18 Aug 1915
My dear little Mother
If you are not puffed up beyond measure at being a grandmother I will swallow my bayonet and chew the scabbard. Don’t think that I blame you. I myself feel that I occupy a more exalted position in the scheme of human affairs since I have been called upon to fulfil the ancient immemorial office of uncle. It is like receiving an additional stripe of acting rank (unpaid): an accession of dignity and responsibility which is its own reward. I suppose you and the girls would have been slightly more pleased if the new recruit had been a boy. There I score over you, for I think little girls are much nicer (big ones too – as Artemus Ward once remarked). Perhaps vivid recollections of my earliest youth prejudice my opinion. Anyway I am vastly glad and I hope a paternal government will let Arthur’s go and see his firstborn without any delay.
On first coming here we suffered from clouds of inspecting officers. They passed and were succeeded by clouds of rain. It is difficult to say which were the more searching in their visitations, the officers or the raindrops. I think the latter for the damping feeling that a formal inspection induces has quite passed away, while the state of the ground is still quite indescribable.
The greatest relief we enjoy here is almost entire (that is to say comparative) absence of flies. Nearer to the trenches they increase progressively in number as one approaches. I sympathise greatly with Cyril, for I suppose the Dardanelles flies outvie ours completely.
Please tell Kath that I received her parcel quite safely the day before yesterday. I will write and thank her in a few days. Having written to Arthur’s and Mary last night and to you tonight, I feel I have been a noble correspondent.
Love to all from
Your affectionate son