I got 4 lovely long letters from you on the 24th, forwarded from Cox Bombay. I’m afraid all my letters home now are rather pathetic as they are mostly in answer to my letters written saying I was coming home, & you were sort of expecting wires and cables and things. The mails are most erratic just at present, at least mine are, & they arrive all jumbled up & some letters written much later than others seem to arrive first. But after all it does’nt matter much as long as they do turn up eventually, & that I think is the most wonderful part, how really regular they are & how few get lost, practically none nowadays – tap wood!
Your letters were dated 24th April 1st May 22nd May 29th May- covering 5 weeks you see, & I got them all by one post! I think I have already had letters from you dated between 1st & 22nd May, in fact I know I have & have answered them. In none of them I have just got, had you received a mail: but we were on the Khan Baghdadi show about then, & I expect they were considerably delayed as our communications were rather rocky for a time. I sent a lot of photographs – mostly of me & some shooting expeditions I think- home about then, I wonder if they ever arrived safely?
Very many thanks for these letters. In your last one of May 29th you say Ben & James & Nell had been down for the week end, but the latest letters I have from Ben & Nell were written just before Nell went to stay with Ben! So their letters all about it should be on the road somewhere. I’m so glad Nell was looking so well and nice, and awfully glad too she managed to go to Delaford again. I long to see the dear child again, & I feel I’m treating her very badly by being so long away & keeping her waiting so. But I’m afraid it can’t be helped.
You say too in your 29th May letter that you had heard from Jim about his starting for this country, & I hope by now you’ve got our letters telling of our various meetings. I had a line from him today and he may be coming down here for a few days at the beginning of August.
I do hope Topher finds a suitable job: he ought to be able to get into the A.S.C easy enough; on the whole better than the Indian Transport I think, as that means a journey out here, a language to learn, & probably a long wait attached to an infantry regiment before he could transfer. Of course the pay would be better, but if he does’nt intend to make a career of it I think the A.S.C decidedly preferable. But I don’t think they are doing him very well considering his service. I wish I were home, then I’m sure I could buzz round & go and see his colonel etc & get things moving. The cry seems to be for men & officers in every branch, that I always fail to understand any hitch nowadays.
Righto, I enclose authority for the watch. How absurd these little points of the law seem, but I suppose they are necessary. Praps Nell would like the watch for her dressing table. If so, could you get a nice leather sort of fold-up travelling case for it & send it along. I have no idea what it’s like of course, but I imagine it’s a biggish-faced old fashioned one. I’ve just scribbled the enclosed legal document for you; rather good I think, don’t you! I hope it will achieve its purpose anyhow.
So Harold Gabb has qualified at last: & married too! I never realised he was even engaged. How’s Geoffrey these days? He sounds better, if he’s able to play tennis. In your May 22 letter you speak of the warm weather. We have had a wonderfully mild summer really & have got off lightly this year. I should like a book of Academy pictures if you can find one, as you say in your letter you & Ben were going there. The papers don’t seem to think much of it on the whole.
So Dick has sailed for Egypt at last, that means Palestine & Jerusalem I suppose. I should like to go to that front most awfully, but I’m afraid there’s no chance. Yes, he has been a long time home & you must miss him. Yes rather I got Jane’s cable about her engagement, but I don’t think I cabled back as all the wires were being used for official cables then on those K. Baghdadi operations: but I wrote & I expect she’s got the letter by now.
I hope Dreda will stick to her hospital job & not take on the companion business. There seems to be a big call for women for all kinds of war work now and I think the hospital job ought to come first, & old ladies must wait for their companions till after the war: from your letter it seems she was’nt going to take the job for this reason, so that’s all right. Yes rather, I get papers regularly, but I asked you did’nt I about the pink ones, I don’t want them any more. I like my sketch & mirror & spectator, they keep one amused & abreast of the times respectively.
In your 1st May letter – I seem to be answering them backwards – you say you hope my leave has not been knocked on the head, but I am afraid your worst fears have been realized, for the present at any rate. I have hopes of next year still. Paul & Nance are lucky seeing so much of each other, lovely for them.
In your April 23rd letter you had had letters from me of Feb 12 & 20th, saying I might be coming home. Yes it’s 2½ years now since I left: hope it won’t be 2½ years more before I get home again!
The news from France is really most encouraging is’nt it, & the French are doing splendidly. How wonderful they are, for they have suffered such terrific losses in the war, but they still go on attacking & winning battles. True, they are fighting to win back their own country from a loathsome enemy, & that must be a tremendous incentive to go on till the last man is left. And meanwhile the Americans are coming across fast & are fighting splendidly; and above all we have the authority of Lloyd George, Jellicoe & Admiral Sims that the submarines are well in hand at last & have ceased to be a determining factor in the war.
I wonder if things are really taking a turn for the better, permanently, at last: please God they are. Yes the budget was alarming: what about this luxury tax? Very sensible & necessary I think: by all means let people wear silk underclothes if they like, but they must pay for them in war time.
Must end up now
Best love to all
yr loving son
Capt. Harold Percy Gabb MC, joined the RCS and on 23rd May 1918 married Nancy, daughter of Sir George Wyatt Truscott, 1st Baronet and Lord Mayor of London 1908-09
From the Index of Old Epsomian Biographies between 1890 and 1914
Gabb, Harold Percy (1890-1964).
Epsom College: 1904-1907
HAROLD PERCY GABB (1890-1964). M.C., T.D., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. (Eng.) [Epsom College 1904-1907] was the son of Dr J. P. A. Gabb, of Guildford, Surrey, and brother of Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Alwyne Gabb, O.B.E., M.C. [Epsom College 1898-1904}. He received his medical education at University College Hospital, and went into general practice at Guildford,
Surrey. During the First World War he served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the R.A.M.C.
Bonar Law on introduction of a Luxury tax
Companions are still hired today, though the role is perhaps more formalised than it was 100 years ago: