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 Jthe writer’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.
Yorkshire 17th March
My dear Mrs Oldfield
Thank you so much for your letter which arrived a day or two ago, having been forwarded on from home. I am so sorry that I wasn’t able to come up to Sandsend for a day or two, but it would have been very difficult, I should have loved to have seen you all again. However, it was grand to be able to have a telephone conversation with you, which was the next best thing.
I had a very enjoyable leave, the only thing wrong being that it was at least a month too short. I’ve never known ten days fly past at such a tremendous pace. You’ve no idea how depressing it is in coming back to this place. It seems much worse then coming out the first time. I suppose it’s because in those days no-one knew what was going to happen and there was a certain element of excitement about it all.
Almost as soon as I got back
2, I got in touch with John and on Friday he and Ronnie came round and had dinner with me. It was lovely seeing him again and he was looking very well and was in extremely good heart. He said he was almost certain to get leave sometime in the middle of this week, in which case you’ll probably be seeing him before this letter arrives. It will be grand for you having him home again.
It was lovely seeing Jean again. You ask whether she was a good little girl she really was an absolute brick the way she helped Mummy out in the various domestic crises which occurred in rapid succession ! The final crisis was when the domestic didn’t arrive in the morning until about 10 and gave Mummy the sack when she did !
The night before I left Jean and I went to rather a depressing show in town called “Cousin Muriel” . It was rather a disappointment because we’d
3, both heard it was frightfully good. The only amusing part was the first ten minutes, when Jean was suffering from a violent attack of hiccoughs !
Saying goodbye at the best of times is an extremely depressing business, but at 8 O’clock in the morning it was quite dreadful and I’ve never seen such a depressing heart-breaking sight as Victoria station just before the leave train goes.
My company commander is at present on leave and doesn’t come back until Monday week, so till then I am doing company commander unless I get the “gofer hat” before then.
Being Sunday we’ve had a day of rest today and I’ve done nothing all day except read a most amusing book, called “The Back Garden of Allah” which Jean gave me to give John.
I’m afraid that is about all the news for the time being. Life goes on out here very much the same from one to another. The weather is typical. The day after I arrived we had a blizzard
4, which was extremely unpleasant as we had to go on digging and working in it. Today we’ve had a steady downpour. However it hasn’t worried me very much as I’ve hardly been out of doors all day.
You ask in your letter whether I’d like a cake. It really is very kind of you and I would very much. The last one arrived at a very opportune moment while we were don’t in front of the Maginot line and was terribly good. I must say I do think it’s terribly honest and kind of you to send me all these lovely things.
Please give my love to all at Sandsend.
My very fond love