises to be strenuous when the colder weather sets in & training & possibly active operations begin- on the whole it is very pleasant even now, with cold nights necessitating a blanket, & one night I found I wanted 2.
The river here is a lovely clear sea-blue, beautifully clean & running over a sandy shingly bed. On our side there are cliffs 60 to 90 feet high, but not on the other, which is flat and runs straight off into the desert. There is lots of grass & greenery round here, dried & burnt now after the summer, but I believe it is lovely in the late winter & early spring after rain, very like the higher reaches of the Euphrates where we went last March, lots of wild flowers, poppies & clover. But the river is the thing that delights me so; to see the lovely crystal-clear stream, blue as the Mediterranean, is a perfect joy after being on the banks of the same river lower down where it runs thick and dirty thanks to its muddy & silted-up bed.
Is’nt the news from France good & reassuring nowadays? I am so glad for all your sakes at home, after all the anxious times you had in March April and May. Has the turning point in our favour been reached I wonder? It seems almost safe to say so. In any case the news is the best we’ve had for many long weary months, and especially so coming so rapidly on the top of the depressing events of the earlier part of the year. Meanwhile things are at a standstill here – as usual! – except up the Caspian sea way, which I see Reuter refers to vaguely in his wires, so I presume it is permissible to mention it in our letters.
Rumour has it that the mails of London the latter ½ of June have been lost, but there is no confirmation of this yet. But it’s 3 weeks since we had a mail, & the next one is advertised to reach Bombay on 29th August. This they say has mails up to July 18th, & as our last letters from home are dated June 15th or so it seems that something has happened to the remaining June ones: as there is such a big gap-
A Turk’s ‘plane occasionally pays a visit, but has dropped no bombs so far. I shall be awful disappointed if the latter-half-of-June mails have been lost, as they wd contain Ben’s letters telling me of Nell’s stay with her, about which I have heard nothing yet. I’m afraid I put the poor child to a lot of worry and expense for nothing-
Have’nt seen or heard from Jim lately. He is on this line somewhere but someway back.
Love to all
yr loving son
Major Buckle DSO above Paul’s brother-in-law Charles Swan and Paul himself on the Sausthorpe village hall Roll of Honour
Died at Neuve Chapelle