10 Jan 1915
My dear Father
Just a week ago, almost to the minute, I was coming into this room on my return from leave. The first thing that confronted me was a full scheme of five-day passes for everybody, by the cast iron rules of which I was due to go away at reveille next morning. I took great trouble to discover a technical excuse for altering that, and setting my turn back later. However, it didn’t do me any good; for the first batch (of which I might have been one) were recalled after two days’ absence, because, for some abstruse reason, the grant of any general leave was found to be out of order. We do not know whether steps will be taken to put it in order; I rather doubt it. In the meantime they keep on inspecting us up and down and round about: one big brass General one day, another another; or, if Generals are scarce, they send a Board or a Committee to look into some special branch or section. Sometimes the Generals, Board or Committees come, sometimes not. If they come, they are usually wet and cold, thirsty and hungry, tired and cross; they look at nothing in particular, say ”Ho” and “Hah!” very wisely, and depart at the earliest possible moment as quickly as motor will carry them. If they don’t come we nevertheless have been put to all the bother of preparing for them. Consequently, come or not, we are all emphatic to maintain that all inspections are vanities. The next of them is to be on Tuesday, when the General (General Barter, commanding 2nd London Division) cometh to overlook us. Nevertheless nothing seems to come of all these reviews. We hear nothing yet of a move. I wonder whether the 9th Worcesters will be one of the favoured battalions of Kitchener’s Army, of which such a big section seems about to be sent across. I suppose we shall hear very soon.
My cold, which was marvellously heavy all last Sunday, fell off me like a cloak cast off as soon as I got back here: due to change of atmosphere I expect. I have now nursed myself back into my usual state of fitness.
How do the Belgians proceed? I hope they are not musical people; if not they may have enjoyed the Chapel ballad concert.
Regarding Judy’s tender enquiry about the blanket, I soon got tired of the bulge in the pocket and took it out and wore it. With two results: to wit I found it very warm and comfortable and, I think, an assistant in curing my cold; and also everybody seemed to think that one so muffled could be nothing but a wounded hero from the trenches. It is quite interesting to be the object of tacit but obviously sympathetic and almost worshipful regard from all and sundry of those who pass us in public places. A truly wounded man would be horribly bored by it, I am sure; but as an imposter I felt quite shamelessly amused by the whole proceedings. Please don’t forget to ask Arthur’s, when next you write, whether he received the letter I wrote him about six weeks ago.
Love to all from
Your affectionate son