My Dear Father
I think a letter to you is somewhat overdue, for nearly a week now we've had no mail, and letter writing is rather at a discount. The sudden return of winter here is likely to be over soon. After a fall of about 4 inches of snow it is now thawing. hope the evening wind won't hamper operations. From the many days of heavy bombardment heard from here we suspect things are going to be lively. The rapid move forward in Mesopotamia is very cheering and must be most heartening to General Maude's army. hope soon we'll get definite news of Cyril – in the meantime no news should be regarded as the best. Let's hope the operations there will include the taking of Baghdad and linking up with the Russians. That would be in the nature of a transformation in the Eastern campaign, and coupled with the satisfactory situation in Egypt and Sinai should render our position and our prestige much improved out East. The Dardanelles report, which saw today in condensed form, is illuminating as to the chaotic condition which existed amongst the War Council and their expert advisers in the first year of the war. The wonder is that with such confusion of thought and action in high places, things everywhere did not go worse. However, there's plenty of evidence that the lessons of that muddle have not been overlooked. Had either Kitchener or Asquith, or Churchill been in office today no one of them could have remained in power in view of this report. n spite of the disadvantages of exploring to the world our shortcomings I think this publication is better than a hushing-up policy, and it should tend to keep all in authority on their mettle.
I am glad Bernard was able to get over to see you. I expect he's out here by now. I don't think their base depot is in this town or area. One hears very excellent reports of the New Zealand troops both as to action and general bearing. I believe their record in the latter aspect is second to none. Is Bernard a private solider?
I was very pleased to hear that Betty had got through Matric all right – no doubt it’s a load off her mind.
I've been very busy the last few weeks and hope things will slacken soon. This is the Cerebro-Spinal fever season and although there have been but few cases, each case involves a great deal of bacteriological work. The whole subject has been most admirably and thoroughly investigated at home by a special band of workers, headed by two Barts’ men whom I know very well. As a result the means of checked spread of infection are greatly improved, and the treatment of cases is also more satisfactory. But the work involved over even one case is very great. In 1915-16 at home the mortality amongst cases of cerebro-spinal was about 30% - and as the cases ran into thousands it was a very serious matter. Fortunately out here the number of cases has never gone up beyond a hundred or two in a year.
British medicine has I think benefited greatly during the war by being cut off from German influence, prior to the war so many people were ready to accept as gospel any work coming from Germany, and to assume that British research was only of second grade and of course the German professors encouraged that idea, and probably believed it.
I hope I'll get letters soon, I feel rather cut off from home when the post fails.
With love to all.
Your affectionate son,