My Dearest Olive,
Have received three letters from you dated 13/3, 16/3 and 18/3. They arrived on separate days, which is rather unusual but very pleasant. Valerie seems to be in fine fettle and I am glad your lumbago has ceased to trouble you any more. It is good to know that Sadi and Sylva retain their high spirits -probably a bit trying for you but I would rather hate to arrive back home and find them old sedate dogs. It would certainly be grand to be with you again.
I am writing this letter in the sun. It is a beautiful day, clear blue sky and the countryside is beginning to look very pleasant. The mountains, some of them snow topped, present a magnificent sight. It is very much a case of ‘All prospects please and only man is vile’. The thunder of our guns, the drone of our planes, and the heavy AA fire of the enemy all seems strangely incongruous under such surroundings. What a life. I suppose one day we will return to normal conditions. Yet, curiously enough, war has done me well. It is a most brutal, bestial and senseless business, but since I joined up in Nov 1939, I have on the whole had very little cause to complain. Occasionally certain events have annoyed me and I have sometimes had a disappointment or setback but on the whole I have got on pretty well and have never suffered from that awful boredom that used to inflict me with BU.
I can recall days there when I was so bored, I could hardly speak a civil word to people, and I am afraid 3½ years as an officer and quite a lot of that time as Company Commander does not fit one to go back to that kind of job. Actually, I don’t suppose for a moment that I will – I am certain that something better will crop up and that is why I am anxious that we should save as much as possible and it was pleasing to read in a recent letter of yours that our financial position is much better. To repeat what I said in my last letter, I have instructed Lloyd’s to pay you £40 in April and from there onwards £30 per month. As I spend very little out here, our funds should still continue to mount nicely.
Mind you, I like the Army not just because of the job I am doing. Despite the changes etc, I would not be half as contented in mind at some Base Camp as I am with the battalion. ‘A’ Company Commander’s job can be very varied and one mistake can make a great difference but still the responsibility is well worth while and it I nice to feel that men have a confidence and trust in me.
Dicky Richards is away on a course but he came back one night before we moved to see me. Denis (Haywood) is instructing at the school and is apparently very happy there but his nerves are still not good, Dicky tells me he was quite shaky on an artillery demonstration….Ingrid has recently had to undergo an operation to her womb, something got misplaced when Karin was born, but she has made a good recovery.
I got a pleasant letter from George Barnett and was very surprised to receive one from Oliver Barraclough. Frankly, I thought his letter was poor stuff – it seemed to me to be divorced from what at any rate appear to me to be the realities of life. Jim Lawrence writes much more sensibly and interesting letters. I think Freda was rather unfair on Gudge. It is easy enough to write interestingly when one is doing an interesting job, but life in India must be very largely mean stagnation and Gudge was the first to admit that life in the ranks dulls the mind.
Even with Officers, it is much the same. It is very difficult to talk interestingly outside our job, and most of us quite frankly admit we will probably be classed as awful bores when we return home. I got a letter from Muriel Glennie to say that she had been to see Susan, and Susan had spoken very highly of us.
Look after yourself, precious. Remember I love you far beyond everything in the world. Give my little daughter a great big kiss and hug from her Daddy.
All my love and kisses to you both.