A note on the letters. The transcripts may include abbreviations or spelling inconsistencies and errors. We have chosen to transcribe the letters as they appear so that they are an accurate reflection of John Oldfield’s style and personality. We have also included his original page numbering. Where language is used that we would deem offensive, those words have been replaced with XXX.
1st Bn. The Green Howards
Palestine Sunday. Dec 11.
My dear Mum, Daddy, and Jum,
Thank you all so much for your letters, the postcards and cuttings. The views should do very well indeed Daddy, and as soon as I have any time I am going to try and get one done. You seem to have done the trick again re: the missing trunk and I expect I should be hearing about it v.soon now. I was speaking to Bessam the other day about it- he is doing asst. adjutant -and he suggested pinning the Yorkshire Insurance Company down to a time limit. It is now 3 months that it has been missing- Sept 6- Dec 6, and he says why not elaborate about the adjutant no longer tolerating your coming into mess in a bath- towel etc, and the expense of having to replace clothes that you already have, but are not available, and the inconvenience of duplicating your clothes. This strikes me as being pretty sound and I do think the Insurance Company should cough up a bit, don’t you?
We have been very busy just lately, and the Brigadier has just put into operation his new scheme for cleaning Samaria. Each column or company, has one day off in three, the other day two days starting at 2 of a morning and finishing anything up to teatime. So when you get back you feel like going straight to bed to wake up for the next day. Still, it seems to be fairly effective and we have been getting fairly good results so far. To-day has been a day of rest for the lot of us- I didn’t get up except to eat until after tea- and to-morrow there is a Brigade Scheme which is going on for three days- for once we have been spared, and I don’t think any of us are really disappointed. A Coy and C Coy are out and we are staying behind.
Derry was very lucky the other day, he was sent off to supervise his PL searching the village, and maybe to do a bit of searching himself as an alternative to twiddling his thumbs at Coy. H.Q outside the village. So off he went, after a bit he evidently found it a bit tedious, so flopped down on some straw or something, straight on top of a mauser Parabellum- a German automatic used by the bandits. Tremendous bit of luck and he is keeping it himself instead of claiming the reward.
Guy was down last night, and he came into my room for a bit and talked ‘osses, and other jobbing topics. From what he says, Patience is doing a bit of horsecoping at home. I had a long ride yesterday on one of the Police horses- an arab stallion- with a fellow called Rieman who started riding about a year and a half ago and is dead keen. He had a very nasty fall the other day, when his horse came down on the tarmac, his foot stuck in the stirrup and he was dragged along the road. He is feeling a bit dicky, I think.
- We rode down Death Valley, the place where a Turkish division was trapped and completely wiped out-5 survivors- in the war. It is the first time I’ve seen it and very grim it looks too. Then after that we had a canter round the landing ground. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was grand to be riding again.
- Derry Radcliffe was shot up the other night on his night patrol on the Nablus- Jenin road, and he got the Patrol firing back, but I don’t think there were any casualties on either side. I went out immediately after with him and we took a party up on foot to try and find the snipers but they had gone. Last night on my Patrol- I organised a ‘’tremendous foxy’’ plan and for right behind where they usually snipe from, but unfortunately they weren’t there.
Well my dears it’s getting latish so I will pack up. Please thank Barton for writing and tell them I will write just as I can get the time. Can you also send some of my recent letters to Ruth as they didn’t even know I was out here. I will also write to them as soon as I can make the time.
I do hope the wedding was a success- do write and let me have all the news.
My love to you all,