WW1 Letters

Address Lieut. J.D.W. H.

Royal Engineers

No 4 Base Depot

B.E.F. France


My dearest Girl

We are still at the base awaiting orders and pretty sick of it we are too. There is nothing to do except go into the Town & spend money in restaurants etc & that is neither profitable nor to my mind very interesting. The mess is about the worst run I have ever had the misfortune to be in and the waiter soldiers a dirty slack, slovenly & lazy crew. No baths obtainable except in the Town & as that is four miles away one is not inclined to make the journey every day. We are all impatiently awaiting our postings. I was wrong about the 7/- a day allowances; it is 4/11 only, however I shall not require more than half of that at the outside once I am in the firing line.

I am wondering if you have moved to the house yet and whether you have managed everything properly. I mean without trouble.

I hunger greatly to see you & the babes now that I know that I am not able to do so, but still the time will soon pass & I shall get leave.

I am anxiously hoping to hear from you soon, & if your letter gets here after I am gone, it will be forwarded to me. Has Erskine been to see you yet?

Yesterday we had bomb throwing in earnest & its a curious feeling the first time to hear the fuse fizzing away in ones hand, while you count 1,2,3, & then throw it into the other trench; mine went right in and then exploded with a terrible bang. One poor young Officer had his hand blown off 4 days ago for not being quick enough. In the afternoon we had revolver practise & I must say my revolver is a beauty; I got a lot of bulls & all my other shots except two were only just outside. I have improved since the Cuevas days when you used to do better than I did. The Adjutant here is a very decent chap, a Scotsman & he has the decency to give me all the command jobs leaving the censoring and the small duties to the youngsters. There is a man here from Bombay whom so far I like very much; he and Winby are the only ones of more or less of my own age. Poor Winby’s nerves are rapidly wearing out under this monotony.

I suppose you know where the Base Hdqrs are, as I believe I am not supposed to tell you, though why I am unable to imagine. One of those extraordinary unreasoning things they continue to do in the Army long after the original reason for them has disappeared. Mrs W will tell you the name of this Town.

Do not bother to send me those breeches yet; I think they will be too thin in any case during the winter.

I hope my dear you will be quite cheerful & happy, though I am afraid the economies you will have to practise will not improve matters; if the promotion does not come soon, of course Ted will continue the £10 allowance although I wish that one did not have to take it.

I am told they paid the passages of a large number of Officers from abroad, & I feel sorry I did not stipulate for something of the kind. Another £150 in hand would have been useful. Also I might have arranged a Captaincy through Sir Reg Tower if only I had had patience and not come over as we did. I am afraid I shall never be able to become business like. Well goodbye dearest one with all my love to you and the sweet babes, whom kiss for me,

Yours affectionately


 Next Letter