My dear Mother
This should arrive on or about your birthday for which I send my very best wishes. Thank you for your letter of a week ago, you must have been busy with so much illness in the house, and I hope everyone is well again by this. I was so glad George got his leave at last, he seems to have fitted everything in well, and I’m pleased he was able to see Baby. Perhaps the recent warmer days have allowed of short-coating being done, she’s well over three months old now. There’s plenty of rain and mud about in Rouen now, and I suppose we must expect more till about April. I thought probably that Tom Butler had got a commission, the Butler family is well-represented, I wonder how Frank likes the job.
We have a new OC, such a specimen, I think he’s dotty – he calls himself a pessimist, and rightly, for he will insist that because our force isn’t actually strolling about Baghdad that it has had a terrible defeat, and that the Germans have laid a deep scheme for 6 months to entrap us at Baghdad! Also he holds that the Germans didn’t fail to reach Paris, for they never intended or tried to get there! What are you to make of a thing like that? I almost prefer Colonel Maude, who said a few months back that anyone could tell we’d got 3 million men in arms, by looking up the street. There must be there was so much khaki about.
The French soldiers are all wearing steel helmets now, painted light grey-blue as their uniforms. They look quite different to the old red-trousered men in the kepi of ’70 and 1914. They are all “poilus” now, or in slangy French “poil” and the piou-piou is quite out of date.
I am very busy every day, but find my work interesting and useful.
Tell Father I’ll write in a few days.
With much love, and many happy returns.
From your son