Very many thanks for the Hunting Songs, also the young library which arrived the day before. I shall now be kept “quiet” for a long time. I am glad to hear Tom’s arm is going on well, I don’t think you need worry about rheumatism. The pain is after all what one would expect after having ones joint fixated for some time in the same position. I remember my old collar bone was nothing compared to the pain in my elbow while my arm was strapped across my chest. The weather has improved, and though we cannot say we have real clear summer weather, at all events we have had no more deluges for the last three days. Trenches are not very bad and most of us manage to keep more or less dry. Personally I am very comfortably situated and manage to lead a very pleasant existence. At this point I was interrupted by a chanting maniac – to wit – the Adjutant of another Btn who came to talk “shop” and burst in the sanctity of my room with some common tune. The Transport Officer is here and the post is going so I must stop.
I am sorry to hear about your elbow accident and hope that by this time it is well on the road to recovery. I expect it hurt you rather a lot, and I daresay it does still a bit sometimes. I had a very exciting trip yesterday. Seven of us – mostly Colonels and red Hats and other people of that sort all went off in a car to watch a few machine guns firing into the sea – to see how the bullets dropped. We had great fun and a very good time as we were a very merry party. We had a terribly long way to go, and all bought fish to take back to the mess. By the time we arrived home the car smelt like a fish shop and I am sure it will be quite a long time before I get the smell out of my clothes. Unfortunately someone trod on someone else’s turbot (not mine) and there was nearly a battle about it.
We are being drowned slowly and surely. Today so far has been one long and continual downpour – rain falling in bucketfulls, and of course flooding everything. Camp has immediately decided to submerge itself and if it were not for the hard work of three broom-wielding clerks, my orderly room would be full of water. Fortunately so far my tent has not sprung a leak actually over my head, I daresay it will start soon. I managed to get over to see Banwell yesterday in his casualty clearing station and found him in very good form. In the next bed was Gaury also in great form, with his fourth wound – a piece of shell in the right leg – nothing very bad. I don’t think he will be sent down as they do not mean to extract the piece of metal. I think it was rather a shock to both Banwell and him to find each other side by side. Petch has just returned from leave bringing one or two terrible gramophone records – unfortunately the O Room is within earshot of the mess and work consequently difficult. I expect Griffiths will be going next – in a fortnight’s time or so. I am still a very long way off. They are working everybody very hard – myself included: I shall soon be getting quite “grey”.
The weather seems to have quite broken and we are having a succession of thunderstorms with alternately sultry and quite cold intervals; altogether most perplexing weather. Banwell’s wound has fortunately turned out comparatively slight – though it might have been very bad. It was a bullet, not a fragment of shell as I thought at first, and it got within a quarter of an inch of his internal organizations. He expects to be back with us before the end of the month, to celebrate his 21st birthday which is coming off them. There is no news – we have a horse–show and sports coming off shortly, I don’t suppose I shall enter for anything except possibly the “Beauty Show” – i.e. best turned out charger, “owner up” i.e. best dressed officer, best groomed horse and best kept saddlery combined – I don’t stand a chance but I know my groom will want me to enter – he will probably stake large sums of money on my winning, which of course he will lose much to his disgust. You will be glad to hear that my eyes are ever so much better and have not worried me half so much lately as they did so perhaps they are now really on the road to recovery, I hope so. Leave looks like being very distant so I may try to get 8 days leave in France and if soon, go to some quite spot in Normandy or Brittany, I should like that more than Paris I think.
Very many thanks for a letter which arrived last night; it has given me a tremendous fright. In it you say you got my letter about the medal ribbon parade “though that is not what you call it”. What did I call it? Did I in a moment of mental aberration use some unparliamentarily language or anything terrible? My temper has become very short and if some villain came and interrupted me in the middle of the letter I might unconsciously have written down some of my thoughts about him. Please relieve my mind next time you write by telling me exactly what I did say. The Colonel returned from Brigade the day before yesterday in a terrible temper or liver attack or something, and for several hours there were scenes. He has now gone on leave to Deauville for a few says. The weather has not been quite so good lately. There have been two terrific thunderstorms; one mixed up with shells and gun flashes was a very impressive sight, there was some of the finest fork lightning I have ever seen.
