8 Dec 1916
My dear Father
If I have left you rather long without a letter it is partly due to Kathleen. She said that she had rather a hazy notion of what our ordinary routine was like and she asked for a minute description of an average day. It is scarcely wonderful that she felt rather out of touch with our ordinary conditions of daily life; for in twenty-one months that we have been out here I daresay I have never, since the first, revised an account of our usual existence; and in twenty-one months things are liable to undergo some change. I got as far as the middle of the morning in the course of twelve pages and I have posted that. The remainder I must try and finish soon and send along in a second instalment. If you would care to see it I have no doubt Kath will send you the whole letter. But before I finish it I want to get a few other letters written that have been standing over too long.
Well, it is a pretty melancholy time. News of all sorts is about as disturbing as can be. The break-up of the Government is a comparatively cheering feature; though there are many anxieties connected with a wholesale change. This in spite of the fact that the Northcliffe Press now considers the War won in advance. About the only consolation is that people have come to expect another two years of war and are ready to make preparations accordingly. If we prepare for two years we are quite likely to win in one. The mistake we have made hitherto is to make provision only for winning in the minimum possible time.
Now that Roumania is practically finished with I suppose we shall have to devote all energies to an active campaign based on the “Western theory”. Unless it is possible to work a drive through Asia Minor by the Caucasus and Mesopotamian armies; but I doubt the difficulties of transport are too extensive for that. It is a thousand pities that we are nailed to Salonica by the Greek menace. But of course we must at all costs hold the freeboard of Greece clear of German domination. Perhaps there is still a chance of the Russian drive in Bukowina having some success: if the season were summer one could justly say that the Germans had placed their armies between the jaws of the pincers. But even if the Northern jaw can move far and fast enough I don’t see how the Southern jaw can close sufficiently to give any chance of joining up or even establishing an effective threat. By the spring I daresay the situation will no longer offer a chance of such operations: we shall have all our work cut out to maintain roughly the present lines.
Well informed opinion seems unanimous in welcoming the changes of control at the Admiralty. Sir Henry Jackson never seemed to have quite the necessary record of service and personality. It is a good thing that he served under Balfour not Churchill; for he would probably have been over-ridden by Churchill and forced into some crack-brained action which might have been worse than the recent passive control.
People at home must be feeling some substantial pinch from war restrictions now. And doubtless they will become more severe. It is an unpleasantly Russian condition of affairs; but you can’t fight against a steel dagger with a wooden sword.
I hope you are keeping well and not finding the frequent changes of weather and the damp and cold too trying. This month is behaving better than November which is, I think, the worst time of all months in this country.
Supper time, so I will close. I intend to write to May soon.
Love to all from