It seems a long time since I wrote to you, but mails are so erratic & they don’t even let you know when they do leave Bombay, so one simply can’t judge when to write. In any case I have long since ceased to worry about mail days & generally write once a week & trust to luck. I have’nt had much time these last 2 weeks, as this old infantry school has kept me very busy. It ended on 25th, & we have a week before it begins again, and I have managed to get away for 2 days of that week.
I have come up the line a bit to stay with Fred Lumb in the 1st Battn, and to see how things are getting on. I only know one or two of them now but it has been a very pleasant change besides being a new part of the world to see. I go back tomorrow, as I have lots of things to get ready for the next course.
I believe there is a mail in Baghdad today, from London up to 29th March, so I ought to get letters giving accounts of old Ben’s wedding, and also descriptions of how Nell looked. I did just get one letter from you last mail saying she looked thin but well, but I hope to get more detailed news of her when I get back.
This old infantry school is most awfully strenuous. We work 5-8 every morning outdoors, lectures 10-30 to 1 & private work for students & correcting papers etc for us in the afternoon. And as the weather is warming up a bit now it takes it out of one a bit. However I must say it is remarkably cool for the time of year, & besides we have electric fans at the school which helps a lot.
This morning I met the Russian General Baratoff, who used to command the Russian troops who were working with us out here. But of course that’s all bust up now & he has come in to us. Sam Orton is taking him round to see all the sights & he suddenly rolled up here this morning – with all his staff & several generals etc. He was dressed just like a cossack out of a book, double-breasted coat an’ all & medals & swords & a very hot-looking sheepskin hat, most unsuitable for the weather I should think, in fact his whole get up was. It was interesting to meet him, though of course our conversation was limited!
I did’nt see Jim again after that Sunday I saw him in hospital. He got all right again & then went off pretty soon to join his regiment, & I have heard from him once since then.
I went to see the Nuns at the French convent in Baghdad on Sunday. They take in Armenian girls there & other refugees. They wear convent kit of course with that funny starched white cap. They are dears, & always awfully pleased to see one. They make all sorts of things, these lovely silk cloaks & scarves, lace & underclothes and sell them to help towards the upkeep of the place. They are all French, & were most awfully good to our wounded after Kut fell in April ’16, & 3 of them were decorated by Genl Maude with the Royal Red Cross. I must go & see them again some day.
Col Keen, who runs our school, funnily enough knows old Col Swann intimately, & the family too, in fact he married one of the family who lived next door to Sausthorpe. He is in the 45th Sikhs, & was awfully interested about it all. He knew Nance was engaged to a Navy man, but was’nt sure of the name.
I was interviewed by General Marshall one day last week, but we had’nt much to say to each other!
Will write more next time. Hope to hear from you tomorrow
Best love to all
Yr loving son
Nancy Swann had married Ted’s brother Paul.