Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


15th March 1944

15.3.44

My Dearest Olive,

Three letters arrived from you today dated 29/2, 2/3, 6/3. You appear to have had some trouble with the house, all these burst pipes, etc but I hope by now it has been straightened out. Perhaps Valerie is going to become a famous dancer. I am a great believer in letting her develop along her own natural lines and if she really does show an interest and enthusiasm for dancing, it will be worth while giving her every encouragement and having her trained. Still, at the age of two I expect it is a trifle early to be planning her future career and I expect she will have many other likes as time goes on. I will be very glad to get another photo of her, and it is a pity that the mail takes so long to arrive out here. The papers you have been sending are now arriving regularly and after reading them, I pass most of them on to the men. The ‘New Statesman’ is very balanced in its views and I think the “Tribune” has had some quite good stuff of late. One gets very out of touch regarding books, films and music. All our quiz questions are invariably very out of date on these questions.

Nothing much has happened during the past few days – there is slowly some heat getting into the sun but it is still very chilly at night time. We are mixing training and pleasure quite nicely and there is a cheerful atmosphere in the Company. Certainly, they always tackle any job wholeheartedly. Turner and two other NCOs in ‘B’ Coy reverted to fusilier at their own request recently and he is now across in this Company and doing very well. I believe there are others who would like to come across.

On Sunday night, we gave a small dinner party at which our guests included the CO, Jimmy Clarke, McNally, Harry Graydon (the fighting padre whom I told you about) and a couple of others. It was a very successful evening, as Jimmy is a most brilliant conversationalist, one of the wittiest people I have ever met and the conversation flowed along very well. Douglas had managed to secure some very good wine, about the best I had tasted out here – most of the ‘vino’ is foul, and that too flowed very pleasantly.  I have also had some bridge recently, but at best we were all rather rusty although the standard is improving again and we are having another game tonight.

Gerry Chambers who met with a car accident about a week after he joined the battalion in December has just returned. I have just heard that Tony Pierce is home in England. He was wounded in the mouth in Tunisia but returned to the battalion only to be wounded in Sicily, this time rather more seriously. You were correct about the Brigadier. He is very good, having a high reputation out here and, unlike his predecessor, he does not interfere in the running of the battalion. Of course, he and the CO are very great friends, which is always useful. Have never heard a word from Edward (Gibbon) since he went to hospital in late January? It is quite extraordinary, and one would have thought he would have written, but no one has any idea where he has got too. Somehow, I don’t think he will appear here again. Denis (Haywood) has so far not appeared on the scene as expected, and I don’t think  he will get command of a Company again. The CO said the other night he did not know what he would do with him if Denis returned.  I rather gather he is liked personally very much….Still it won’t worry Denis unduly, as he is not over ambitious in the military field and I think his one ambition is to return home safe to Ingrid, all very laudable, but I must confess the thing that keeps me going out here is the responsibility and feeling I have got something to work for, desperately as I want to return home to you and Valerie.

I suppose we may expect the ‘Second Front’ shortly. The pressure of the Germans is very severe and I am rather inclined to the view that the crack will come suddenly. They will go on resisting fiercely to the end but the continuous retreat in Russia combined with the heavy bombing must be very wearying on morale and if the ‘Second Front’ is a success, it may just make all the difference.

All my love and kisses, darling, may we be together again soon.

Your devoted husband

Lawrence



 

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