9th December 1915
Dollie is currently staying with Elsie Davidson in Eastbourne; a busy time for Arthur, his mapping skills are constantly in use; Rosa [Pulman] has furnished Arthur with a good supply of much-needed writing paper; a discussion on what to buy the family at home for Christmas and if Daisy should be asked to help; the men are practising putting out wire in the rain; Arthur and Ainsworth spend some time examining a new machine gun; leave is suddenly open for some of the officers but the remainder of the Company will be going up to the trenches in a few days – not a pleasant prospect in the vile weather.
Arthur mentions organising a Christmas gift for the girls in Malta – and one for brother Dick (in Gallipoli) . News has obviously not reached home of the great loss of life in the recent floods at Suvla bay. The government decided on 7th December that it was a lost cause and to evacuate all the troops (now based around Suvla, Anzac and Helles). The order arrived in Gallipoli on the 8th and the evacuation started on the 9th and by 19th December most of the troops had been pulled off the beaches. A small corps remained into January. The evacuation was done in secret, under the very noses of the Turks, and with very little loss of life. This part of the operation was seen as a great success much like Dunkirk in WW2.
We believe that Dickie had already been sent to the field hospital on Mudros (an island off the Gallipoli peninsula) by this date to recover from his severe frostbite. (We hope to confirm this from the records in the archive at Kew),
Arthur to Dollie
Billets, Thurs. am. 8.30
This can only be a short note to thank you for your dear letters of Sunday & Monday & to wish you Good-morning. I was very busy yesterday – out on a staff ride till 2: then I had to draw a sketch map & make out a report – also attend a lecture. After dinner we had the mess accounts to get out – so I had little or no time to myself…
Rosa sent me out the writing blocks. They turned up yesterday. This is one of them. Also the envelopes. I shall write & thank her – what is her address at Hendon. I hope your Mater is fit & cheery. Remember me to all at home, please, …
Thurs even. 5.50pm
Thanks awfully for your three letters of Sunday, Monday & Tuesday. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling more fit. By now, DV. you’ll be absolutely yourself again, your own dear self. I hope you enjoy yourself at Eastbourne, dear. Remember me to Elsie & the pere et mere (what of my French!) How’s Clive & the play. I hope it’s a success. Sure to be, eh dear, with Elsie in it?
Yes, dear, about the miniature, you’re right about the size & about the case. That is the same size as yours & a case like Rosa’s. You darling, its fearfully generous of you – thanks awfully.
I want to ask you something, dear. I want your advice. I want to get something for my folk at Christmas – that’s the Pater & Mater, Daisy, the boys & Joe & Maggie. Also for your dear Mater. I rather want to give the things as coming from us two. Would you rather I sent a cheque to you to get what you think, or would you rather I asked Daisy to do it. Just tell me frankly what you feel, dear. I shall know and understand. At any rate I should like you to choose something for your Mater …
To-day has been a day of rain. We paraded as usual this morning & practised putting out wire. Our fellows are pretty adept at it & so at 11 I got permission to dismiss. This afternoon I have been going over a new machine gun with Ainsworth.
Davis is back again. We are getting a new doc. 4 Officers & 12 men got leave last night quite suddenly. Lloyd went & Rice, Brown – the Quartermaster – & Ochs. We are probably going up in two or three days time. Brrrr – the prospect isn’t pleasant for the weather’s vile!
I sha’n’t forget about Dick dear, or the girls at Malta. That dear, is all the news…