10th April 1916
New rules issued now mean the troops have to wear their steel helmets when on parade and the officers also have to wear shoulder tabs like the men’s [presumably in order to make them less of a target]; Arthur is still deeply troubled by the “T.” affair and the injustice of it all, thinking Evie should have taken more care of his Subaltern in the first place; Dollie has decided that they should send Arthur’s sister Laura a tea service as a wedding present.
Arthur to Dollie
Billets. France, Monday even: 9pm
… Your parcel arrived to-day & your letter of Saturday. You are a generous little person. Thanks awfully. Everything was most acceptable. You really do spoil me, dear, don’t you! I only wish that I could send you parcels too!
Well, dear, I’d better get my news off my chest first …This morning running parade as usual from 7 until quarter past. After breakfast we paraded by Companies at 9 & I didn’t finish until twenty past 12. We all have to wear our steel helmets on parade now. They’re awfully good, but I’m afraid they are going to be hot in the summer weather. We officers have now got shoulder tabs “3RD LONDONS” in red like the men, that are rather the thing.
This afternoon I refereed in a football match between the Sappers & a Coy of the 8th Middlesex. Quite a good game – score 2 all. Then I’d just time to snatch a cup of tea & up to HQ. Sammy came over from the Divisional School & pow-wowed us on this “T.” affaire. Perhaps I’d better explain again, had I dear – for last night I was very tired & worried & I don’t really know if I made myself clear. We are all very sick over the matter, for it ought never to have happened. It is a sorry business. Here goes. On Saturday the Brigade Sports were held. We were pretty successful: won the tug-of-war & 4 firsts. I was very bucked because my Company won the Relay race, after a sporting fight. Anyway after the sports, T. & Henri & Evie went to F- to dinner. They wanted me to go.
Well, apparently there, they had drinks with Beattie, & T., who is a good boy, though he certainly does not know how much is good for him, over-drank himself. For some reason or other Evie left him in Beattie’s care: & Beattie, who is in charge of a bus company, promised to give him a lift in the morning. However Beattie doesn’t seem to have worried about T. very much, & T. was put in an officers hut near the station. Here two officers of the Indian Cavalry – returning from leave – chose to report T. instead of helping him. With the result, of course, that he was put under arrest, and is now! Sammy put the matter rather well to-night, when he said that the honour of the 3rd had been entrusted to the A.S.C.! & of course he is very fed up with Evie. So much for that.
Now for my part in the affair. On Sunday morning I went to Mass & Communion at 8: breakfast at 9.15: I paid the Company at 9.30 – this lasted till 10.40. I then went straight on this Flammenwerfer parade & then Evie told me he had left T. at F-. This of course accounted for T. absence off parade – which I thought was due to his being detailed for some special duty – (a thing that often happens without my being warned). We were back from parade just in time for lunch. I was now, naturally, very anxious: so after lunch, Lloyd & Davis rode in to find out what they could. They brought back the news. And I then reported it. Sammy thinks I should have reported it sooner, which was impossible for I didn’t know: though I might have spoken on the strength of what Evie told me on parade. However, the CO D.V. will be back in a few days time and the matter will most certainly be thrashed out with him. I shall see to that: I only wish that he was coming back sooner. Beresford is away at present till Friday on a COs conference – thank heaven…
To-morrow the Battalion is having baths. To-day has been a glorious day. Edouard is back: he had to have his tooth out, but he said they did it awfully well. He went to a Field Hospital only a few mile from here. Evie is back again – he was with a battery a couple of miles away – nowhere near the front – so don’t worry, dear.
About leave, dear; it is going along steadily; but there are a certain number to go before me – including the two boys – so there’s your wish granted.
Yes dear, I am only too happy that you should have the choice of Laura’s present. A tea-set sounds an awfully good idea & I’m only too content that you should have everything in your very capable hands. God bless you…