Very many thanks for a letter of yours dated Nov 21st, which I got just after I had written to you last week. I got one from Dryden dated a week later, saying you had got my letter telling you about the Ramadi fighting, but that was the only one I got of so late a date – Nov 27th – so I expect yours must be wandering about looking for me somewhere-
In your letter you had just heard of Sir Stanley Maude’s death. Yes it was very sad and we can ill afford to lose so good a man. I am awfully glad I served under him, and as I told you I met him personally when he came to say pretty things to us after the Ramadi show-
Our long spell of really nice weather has broken up at last- We have had nearly a fortnight of really perfect weather, absolutely cloudless skies, brisk bright and very cold days & frost at nights- generally a cold wind too, but on the whole it could’nt have been nicer or more bracing. But today it has begun to rain, and I think we shall have 2 or 3 days of it now.
No news from here. We have had one or two visits from Turkish aeroplanes, and our guns fired at one but he got away. And a few days ago one of their machines had to come down behind our lines owing to engine trouble, & we got the pilot and observer. We also hear that those two airmen of ours who were lost the other day had had to come down owing to engine trouble & were captured by Turks, though they got back to within 14 miles of here. Bad luck was’nt it.
You were writing of Paul’s wedding which I suppose is a fait accompli now. I had a long letter from him last mail and he seemed very excited about it all. I also had a line from Jim, in India, but of course you will have heard from him too. He says he has not heard from me for ages, but I have written several times. His being on the move so much has made it difficult for letters to reach him I expect.
Very glad to hear Topher is having something done for his stammering and I do hope he gets a good long time in England now. I think it’s splendid the way he has stuck it so long- Yes we get rotten matches out here too, Japanese mostly and they won’t strike very often & the boxes are very weak & wobbly.
But we are being wonderfully well fed, and our rations supplemented by what we can buy at the M.E.F. Canteens, are really extraordinarily good. We get fresh baked bread, ample, bully beef & sometimes frozen meat, jam, bacon, cheese & sometimes butter- Then we can buy practically everything that was ever put in a tin at the Canteen, not regularly certainly, but remarkably often. Vegetables too we get, turnips, beans, & salad, and sometimes potatoes. At anyrate what we do get to eat is ample & good, & you would hardly know there was a war on if you came to lunch in our mess!
Of late we have had heaps, really a dozen or more, Christmas cakes, sugar, sultana, almond paste an’ all, and just as rich as any pre-war Buzzard! All from India of course, but still, marvellous is’nt it when we come to think of how hard it is to get things at home. Really you are having a much harder time than we are, taking it all round I think- We have’nt had any mail lately, at least since the 21st, but I see English letters of 4th & 8th December have arrived in the country & are on their way up.
Very few boats have been sunk at home these last 3 weeks. I do hope it means the thing is being really got in hand at last- And we read of strikes in Hungary & Austria, & of another in the German navy & perhaps this accounts for fewer ships being sunk as there may be fewer U-boats about. In any case, it’s a good sign and I sincerely trust it continues as low & lower-
It’s raining tonight & I can see we are in for a wet spell. It got a bit dusty the last fortnight, rather recalling the hot weather, but the rain ought to give us some respite yet.
Must go to bed. I have managed to wangle another blanket out of the quarter master, so I am warmer in bed now.
Love to all
yr loving son