21st February 1916
Arthur’s missing letter to Dollie finally turns up in Hampstead; leave is open for the men but not for Officers; a sunny trip in a hired car to Abbeville – where Arthur buys a new flask and consumes 6 cakes at tea! Arthur reassures Dollie that he has no inclination to go to Paris, even if he had the chance; postcards from brother Dickie – now recovering from frostbite in Egypt, after the November flooding at Gallipoli; Arthur narrowly misses a Zeppelin raid over unoccupied France.
Arthur to Dollie
Hotel du Commerce, Mon 3pm
… Thanks awfully for letter of the 19th that came at midday to-day. I’m glad the missing letter has turned up at last. It seems funny that my letters take so long to reach you: yours DG have been wonderfully quick & regular; God bless you for it. I feel so dull if ever a day passes & I don’t hear from you. Yes, dear, the Division is the … as you say: but an order is out not to put it in the address as it may cause delay, and I don’t want that to happen…
Leave is open, dear: but Beresford has only put in the men’s names, none of the officers. Yesterday we (that is Lloyd, Rice, Ainsworth & I went into Abb-v-lle (can you guess the name; you know more or less where we are?) We hired the local car: it was a beautiful sunny afternoon but very cold. The country looked glorious. A- is about 19 kilometres from here: it took us about 40 minutes. I bought quite a decent aluminium flask for 4fcs 80: we saw one of the R.T.O.s who was in the 2 / 3 Ghurkas: then had tea (wherein I consumed 6 cakes! Including a “baba au rhum”).
After tea we had a drink & came back: we agreed on a rendezvous at 5.15 but Rice & Ainsworth (who had gone to fetch his overcoat from a hotel where he had left it) didn’t put in an appearance till 6. So Lloyd & I sat in the car and smoked. The car was almost exactly like French’s. I was awfully homesick for you, dear. We were in just before 7: dinner at half-past. I came to bed early afterwards. To-day we recommenced our usual programme. It is rather dull & very cold. This morning the CO turned up. I haven’t been able to see him yet: but will go in after tea.
What ho for Flavie, eh, dear? I don’t think, darling that you need worry your dear head about Paris very much. I lack the chance & the inclination to go. I think little lover mine, that that is all my news. How is your dear Mother? I had two postcards from Dick to-day: he is very fit. They are dated Jany 28th. I also had a postcard from Hammonds saying that they had sent my breeches (which, of course, I receive some days ago). Their postcard was dated Feb 8th! but they had addressed it “B.E.F. c/o GPO” and hadn’t put on “FRANCE”.
Henri who came back from Rouen with the boys went off to-day to help teach in the Divisional Bombing School. Our men (& officers when they get it) go on leave via Havre. Yesterday early about 2am we had a Zep raid! Joke eh? over several towns where we have just come from Bethune, Lillers, Bruay & back over Am—ns, just S. of here…