My dear Father
I was very glad to have your letter of 8th this morning and to hear you are pretty well all right again. This cold weather has been a severe test and I think everyone will welcome more normal conditions. At present we have a very slow unwilling thaw going on every day which is an advantage.
I hope May is all right again and not too hard worked just now. George must be saving well to find £200 for the War Loan, I think he had some in a previous loan. As a matter of fact a sergeant is in a sense better off than a junior lieutenant, for he has minute mess expenses and no clothing to get, and the difference in pay is not so very great. I am managing £100 and Mary is getting £50 too. More than that in view of a probable move soon can’t be managed. I hope the loan is a real success, there has been just a tendency in some quarters to “crab” it, just as there are people who are running down the Food Controller and the National Service Scheme. I think the latter would be better described as a War Service Readjustment Scheme for obviously a large section of the populace by now are doing the work most useful to the country and neither need nor will get change on interference.
I hope another six weeks or so will see events calculated to reassure everyone on the shipping question. One feels that Government is doing all that can be done. The rest remains with individuals on the seas, in shipyards, on the land and at the table, and if we as people can’t weather this storm I shall be very surprised, but it will be a severe storm I’m certain.
I shall look forward to seeing the copy of Cyril’s letter: I am sorry to hear of Frank Harris’ death, I remember him as a youth quite well.
Work has not been excessive just lately, but shews signs of increasing soon. I am able to get out for walks more often, and have been down to see the Seine, rather a fine sight with pack ice loosely filling the stream but not holding up steamer traffic.
There is no leave now, and I shouldn’t be surprised if there is none for many months. I should dearly love to get home in April, but I am not counting on it.
I’m glad to say that Mary and Baby are both reported better now; it must have been cold at Dowlais, but fairly dry and fine. I hear Hubert has been medically examined, but don’t know if that means he will be called up: apparently they are getting near the limit of numbers of doctors reasonably available, especially in industrial districts such as his, but means will have to be found to get more if necessary, and every month fresh women doctors are qualifying. There are great changes ahead for the profession; I hope that the questions that arise will be wisely settled. We ought to be a great preventive service, not merely a healing profession. On the other hand I can see clearly enough that a competitive element must be retained. There’s not enough of that in the RAMC and promotion is too mechanical, or if accelerated it is as much by favour as by professional merit.
Even those of us accustomed to hard work, and anxious to do our best I think feel the lack of stimulus that competition provides, and I can quite imagine that ten years or so under Service conditions don’t tend to real keenness in work: so I hope any future state service won’t be just a safe billet with equal pay all round for good, bad and indifferent.
With love to all
From your affectionate son