11th January 1944

My Dearest Olive,

The windfall of mail continues.  In the last three days, I have had 6 letters from you, darling. Three were dated from early Dec and three dated 28/12, 30/12, and 31/12.

I was very anxious when I read the 28/12 letter about Valerie, but very glad to know she is making a good recovery. The fall must been a nasty one and affected her quite a bit. Thank goodness she is getting better. Don’t worry about the bills, as I will write to Lloyds and tell them to pay an extra £10 into your account, on receipt of my letter and a further £10 when my pay as a Major is credited to me.

I also received two letters from Pat Vaile, one congratulating me on my promotion to Major (she must have heard quicker than you did for some reason), a letter from Florence, an airgraph from Alan and Molly, airgraphs from Mother and Helen. Mother says she has written to you and is very anxious that you should write to her – Helen recalls the snow men we built in the garden at Charmouth Rd. It seems a long time ago. I also got a letter from Victor Mitchell who is now in N. Africa on a War Office Selection Board.

I also got two letters from you posted in September, which were forwarded to me in hospital and have only just reached me. I am glad Sgt Tom is not too bad. You might let me have his home address. I am glad you met Bradford, I hope you keep up a friendship with them.

Don’t bother sending me the Daily Worker. It is not arriving regularly, so it is not worth the trouble. I would still like the ‘New Statesman’ and ‘Tribune’. The latter does give me a ‘left’ angle on events. I think it would be a good plan for you to get the ‘Times’ daily. After all it is worth the extra 1/6 and any items you think would interest me, you could cut out and send by surface mail. The ‘Times’ is well in keeping with a Major’s wife. Edward says he could never imagine you becoming pompous, however high I rose.

The Faughs in Castel di Sangro (Major Jimmy Clarke MC in middle), January 1944.

Unfortunately, Edward (Gibbon) has had to revert to Lieut again. A South African Captain by the name of Phelan has come to this Company as my 2 i/c and so Edward became a platoon commander. He is very disheartened and taking it rather badly, all the more because there are several Captains really junior to him and he had pulled himself together and was doing really well.

The Brigadier (Russell) seems to have a considerable dislike for him and overrides the CO. I am very sorry about it and am doing my best for him, but of course beyond speaking in the highest terms of him, there is not much I can do. It is a great pity because he got over his bad patch and was something like the Edward we used to know. Naturally, he feels now that whatever he does will make no notice and the best thing for him is to try and leave the battalion, which is sad because he is so closely associated with the ‘Faughs’.

The war news is very good. We have just heard that the Russians expect to have the Curzon line as their Polish boundary. I imagine that will cause a storm in Polish circles in London but everyone out here seems to think they are quite right and I certainly have not heard any talk of resisting their claims. They appear to be making remarkable progress and have indeed borne the brunt of the fighting. There is great hope that the war will be over this year.

I am feeling very well, fitter, in fact, than any time since I came out here. Those ‘desert’ sores seem at last to be disappearing: the old ones are healing and no new ones have developed for some time. I think cool weather suits me better than the heat. I am looking forward to Valerie’s photo, though it would probably be a few weeks yet.

Look after yourself, darling, all my love and kisses to you and Valerie



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