RMS Franconia scratched out, 5th Essex
I didn’t write soon enough for your birthday –returns and may your shadow never grow less as Dick has wished many a time before! Guess I will have to wish you a Happy Christmas at the same time and may there be plenty of mistletoe and something to make mistletoe really dangerous next Christmas.
We have trees here and will have a little snow. Perhaps a few candles. We are proposing to have a Christmas tree when the time comes. I expect a letter from somebody soon. They are slow. Brown has had one. I have not had one since I left D. . . We got Colvin’s parcels with some goodies in them. He has moved down to the hospital ship and a very good sort too he was, and so are his cakes. I had Brown to tea yesterday. A luxurious tea with these cakes, (a slice each), and Osbourne biscuits and treacle, bull’s eyes and chocolate, and cigarettes for polishing the affair. Have paste and ration biscuits too. Never had such a spread before.
Bond, the Padre come to tea today, (Sunday). He has done a lot of work here and the Early had more than a dozen and about fifteen or sixteen this morning. He does it very beautifully and quietly. It is just the same as in England, only more real with the outer coats and skins peeled off it, or you. I don’t know which. You can imagine the circle round the medical hut kneeling on the ground in the scrub,. In the open with people doing things at the cookhouse behind, and on the right by the water tank. There were some new ones that had been confirmed out here today.
Gray and Tompson in my company come every week or as often as they can. We went to look in last Sunday for one some way off. We found it was half an hour earlier and everybody had gone home. I enclose Bene’s shrew that I found on the way back. Hope it isn’t too smelly. I dried it for ages and scraped it till I was afraid the hairs would come out backwards.
The moon is lovely here. The early morning lights a green-blue and every other tint of grey imaginable. In the morning the very dim colours soft and lovely. This morning the sky was soft blue, and the whole sky was covered with wisps of cirrus clouds, all rose madder, all round wisped with pink, If only we hadn’t been affluted with belly aches we could enjoy it more.
I think David must have been this disease when he asks for “a little strength before I die,” only he must have had it worse! Same country more or less, so perhaps the Padre thinks he did really have it badly. Must have been most undignified in his haste sometimes!
I had the photos Dick took, with me and Am’s last Xmas photos too. signed Kat with a ridiculous animal drawn on it so. Brown and I decided we would have a top hole time in the 12th if we went back now. Wouldn’t we be hobnobbing with the big people too till we shoot the game! Guess we would have some time at home too Your loving, (& well),