12 Charleville Circus
Oct 15 1915
My dear Mother
You will like to hear that I had a letter from George this morning. It was dated Oct 8 so had taken rather a long time coming through. He comments on the fact that it is difficult to keep in touch with us all when his letters have to be written with so much reserve. He says: “The spirit of discipline is strong to control my acts, although my mind bristles with heresies that I long to utter.” He says that he has always determined to keep very strictly the General Orders relating to the correspondence and talk of soldiers and thinks that if anyone else had been as particular they would now be in Germany instead of France. He says, “Few men out here seem to understand that a great deal of the most important information obtained by Intelligence Departments is gained by the collation of small details of a nature apparently quite trivial. My principle then is to write to everybody as if they were German spies. That may be the fine part of preciseness, considering that I know all the while that there are thousands of other channels to convey the stream that I dam. If my bit is done aright, the whole may be; if wrong it can’t be.” About the recent fighting he says: “All I can say about recent affairs is that the Battalion was in it at a very hot corner; but not having been required to ‘go over the top’ (ie to make a direct assault from our trenches to the German trenches) they suffered less than some of the others. They were engaged in support work which involves fewer casualties than attack work as a rule, but is less liked, because it is nearly always intensely fatiguing, and because there is very little glory to be got from it though casualties are considerable. I daresay you have noticed that none of our officers’ names have appeared in the casualty lists. We actually lost none. They don’t get exposed in support as they do in attack. The rank and file catch it more severely, doing such work as carrying bombs up to the attacking line and so on.”
I was glad to get your letter and May’s which arrived by a post about twelve this morning. I was glad to hear about Baby and hope she has now quite recovered from the journey. I will answer May’s letter tomorrow probably, anyway soon. I expect you saw my letter to Ethel about the Zeppelin attack. Rumour has it that attempts were made again to come yesterday and Thursday but that they were driven off. It is quite likely but one never knows. I am wondering now if a fresh attempt is due as there has been constant firing all the afternoon. It is rather foggy though and still daylight, not a likely time at all, so it may be only testing guns at Woolwich which we often hear. Jack ought to be in before long. He stops work at four today and now it is nearly five. He may have heard some rumours. He seems pretty well now. Their work is in a much better state and next week they will work 9-5.30 instead of 9-6.30. I wish he could get Saturday and Monday off a fortnight hence at my half-term and we would go off together somewhere. I wish Aunt Lizzie would invite us both to Eastbourne.
I wonder how Betty’s play is going off. I felt I could not really go off to Highgate for it and I think she hardly expected me to. I have been so glad to have a regular day of letter-writing and have worked off several.
Now this must go to catch the evening post and you may get it tomorrow. Much love to you all.
Your loving daughter
PS – It has struck me that I really owe Father a letter first, but I must write to him before long.