29 March 1916
My dear Father
A letter from me is rather overdue I fancy, but I have been waiting on the inward mail that, however seems considerably upset at present - the result of the new “U” Boat campaign, I expect – so I won’t delay any longer. Especially, as I daresay the outward mail is similarly out of gear. I wonder whether the Navy will succeed in meeting the new effort as successfully as they did that of last year. Rather doubtful, I should imagine; for an equal measure of success against an undoubtedly superior opposition would be a wonderful feat. But I expect they will reduce the menace very much after the first few weeks, for they must have worked out a method of dealing with the beggars in their probable new form.
Things are still quiet with us, but fairly busy. Mr Craig arrived two days ago looking very fit (though suffering from the usual beastly cold that is the price we always pay for a visit home) and I hope we shall soon get properly in our stride. The Section has deteriorated a bit in the last few months owing to the want of clear and definite leadership and we are now out to make it better than it ever was.
I have received the “Weekly Times”, both the one you sent off late and the next one – of the 24th inst. In spite of the prophecies of military correspondents and others, I doubt whether we shall hear of much more activity at Verdun. It can only have been the hinge on which much wider activities were to hang and I feel sure that the Germans will not have time to re-develop the whole scheme of operations before the allies take over the initiative. I see that, as I have thought for some time past, all other theatres are stirring to activity first, while the last (and doubtless the greatest thrust) is, no doubt, to be developed here. In the Spring an army’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of peace. Now, as at this time last year, there is much weighing pro and con (largely pro – we are all hopeful mortals) of the chances of an early victory. I don’t, myself, see it coming this year. We may do a great deal; but if it is sufficient for the purpose I shall be overwhelmed with joyous surprise.
Any more news of Cyril yet? A few days ago I was envying him the climate in which I suppose him to bask; but yesterday brought a change. Sun and warmth now reigns in place of cold winds snow and rain – and mud! Nevertheless I still envy him. I would rather go to Baghdad than to Berlin. And I doubt there is much more chance of them than us reaching their final objective. (This sentence is loosely constructed, but must pass – I am not writing to that stern critic Judy!)
It is a few days since I heard from Rosie. She has just taken on new duty in the shape of night work. This used always to be done by men before the war. She finds it a pleasant change: less precise and severe than day-duty. But she only gets from 9 am to 7 pm at home, so it doesn’t give much time for sleep and “doing things” also. However it only lasts a week, with spells of several weeks in between.
Supper (porridge) is just up, so I must stop. A good supper is a good reason.
Love to all from