15 Sept 1915
My dear Mother
A distinctly annoying thing has happened. The last letter from home has not reached me. I know it was written, for Judy said that one had been sent on the morning of the day that she wrote. She made a passing reference of a slender nature to a certain state of exaltation amongst all of you at home owing to flattering mentions of Cyril in letters of one Private Baldwin; but she took it for granted that I knew all about the marrow of the matter. Thus I am in a state of expectant ignorance that is very tantalising. I have waited for the letter to find its way here but it has not appeared and I have now given up looking for it. Do write and fill the gap. If Boo has “done himself proud” and earned good opinions, I don’t want the first intimation I get to be a newspaper list of “mentioned in dispatches”.
I forget where we were stationed when I last wrote. We move at intervals from place to place, but over a very confined area. I begin to know this bit of France too well and I should be very glad if we got a change of scene before winter; on foreign soil if possible. (You will observe that France no longer seems to us to be a foreign land).
We have run into a perfect bit of September summer. We have not had hotter weather at any time during the year. This evening the wind is rising, so we may have a rougher patch coming.
I heard from Arthur just before he left England. He wrote and sent me a slice of my goddaughter’s christening cake. I think the Sydenham arrangement is an excellent one and I hope that Dorothy Mary will do unto the inhabitants of Number 12 as the youngest member of that household used to do unto us – only not too much, for the sake of her parents, teachers, pastors and masters.
There seems little to say. News, of course, is a commodity which the British Tommy doesn’t possess in the first place, and doesn’t (or shouldn’t) communicate in the second place, even if he does chance to get hold of any. I received the Weekly Times yesterday and was gladdened thereby, for we get no English papers here. I had heard of the latest Zeppelin raid from Serjeant Craig who came back from leave on Thursday. He rolls his eyes in ecstasy and says that England looks “great”, in fact gloats in a most unkind fashion which we less fortunate men only endure with protest.
Love to all from
Your affectionate son
PS – Tell Father I received the pamphlet describing the Battle of Gheluvelt. It is a great story; and the ability displayed is almost more remarkable than the courage. Only a first rank Battalion could have made that advance and succeeded in arriving at their objective with a force sufficient to be of any material use on arrival. A less skilled body of men would have lost too heavily to have been able to hold on long enough for the line to reform on them.