My dear Father
Your letter of 13th came in today, timely after a long gap in the in-coming mails here. I'm afraid I omitted to thank you in my last letter for the enlarged photo. I shall look forward to seeing it and think it best not to have it sent across, but would like you to send it to Mary. I hope Ethel is better again, and that with warmer days everyone at home will feel more themselves: here at last more spring-like weather is coming on, and one feels that the winter is about over.
Events have been moving apace this month and last. The Baghdad success is splendid and I feel that one of the aspects that appeal most is the triumph of the Mesopotamian Army after so many trials and setbacks. If only we can hear that Cyril has taken part unhurt in this victory it will be splendid. I daresay the force will be kept busy for a while yet. This all round pressure on Turkey should prove effective in time: irresistibly one cannot help saying, if only the Dardanelles scheme had succeeded!
The revolution in Russia is startling, but from the accounts at present to hand, it bids fair to be a great blow to Germany, and in the nature of a great accession of strength to us. USA are steadily shaping for war in spite of their difficulties and the attitude of China may be of help too in the matter of food, and labour (in France).
We were turned out at 4.0 this morning for a Zeppelin alarm, but were not visited. However we hear tonight of a Zepp brought down at Compiègne. I wonder how far we shall be able to hamper the German retreat in the West – all accounts point to a pretty extensive retirement, which despite our sour radical weaklings, is not being done for fun by the Germans – but is the direct result of well-aimed and continued pressure from our armies and the French.
How is the National Service Scheme going? It appears to be crabbed by Simonites and others, but I feel about it that the Director is probably getting men in as fast as they can really be dealt with and if that is so it should be a success. Too sudden a displacement of anywhere would merely mean chaos.
I am glad Mr Asquith and most of his late colleagues seem to be playing the game in spite of every urging from some of their party to do otherwise. It would be a great calamity, at first for the country and soon for them if they did otherwise; I do not think that they would in any case.
I am very busy again and expect to be so sine die. I expect you are getting busy in the garden; I'm glad that at last a start has been achieved with German prisoner labour and hope soon that many areas will follow suit. Quite apart from the large inroads with our shipping, the world shortage in food is going to press severely on us as on all Europe and the home growing of food isn't merely a problem for 1917, but '18 as well.
The brewing restrictions must hit traders hard, but I do not see how the Government can do less in the circumstances. Are you turning out this 2% light beer one reads of, or is your plant unfitted for that?
Having weathered the storm for nearly 3 years of war, your reserve fund should see you well round the corner I should hope.
Please thank May for her letter which I will answer later on.
With love to all.
Your affectionate son