Irish Brigade

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

9th March 1944


9.3.44

My Dearest Olive,

Nine years ago today, we were married and what a lot has happened since then. I think this is only the second time that we have spent our wedding anniversary apart, the other being in 1940 when I was at the ITC Bedford. I certainly hope that next year we will be together again. Well, we have had some fine times together and I am certain we will have many more in the future. Today, is very pleasant, fine and sunny and quite warm, a very great contrast to the same day in 1935.

Yesterday after a long wait, a large lot of mail arrived. Three letters from you, darling, dated 20/2, 22/2, 27/2.

I was very sorry to read that Valerie has been ill again. It must have been quite alarming for you when she had that screaming fit and I am glad you went straight to the doctor. She should be much better when the summer comes along and the weather is more settled.  I am always most interested to read about her doings and sayings and can never have too much of it.  It is some small compensation for not being able to see her growing up but very small I am afraid. She certainly seems a character. From the sound of your letter, Sadi is her favourite, does she not have much to do with Sylva?

I also got quite a number of other letters, one from Mrs Slowley in which she called me a ‘hero’. Apparently, the third boy is in the Army now as well. Someone, who from the description was apparently Shale, came to see them recently and said that I had been severely wounded and had been evacuated to England. Amazing the rumours that get around. No such luck about England, and actually I am feeling very fit. A letter from Reg Slowley, who is now with the 5/Skins, and has just completed a battle course. According to him, he got a good report and is hopeful of going to an OTCU. I wrote him rather a strong ‘bucking up’ letter so it may have had a good effect. Byron is with the same battalion and also young John Corbert serving there as a Lieut, quite a change for him after Omagh. Shale is still at Omagh. A letter from Mr. Higgins to say they are very pleased I am in the same battalion as Frank and they are very proud that Frank has become a Sergeant. He is, of course, in a different company to me now. They would very much like for you to go and stay with them sometime but I imagine it is rather difficult for you and there are other places you would like to go to first. A letter from Pat saying she was very sorry to hear from you that I had to revert to Captain. One from Sgt. Wallace who is now in India with Sgt Self.  Wishes very much he was with us here and asks to be remembered to you. One from Mother written Nov 10th, when she knew I had gone abroad but did not know where, and one from Muriel Glennie. Altogether a very satisfactory mail.

Barrosa Day was quite a big success. The Officers and Sgts football match was quite a hilarious affair and about the best ever.  It was contested on a field about an inch deep in water and we were certainly a sight at the end.  A good dinner was provided for the men and in the evening we had our own dinner at a hall in a nearby town. Quite a good meal was provided with the usual Barrosa customs, with the speech by the junior subaltern, young Hansson and the passing of the Barrosa drinking cup. Afterwards, the Sergeants arrived and the evening assumed a fairly hectic note and ended up in some fierce scrums and a few thick heads the following morning.

A letter has just arrived from you dated 24/2. I very much hope you are able to make some new friends, darling, I wish I was home to be able to relieve you a bit with Valerie. I am glad she gets on well with your Mother. Nothing very startling has happened with us, and we are still doing quite a good deal of training and having plenty of exercise. We have our own mess for ‘C’ Coy, just four of us, myself, Dicky Richards, Douglas and Pat Howard and we are very happy and quite comfortable. Fellowes is, of course, still with me, as no officer can ever take another batman. It just is not done and a batman changes Company with their Officers as they desire but Fellowes was only too willing to change.

Look after yourself darling. All my love to you and Valerie, I miss you tremendously.

Lawrence



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