My dear Father
I got your missing letter ultimately, with Conan Doyle article. It has been refreshing to read the very frank admission of their mistake made by many previous “Pro-Germans” and I hope the country at large will not be misled into thinking that all the blame attached merely to the military set we hear so much about. That is only if one includes in that set many millions of the German people.
I got Mother’s and May’s letters today, the list of Badsey men is most interesting, and I hope another score of names will soon be added. Probably the War Office have had all they can handle up to date, but more will yet be wanted before we have seen this thing through. We are preparing to move from here, where to we don’t know. I fancy they must be awaiting the trend of events in NE France - conceivably the ports in that region may be too precariously held for base purposes. If not, nothing will please me better than to be stationed somewhere in that region. Whenever we go we ought to be fixed for some time, for a General Hospital is not supposed to run about the country as we have done owing to military contingencies.
We have a fair amount of empire, but not alarming numbers, I hope that sanitary work and inoculation together will prevent any such epidemic as prevailed in South Africa. Inoculation is voluntary and as, from George’s experience, it may produce considerable temporary illness, you can imagine that it is not always easy to persuade all the men to have it. I was told off to talk to the men here on the subject, and at first they were rather backward in coming forward, but I’ve roped most of them by now. Experience shows that inoculation reduces the incidence of the disease 5 or 6 times and if inoculated people get it, their chances of recovery are much greater.
It is getting steadily colder and damper, we are rather near the river, and for that reason alone I think a move will be good. Rheumatic cases, of which we have many, don’t do over well here, and when the sun doesn’t come out, it is impossible to get the tents dry. Mary is in town now, I believe. I hope she will be able to let the flat. I saw it advertised in the Morning Post of the 5th. It looked so imposing as worded by the agent!
Mother gives no news of Uncle Fred. Poor man, what a troubled life he’s had, and now just at the time he meant to retire comes this war which cannot fail to affect him very closely in several directions.
The censorship this end is still very strict, and in many ways “unequal”. From the staff point of view all letters are a nuisance, but I’m quite sure the Germans have means of gathering all the information they want long before our letters reach home. When we move there may be a bit of a hiatus in the post. Lately I’ve been able to write regularly, and the postal service here has been working smoothly. They have to have quite a large Army post office, no letters come through the French post, which is quite distinct.
I hope the Belgian refugees are being given opportunity of getting work, they’ll want that more than anything. Mother speaks of my French improving but really it is very bad, I haven’t time to study it, and merely fight my way along more or less regardless of grammar. The great thing is to get there.
With much love to you all.
Your affectionate son