My dear Kathleen
Many thanks for your letter of 25th October which I appreciate, not least for its frankness. Several trivial things had occurred on the few recent occasions when I've been in touch with Betty that no doubt led me in a sense to "look for trouble", so your letter is particularly welcome, for you are in a position to know and observe, which is why I asked you questions.
I'm glad Betty could read History, for Greek would lead almost certainly to teaching which she wants to avoid. I'm very interested to hear of your application for that job; it sounds as though it would have much scope and not be too weighted with routine, of which you've had at least a full share in recent years. I hope very much that you'll get it and find wider opportunities in that field. Your training college experience, apart from its educational side, surely would include a considerable degree of "social experience" of the kind they mean?
The war has taught most of us to be cautious and I see and hear very little over-optimism on immediate peace prospects. Yet there is some reason to hope that Germany will decide to accept our terms now lest worse befall. I think for the ultimate peace of the world it will be better if she does. Another year of war, with invasion of Germany will be very satisfying for our desire to punish them, but will hardly help towards a later reconciliation, besides leading to a lack of proportion in viewing the efforts of the Allies. At the moment our sustained effort stands out supremely. France's long and bitter battle is not forgotten, the Serbs are seen actively regaining their land, and the Belgians have shown new life and reminded people of their early resistance - and America stands in the picture more as a supply agent with illimitable resources of men and goods than as a proven fighter. That I think is a fair allocation of military and naval credit up to date. If things go on another twelve months or so the proportions will be greatly altered and those who have been at it longest will stand relatively in the background.
However, if Germany refuses to give in now we must all go on, there seems no doubt or hesitation on that point in any belligerent country.
I'm afraid there's little chance of doctors being released or exchanged for home service. I wish they'd send me over with my lab to do a spell at home. At the moment the great news and prospects keep me going but if the next two weeks prove that the end has receded again I know many of us will inevitably feel a sense of reaction. I hope this influenza epidemic will do good in one way, in leading to a proper co-ordination of preventive medicine - and yet I have doubts, we are essentially a "wait and see" nation and on this point I can quote you an excellent example. The Army has a medical service, co-ordinated and organized and disciplined up to the last degree. It had an influenza epidemic in the spring; it knew or could have known that the autumn would see another outbreak, very likely more virulent. It had in its possession numerous report of investigations made early in the year, and under its control many eminent research workers etc, and yet neither in France nor at home were any steps taken to try and forestall or minimise the autumn outbreak. On October 14th the War Office called a tardy meeting of experts to consider the matter! And by the time their action can be realised, in practice the epidemic will be waning by natural processes. So even if a Ministry of Health or a State Medical Service is formed, we shan't necessarily get on much further, unless they get very good men in control.
I sincerely hope you have all escaped it. Mary tells me that Beryl has a bad attack, and also that four children next-door to Belvedere have it. She is much better now and writes more cheerfully but in September was very unwell. I got very anxious and worried about her. Baby is getting very keen over the alphabet now, I'm told, and is full of questions, not all easy to answer!
I have had to give up trying to do two jobs at once. There is a proper day's work in the lab and it is the business of the COs to arrange for its own work, so I'm doing no Resus work now - I couldn't have gone on very long at the rate I was going.
You may have heard I've moved my unit again - right across a wide devastated zone to a part less damaged. If we move again this year I hope it may be into buildings. At the moment I have a tin hut "scrounged" from the battle-field and am reasonably comfortable.
I'm so glad to hear of George's promotion. His move home may or may not be of much advantage to him, but probably it will make an occasional two days' leave possible - much depends where he is stationed.
At last the old Boo seems to stand some chance of getting home and married. Wherever he has to serve next they will surely give him leave this winter, and a period of home service would be only air. I wonder what he will do after the war.
I've heard nothing of Mela for a long time. Is she still at Bulford?
Your affectionate brother