22 Sept 1916
My dear Father
One of the “purple Patches” in the existence of a battalion has just recently been passed by us, which accounts for your having received no letter from me for some little time. It has been a vividly strenuous week, packed with experiences of the immensity and sternness and cruelty of war that have surpassed all my previous experiences. The Battalion has done grand work; it attained and held every objective assigned to it, in face of very severe opposition. It received the special thanks and compliments of the Army Corps Commander. I have not yet seen “The Times” account of affairs which will, I hope, indicate what was our particular task – it was a well-known position. The halfpenny papers have had distorted accounts which have given the credit of our particular bit to Divisions that were never there at all; or to the “Tanks” which likewise were not in it in this particular instance. It is most regrettable to read these incorrect descriptions: to find that the one tribute that can duly be paid to so many dead comrades has been withheld from them. The glamour of all the nationalities except the English seems to have overpowered the special correspondents. Everything is ascribed to Anzacs, Canadians, Kilties or Irish, or overseas troops of some kind. And yet it is by pure English regiments that the bulk of the work was done. It is they who make the British forces the solid, dogged, humane, cheerful body that it is. That is the corporate character of it which is the recognisable quality of it both at home and abroad; and that character does not spring from the special requirements but from the Guards and the Rifles and the County Battalions – Regular, Territorial or Service as the case may be.
So Arthur’s is most likely at home now. That is good hearing, although I am sorry to hear of the cause. I don’t wonder that the Medical people are beginning to break down. The strain on them must have been terrible during the last few months.
I don’t know whether we shall get leave soon, now that we have done our piece. Though maybe we have got to do more before we are finally withdrawn.
I was very glad to get the “Weekly Times” yesterday, also the “Observer”. I had not seen a paper of any kind for five days.
We had a terrible patch of weather immediately after the attack, otherwise I daresay there would have been even more immediate progress. Luckily it has turned fine again now and life is more worth living than it was.
Love to all from