Very many thanks for 2 letters from you which I got a few days ago, about a week after we had got here. They were dated 2nd & 8th August and I can’t help thinking there is a mail missing somewhere, & other fellows seem to think the same; one is due in today & that may be the one.
I have’nt really & truly had time to sit down & really write letters lately – Ever since the fighting was over on 29th Sept we have been more than busy clearing up the battlefield, guarding prisoners, on outpost duty etc and we’ve had hardly time to turn around. From all accounts our victory here seems to have caused a tremendous impression everywhere, and the force has received numerous congratulatory messages from the King & General Maude. It appears to be a victory of tremendous importance, so I am most awfully glad to think the 39th played such an important part in it, and so proud myself to have commanded the Battalion in the fighting.
You will have seen references to the capture of Ramadi in the papers, & I expect you wondered if we were there, very much so, & the regiment played a very prominent part & did splendidly – one of our officers has been given a D.S.O for good work & gallant conduct that day – he was badly wounded in the mouth, his tongue being nearly shot away, but he stuck to his job & eventually came back to the ambulance & on the way stopped & wrote down for me a clear & concise account of the situation where he was, though he must have been in great pain at the time. He was very plucky all through & thoroughly deserved his award. I have had a line from him in hospital & he tells me they have sewn his tongue on again & he will get his speech back all right, as of course he could’nt speak a word when I saw him-
Our 2 men who knocked out the Turkish field-gunners with Lewis guns have been decorated too; these are what they call “immediate” awards, given by General Maude in the field, & I hope we shall get lots more in due course, as the men thorough deserve them. The 5th Queens were with us in the fighting, and – being a Guildford regiment – no doubt the name Garhwal will soon be quite familiar there. They are awfully struck with our men, & especially with their work during the fighting, & I expect you may hear something about us in your conversations with various people- The Queens fought splendidly & did awfully well, & please tell everyone so.
We are still on a very light scale of kit, one blanket only, & no tents, & the nights are frightfully cold now. We hope to get more kit up shortly, but we are all pretty hard now & can put up with a good deal of knocking about & pigging it.
I owe several letters to the family but I really have’nt time to do anything like answering letters just at present. I am most awfully fit & well, & love this sort of thing, real soldiering with a vengeance.
“Eye-witness”, the official reporter, came round to see us after the fighting, & I took him over the battlefield & he is writing a long account of it & us, so look out for it in the papers- He told me he had already mentioned the regiment in his wire to the home paper, but expected they wd censor it.
The woolly Shetland has been more than useful & I don’t know what I should have done without it. I carried it in my haversack on the show, & very glad I am that I have it with me now.
I am telling Cox to send along £2-15 for Ruth’s things. I’m awful sorry, but I had an idea I’d settled that.
The flies here are absolutely indescribable. The Mess (we are messing in a tumbledown old Arab mud hut) is black, really & truly with them, & at meal times you can’t see your food for flies. They nearly drive you mad. No more for the present
Excuse scrawl. Best love to all
Yr loving son
This is the writing pad you sent me in Egypt in Jan: 1916!