26th January 1944

My Dearest Olive,

Having written a rather depressing letter yesterday, I write again today.

(NA 9192) Lieut, now Major, McNally MC., Royal Irish Fusiliers. Copyright: © IWM.

Last night the CO visited us. (Major) McNally had arrived back a couple of days before, but we had taken no action over handing over the Company. The CO asked McNally how he liked being back ‘in harness’ again and then said to me, ‘I have got plans for you, Lawrie’. He paused for a couple of minutes and I wondered what the devil was in store for me. He then proceeded to explain that…he had obtained the Brigadier’s consent…and I would take over command of ‘C’ Coy. He said the Brigadier had agreed to this course, I should go on leave straight away and as soon as I returned, take over ‘C’ Coy the change having been effected in the meantime.

I thought that was all very well, but my heart is in ‘B’ Coy, as they all know me and it is nearly a new Coy compared with when McNally commanded it. It appeared sensible that he should go there instead of us both having to get to know new people. So I tactfully started by saying how sorry I would be to leave ‘B’ Coy and the CO said, ‘Yes, I fully understand, it really is a grand Company, so then I put the already mentioned points to him and he agreed and asked McNally how he felt and as McNally took a very decent attitude on the whole question, the upshot was that I continue in command of ‘B’ and McNally goes to ‘C’.

In addition as the CO has made a smart move and…we are our correct establishment of Majors and unless any more very senior people arrive, it looks as if I will keep the crown. Needless to say, I am very anxious to keep it until March 4th in order to become a war substantive Captain which means I cannot go below that rank. The CO suggested that I should go on leave in any case but I have curious principles about leaving my Company when they are having a trying or dangerous time, so I told him I would not go on leave until we were relieved from this position. The CO spent some days with Jimmy Geddes when was on leave and liked him immensely and Jimmy is still extremely anxious that I should get down to him, which I will do as soon as we leave our present position.

I hope you received the letter in which I said I had written to Lloyd’s telling them to pay you an extra £10 with the Feb. payment and £10 per month extra after my pay as a Major is credited. I am now wondering how long that will be and so am thinking of writing again to tell them to start the extra £10 per month from March. I think my bank account should be able to stand it, especially as I use very little money for myself out here.  If I have to revert at any time we can drop it to £25 month. What is the address of your bank, Lloyd’s in Nottingham?

Last night I received your letter dated 12/1, a letter from Muriel Glennie, a Xmas card from Howley who’s with 5/Skins and says he is going hard for a commission and is married. Also the ‘New Statesman’ and ‘Manchester Guardian’ of 27/11. Ted sent me two Penguins, “People”, and “War” by Wintringham which I had read some time ago. In any case, one sees enough without any extra reading of it and “Portrait of England”, an Anthology, which would probably appeal to you more than me.

I am very sorry Valerie has a cold but I suppose it is difficult to stop her getting these things now.  She certainly seems to have rather a temper: a very strong willed young lass which is a good thing up to a point but we don’t want it over done. I suspect it is only a passing phase. Mother was delighted with the snaps of her and seems to think she is very intelligent like her Dad (?) or Mum (?). I am very happy that you have kept me alive with her, at least it will make it easier when I return. I gather some children take a great dislike to the intruding stranger when he appears on the scene. I hope you are well, darling, and don’t worry and try and get out and about as much as possible, it will be a grand day indeed when I am back home with you both.

All my love and kisses



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