15th October 1916 – Sunday
Arthur has been so busy that he has been unable to write for the last 3 days and anticipation of his imminent leave is mounting. A new draft of officers has arrived and, to his great delight, brother Alfred is amongst them. Arthur is able to go out for a Sunday afternoon horse ride with Alfred and feels homesick remembering times past. So much has gone on between Alfred being invalided back home in May 1915 and now arriving back on the western front.
(Alfonse was a family nickname for Alfred)
Arthur to Dollie
I have your dear letters up to the 8th. My Darling, I am sorry that there is so much to worry you at home – its too bad. I hope D.V. to be with you in a few days time now and that we will be able to put everything all right. The prospect of near leave makes me mad with excitement; I am simply longing to get home to you. My dear sweetheart, the hours are dragging.
The posts are very bad, and I am pretty busy. Minshull is on leave – by now he may have rung you up – and I am carrying on as Adjutant while he is away. There is a great deal to do for the whole Battalion wants re-organising. Heaps of new Officers have turned up & to my great joy and astonishment, Alfonse! just the same as ever. He is very fit and brought me a very priceless box of chocolates. Thanks ever so much, dear. I do appreciate your thoughtfulness and just love you for being your dear self.
The new CO is an awful good chap, very keen on the battalion: & is out to do all he can for it. I had an awfully affectionate letter from Howell. He is simply yeober, dear old man. If you knew how worried I was when he was with us about the 15th lest he should get hit.
The weather is still grey & rather wet. This morning I went to Mass & Communion. Afterwards I was pretty busy until lunch. This afternoon Alfred & I went for a ride for an hour just before tea. The sun came out for a bit, I felt suddenly fearfully homesick. The last few weeks have been a bit of an effort & when we came out I suddenly began to realise things & the numbers that have gone. We are running a battalion mess now – but all the faces are new. Then to have Alfonse back seemed like a touch of old times – and I want you, my pal, more than I have ever wanted you before. My darling little sweetheart I am so happy when I can forget all else & yield myself to our love, when work is not pressing or I can forget these past weeks & turn to you. It is like coming from night into day, from a dull grey sky to the glory of sunlight. You are the centre and the crown of it all; I love to turn to you for comfort. My dear, there is just one thing I want to do & that is to make you happy always…