you can imagine I am pretty busy at present in my double capacity,
and have not up to the present had a chance of writing to you
since I took over. There is of course a certain amount of office
work to be done even in the field. This is done mostly at night:
at any rate at present, as we have been fighting all day. The
brigade has had a few casualties, but mostly wounded. No officers
killed yet, and only a few men. There was a French battery in
action near us the other day, and Maj. Lewin and myself walked
over to see it. It was very interesting as the French Artillery
had a good field gun. However, when chatting (in very bad French)
to an officer in the batter a German shrapnel burst right on
us, and by a stroke of luck only Maj. Lewin had bit taken out
of his ear. Not a good think to be too curious. Major Lewin has
got your address, and is often able to get news through to England
quickly to Lady Edwina Lewin. He very kindly said he would get
Lady Edwina to send you a wire when he heard news of me. His
on GHQ staff now.
got the parcels 4 & 5. I ought to be using some of the notepaper,
but I always write in this book and tear them out, as I always
have it with me, and write a lot when there is a chance.
weather is pretty chilly now, but today is simply to-hole. We
generally manage to get under a roof at night. Well, we fight
today; Sunday morning. Sunday is generally a good day for us.
The Colonel told me that Mrs. Lushington had tea with you the
other day, or some meal like that.
Russians seem to have had a great victory it ought to
effect things somewhat. Of course now we have moved further north
- everyone knows that now I think.
see a good deal of Hope in the Irish Guards. Irish knows him
and he is a friend of Joyce Fortescue. We had a split bit of
chocolate together yesterday, sent by Joyce from Nuthooks. Tell
Iris she can tell Joyce it was jolly good in the midst of fighting.
the drinking chocolate you sent arrived. You might ell Model
to let me have bill of what we had had for our mess up to date.
Some of which dad of course put down to our mess. I arranged
that as they are coming out regularly, the Quaker Oats, cocoa,
etc. I like to get the bill with them, so as to settle up.
or norful hurry to catch post, yours, Otto.
hasty line to say that Im very well. We have been fighting
all day. Out Adjutant, Brousson was wounded while talking to
me I hope not badly fortunately. Just at present Im
doing his job till some one comes up, so have heaps to amuse
myself with, having to take over temporarily this ere job.
good weather but fairly chilly (torn away) ... cocoa. I got the
mittens the other night, and the Daily Mirrors. I
got two illustrated papers from someone today, I think it must
have been Violet writing was rather good for her. Well
to an aunt living in Toronto, Ontario, met during a visit to
Canada in 1913.
was awfully nice getting your letter. Well I little though when
I saw you last winter (that I would be amusing myself this way
this winter. As you know we mobilized on Aug. 5th and sailed
on 14th for Le Havre. We marched up to Mons and came under fire
for the first time on Sunday 23rd. We had evidently bumped up
against something rather larger than the French had let us know.
And of course the retreat had to start. We did no end of long
marching, and countless read guard scraps. Out retreat continued
until Sept 5th. Considering their enormous superiority at that
time the Germans did not do very well. They of course always
outnumber our guns. The Germans always want at least five to
our one to down our infantry and cavalry, and as they cant
always have it and do on losing at the rate they are now, there
seems no doubt as to the issue.
the retreat we had only four divisions out and a fifth arrived
in the middle. Well, on Sept 6th we turned and chased them to
the Aisne, where they had prepared a jolly strong position and
ware are rather turned to a siege character. In the middle of
the last month we came round here by train, and have just been
through some of the fiercest and most desperate efforts of the
German. They seem awfully fond of us, dont they? Things
are quiet again now. Sandy got wounded and is now at home. I
heard last night the he is going on well. It was a shrapnel in
the thigh. It is great work how Canada and the Colonies are coming
up to scratch in this show. They tell me the Canadians are an
A1 crew. I wrote to
A little while back just to say that
I thought the Empire had not absolutely gone to the dogs. Needless
to say the country all round here is very desolate. The poor
Belgian will have to start rather afresh after this war. I hope
now that we have come to a stop in Belgium. Out first visit at
the end of August to Mons was very short - one night and
a very unpleasant one too. We get very little news ourselves
of how things in general stand. Owing to the Russian successes
I think the general view is that the Germans must gradually have
to fall back. The French seem to have heaps in hand to follow
up. I wish from the word go we had had all the troops we shall
be able to muster next spring with Kitcheners army. We
could then walk round these fellows they are not good
soldiers but have excellent staffs and thoroughly well equipped
with everything. People are starting I think to wonder if the
war will last till next spring. The wastage among our opponents
is something enormous. Their generals ignore losses; I imagine
because they know time works against them. I hear the Indians
are doing well. They have got busy once or twice with the massed
Allemandes. One was asked what he thought of the war. He replied Ive
always like war but never has there been such a war as this. We
at present live in a house; they have not knocked it down yet
Im thankful to say. We have dug outs nearby
to which we retire when it comes on to shell.
I suppose Adam is very keen about the whole show. I can imagine
you hear very little news. They seem to hear nothing much in
England. Out letters are very carefully censored as you can imagine
so that one cant tell you much that is going on. I am sending
Adam an official post care that might interest him. They are
issued by the authorities and one can send them off very easily.
I am sure uncle Albert [Lieut. Col. Albert H. Smith] must have
some good and interesting theories on the war. I wonder if he
is still over your side. I saw him the day we mobilized and heard
from him when he sailed back.
a great thing and I hope England realizes it, that war does not
take place on her native soil when one has seen some of
the homes of the Belgium and France, one is very thankful that
England is untouched herself.
we all keep very fit. I always think it rather bucks one up to
know that however uncomfortable one may be ones self, one
can make sure the German is worse. From information we get from
prisoners they are often very short of food. Their plans were
rather laid so that their armies (always victorious) would advance
and live on the country: luckily for us they cant live
forever on the same piece.
so long and lets hear sometime again from you how Canada is
progressing in these exciting times. Its very nice getting
letters out in these wilds. How is uncle Earnest? Please
remember me to everyone I met in my short visit to London. I think
everyone at home is nearly as busy as us out here. Well so long again.