There is no news but another spare minute. We have had another casualty; this time Banwell – nothing very serious fortunately and I expect we shall have him back very soon. A little bit of anti-aircraft shell came and hit him in the wind – a most ignominious performance for such a very great man. He is so enormous that it did not go in very far, and has not reached anything important. He was in the most wonderful spirits through it all, and went away full of “buck”. I hope he re-appears soon as we cannot afford to lose him. It is horribly wet today and the ditches in which some of us live are beginning to show signs of filling up with water – as one might expect. However its fairly warm so nobody worries very much. I am sorry the Bryn Egwlys deal did not come off –it must be very disappointing to Dad. However it gave him a breath of Criccieth air which is a very good thing. People in Petrograd seem to be having an appalling time; I suppose some of our folk are still there; does anybody ever hear from any of them? There seems to be a serious shortage of everything, if one can believe the papers. Things here go on just the same as ever – we are all very fit.
Here is a letter – quite soon after the last one for a change – not that there is anything to talk about, but I have a minute or two to spare. Heavy showers all day have churned the paths and tracks into sticky mud and going round the line is once more the slippery slithery performance it used to be in the jolly old winter. However everything dries very quickly, and as there has not been a shower for the last two hours, I dare say the mud will have all gone be the time I want to go round the line. We have got quite a decent little headquarters in our present position, the only objection being the lack of Orderly Room. The latter consists of a small table poked away in the corner of a very dark signal office. Work there is of course quite out of the question. Apart from the lack of space one cannot do anything in a room with two buzzing telephones going the whole time, so I have to do all my work in the mess. I have learnt a most entertaining new patience – very fascinating, and one which seldom comes out. I will teach it to you when I next get leave two or three years hence I expect. The C.O. has discovered that he is so far down the leave list that he has put in for leave to Deauville or some such spot. I expect he will get it all right. In that case he will probably be away for the end of July & the beginning of August. Griffiths should be going on the 19th but won’t of course be able to go until the C.O. comes back. Thomson will go instead. Barett seems to have gone right away down to the base with his fever attack so we shall put him back on the rota. Banwell, Wace, Argyle, Griffiths and Barett have all got to go before me.
The weather has broken today at last, and we have had several very heavy showers of rain. So far the Camp is standing it very well, and if we don’t get too much more we shall not be badly flooded out. We had a terrible parade yesterday. The Corps Commander came and presented medal ribbons to various people and we stood for hours and hours under a boiling sun. I very nearly collapsed. He was very gracious and said it was a great pleasure to see us; some of the men I am afraid thought otherwise. The dinner went off very well and we sang many of the old favourite songs – including some of old Kiplings which we have not heard for a long time. The new booklet of 20 of his poems seems a fairly good collection. Dini was saying she had a copy of the Seven Seas given her the other day, and that there were already two copies in the house. If there is one to spare I should very much like one out here to vary with old R.B.
Another long time since I have written. I am really getting most remiss, and must “sit up” and take a little more notice. The Colonel is away Commanding Brigade while the Brigadier is on leave, and the Major is in Command. (now that I have written it, I am almost sure that I have written that before.) Burnett is second in Command & most of the work has to be done by the two of us – Ashdowne also does a good whack. I am glad old Baron Hewson has been round again, he is a great man and one of those delightful people who always says exactly the right thing at the right minute. Our new gramophone has already had to be sent back to London to have the mainspring mended – however it ought be back again soon and then we can “get going” as we have heaps of records including many of the old favourites – “Praeludium” etc we are having a “joy-night” tonight and many guests – one of them being the officer with whom I did most of my work at Corps. HQ. I expect we shall have many of the good old-fashioned songs, and get tremendously rowdy. The weather keeps wonderfully fine, and exceptionally dry, it is ages since there was any real rain except for a thunderstorm or two about a fortnight ago. There is absolutely no news, I keep very fit except for the eyes.
Back once more with the Regiment, thank goodness, but not quite the same Regt. The Colonel is commanding the Bde while the Brigadier is on leave, so J L Griffiths is in Command. Thomson and one of the brothers Ball have got 3 days fever, so have Barrett and several new officers. Poor Cole never survived his wound. The poison spread all over his system and he died on the 29th. The best officer we have ever had. His M.C. came through about a day too late for him to know it. I managed to get over to see Ganny a few days ago – it was a long ride and I got shelled at the end of it, however I found him which was the great point. He is commanding a Company and looked very fit. His wound was nothing much only a piece out of his ear. I am sorry to hear about Boosey – it is very bad luck that Leslie cannot get home. Toller is now definitely a prisoner in Germany. Dalgliesh, if I remember right, came out here when I did, only with the 1/4th. I think he lost his arm very early in a trench called E2 or thereabouts – at all events somewhere opposite RED HOUSE