16th November 1916
A long chatty letter from Arthur, now in a happier mood since the post contains three letters from Dollie. News of cousin Charles Muscat (he has just been awarded the MC): “Very good news about Charlie Muscat. I am pleased. Do you know his address, dear. I should like to send him a line”. Arthur has spent the last two days riding around the countryside on Company business “… We left here about 1.45 & rode through all the old places where we were when we first came into the line . It wasn’t very much changed but all seemed much cleaner. We weren’t back until after 5 so I went in and had tea with Minshull. At 7 he and I rode over to the Brigade for dinner. It was most bitterly cold. There was a biting NE wind & it was very dark”.
Arthur to Dollie
I had two letters from you yesterday (Satur & Sun) and to-day Monday’s arrived. Thanks ever so much, wife of mine. I am always eager & impatient for your news & can never hear enough. I am so sorry to hear you have a cold, dear: is it out of sympathy with mine? Do take care of yourself, dear. I hope you didn’t catch your cold coming back from No3.
I wasn’t able to get a letter off on Wednesday the 8th darling as the relief was on. Very good news about Charlie Muscat. I am pleased. Do you know his address, dear. I should like to send him a line. I think I’ve told you that I had a letter from Mrs Crichton. I shall endeavour to get down there if I can but we are some miles N. of the place & it is not easy to get away there with all our work on. But if I do get the opportunity you may be sure I’ll go to see where Harry lies.
About the whistle cord, darling; I wanted it for our show. But I couldn’t get it & in the end came away with my old one. I think it will last me a little longer. Yesterday, sweet heart, Minshull and I rode over to Corps HQ to get cash for the Battalion. It was further than we thought; for there is no very direct route there & I suppose going & coming back we covered 17-18 miles. Incidentally while we were there, I drew some cash for myself. I signed for it, when the cashier said “Don’t you come from Hampstead?” I said “Yes do you?” “Well” he said “I did, my name is MacShane”. Isn’t it curious. You remember them of course don’t you dear, though it’s two or three years since we’ve seen them.
We left here about 1.45 & rode through all the old places where we were when we first came into the line. It wasn’t very much changed but all seemed much cleaner. We weren’t back until after 5 so I went in and had tea with Minshull. At 7 he and I rode over to the Brigade for dinner. It was most bitterly cold. There was a biting NE wind & it was very dark.
The Brigadier is on leave at present; the Staff Captain has a job with the Corps. Crosthwaite & I think Barber the Signals Officer have gone to the Army School. Blewitt was very affable & we didn’t leave until 11.30. It was not so bad coming back for the wind had moderated a bit, but it was 12.20 before I tumbled into my very cold flea-bag.
This morning we were on parade from 9 until a quarter past 12. Then I had my Orders i.e. I saw some men who were charged with various offences. Lunch at 1. I had promised to play football this afternoon & changed only to find that the gunners were using the field. So I changed back again & rode into La Gorgue with Davis. He is very comfortable there but not awfully happy just pro tem. He feels rather as I do, the continuous effort to build up one’s men only to lose them & have to start all over again. So we comfort each other. I think the fact that we’ve both young & at any rate in my case very charming & loveable, wives is another bond.
By the way, dear, young Henri turned up again to-day – just the same as ever – very full of beans. I think he will go to the Brigade Bomb School.
The weather is tophole – but most fearfully cold, darling; the chief thing is that it doesn’t rain – but our huts were built for the summer. I hope next time we are out to be able to get billets.
To-morrow I think we are due for a route march. In the afternoon some of us are going in to see the Bow Bells D.V. I hav’n’t seen them for ages…
Charles Muscat was Arthur’s 1st cousin in the 7th South Staffordshire Regiment. Their war diary notes that he was awarded his MC at the start of November for his actions at Thiepval on 26th September. He is mentioned a few times in the history of the regiment written in 1919.