My Darling Olive,
You will be interested to hear that Denis Hayward arrived back a few days ago. He has recovered from his wound and is quite well. Everyone seemed pleased to see him and I must say I very definitely was. He has not changed much. A little harder perhaps, a little more cynical which is only natural, but otherwise little different. We have had several long talks and discussed you and Ingrid (his wife) a good deal. He showed me a fairly recent photo of Helen (his daughter) in which she is standing up. She seems to have altered very little and there is still a very strong resemblance to him. I showed him the most recent snaps of Valerie and he was quite impressed. He said ‘I think she is going to develop into a real beauty’. Sentiments with which I strongly agree. He has taken over command of ‘D’ Coy whom I was with before I became IO. As far as I can judge, he is quite a capable Company Commander doing his work without any sort of fuss or bother.
I find the job of IO quite interesting, but would prefer to be with a Company. I had a long talk with the CO last night, as we were by ourselves and he got quite animated. I put it to him that while I found the IO work very interesting, I had always got on well with the men and liked the Company role. He likes people who are rather keen on fighting and he agreed. He said there was another officer specially earmarked for the job of IO when he came to the Battalion. He had done a tremendous amount of work but had no infantry experience. The CO thought he should have some before he became IO and he was wounded in Sicily but is expected back shortly. The CO said, in that case, he would make me 2 i/c of a Company, which will mean I will probably get my Captaincy back. He said Dennis Dunn was very keen to have me as his 2 i/c but in the meantime the IO work would provide valuable experience for me and teach me quite a lot. He seems very well disposed towards me and asked me various questions about you and Valerie.
Frank Higgins has gone to the Brigade Defence Platoon which is under the command of Douglas (Room). It is a good job for him, fairly safe and I think he deserves it after two hard campaigns. From what other people tell me, he has had a very hard time and put up some very good performances, being unlucky not to receive a decoration. I was up at Brigade the other day collecting information and had quite a talk with him and Turner. The later seems very fit and well and often harked back to the old happy days at Ballykinler. Afterwards, I had tea with Douglas and received a very much better meal than one would get at the battalion.
I am longing for news of you and Valerie. Nearly seven weeks now since I left home – it will be a great pleasure when I get the first letter. I am very anxious about you. I hope you will write plenty of air mail letters – everyone out here says they are by far the best to write from the point of time. Tell me all the news and you might give me your size in stockings, darling, in case I am able to purchase some for you.
All my love and kisses to the very best wife in all the world.
Your devoted husband