Very many thanks for a letter of yours yesterday dated Aug 29th. I got it on my return from Baghdad. Did I tell you, by the way, of my going there. I had awful toothache, so I got a week’s leave to go and see the dentist. The journey takes 4 days, 2 days each way, over most appaling roads with 2 foot ruts and clouds and clouds of dust, really quite indescribable. You have to get down as best you can, as there is no regular means of course, I mean no railway or anything like that. But there are motor lorries going backwards & forwards with rations etc & you have to pick up lifts here & there in those. It’s a very rough & jolty journey & very tiring as you may imagine. We are about 70 miles out, & you do about ½ the journey each day, an experience I can tell you!
Yesterday I started at 6.30 & got in here at 11, driving through a bitter cold N. wind all the way. I had 3 days in Baghdad, & the dentist – a very good one – found a wisdom tooth badly gone & so he killed nerves & things & sort of ½ finished it, but I have to go & see him in about a week’s time again to be finished off. This time however he is coming to ½ way house, so I shan’t have to go so far thank goodness.
I had quite an amusing time in Baghdad, though I did’nt have much time to do anything except see the dentist & do some shopping – of course we are clean out of all luxuries etc up here so I had heaps of commisions to do for lots of people, & that took up a good deal of time, – I know several people on Maude’s staff, so I went round & saw them occasionally, & had’nt much time to spare, still there’s no harm done in going to see them.
It’s very pleasant up here now, and really cold nights & mornings. The flies have been almost unbearable at times, but an organised campaign against them has had excellent results and they are not so bad now. I see Paul’s engagement in the Times, also in the Tatler, so I presume old man Swann has consented to the wedding.
I got a cable from Nell yesterday. I cabled to them 2 or 3 days after the fight last month, saying I was all right, & that the regt: had done well, & I imagine there is an answer to it. It takes long enough these days does’nt it? I see Genl: Brooking our General, has been given a K.C.M.G as a reward for his services in the capture of Ramadi, so they are evidently very pleased with him & all he did. It’s good to have been in such a successful show.
So glad Dick managed to get home on leave. Topher too you say was expected. Now that the push in Flanders is definitely over I suppose they will give leave more freely. Everyone seems very satisfied with the results of the year’s fighting, & I suppose we have made a lot of difference, for we have all the best & highest ground, though we have not gained very much actual area. Still I presume we shall go on hammering the Boche all the winter with artillery and give him no rest, & then the Americans coming in next March or so ought to help a lot, especially with their air fleet. Did’nt the French do splendidly the other day strafing all those Zeps! A wonderful piece of work.
I had’nt seen Romer Baggallay’s name in the roll of honour. It’s so dreadfully long nowadays that I’m afraid one often misses a name, & very often whole lists. I do hope he’s all right. Charlie Anderson a Col: too! As you say, at last. Has he been out to the front at all? As far as I remember he had’nt when I last heard.
No news out here, & you get all there is in the papers I expect. We get little or none out here, even of the doings of our next door neighbours.
I’ve got all the magazines you’ve sent out – very many thanks for them, they are most acceptable.
I believe this is the Christmas mail, but it seems very uncertain- However I may as well send along my greeting in this letter. I believe there are some Christmas cards available, & I’ll try and send you some of those if I get hold of any.
All going strong here and nothing much doing round our way, except digging trenches-
Best love at all, & “that old wish”.
Ever yr loving son
Major-General H T Brooking, commanding 15th Indian Division, third in this film of Mespot General Staff
Eleven Zeppelins Raid France – Four brought down (Auckland Star, 22/10/17)
Lt Col Richard Romer Claude Baggallay http://www.thepeerage.com/p8366.htm#i83656