4th August 1918 HMB
My Dearest Mother
After what has seemed an interminable silence I got a letter from you last night. It seems simply ages since you wrote, though I think it is only about 12 days.
Thank you very much for the little badge: I have already written to Mrs B to thank her for it.
I am glad to have it though we never wear such things out here. We are getting our chevrons shortly though the official sanction is a long time coming through: you see we don’t work fort the British Army and besides we have only been under the Joint War Committee: however we are to have them and they are to be retrospective, that is to count for our service under the Anglo-French Committee, but we can’t put them up before we get authorisation. Miss Crowdy the PC has been awfully decent about them. She came and inspected us a fortnight ago. I hope I get them before I come on leave. We had a raid last week but nothing particularly exciting. I cursed the thing for spoiling my beauty sleep! I wrote thanking you for the bit of bike which is quite all right now.
I went to early service this morning as I was on duty both morning and evening and it was my only chance. This afternoon six of us went up to the camps to a sports gathering. There was a huge crowd and when we got into the enclosure we had to split as 3 of them found seats first. Luckily my old friend from the echelon Colonel Vyvyan saw me, the upshot of it was that I and the other two were perched up on the dais among all the brass hats. I had the Belgian General on my left, whom I know quite well. We had a little pleasant conversation and then the French General came and sat on his left so I was left free. We had tea at the base commandant’s table ( he is the brigadier who was a friend of Lady Swettenham’s) and altogether had a ripping time.
The sports were jolly good and there was a gorgeous musical ride by Lancers from the base, all on old Life Guards horses, horses which were sent down from the line as only fit for base duty, but lovely black beasts. Then there was a parade of army carts competing for the best turn-out: their harness shone and the chains and buckles were like silver and you could have seen to powder your nose in the horse’s coats. Some of the drivers were Kaffirs and Hindus: they sat so proudly and saluted so beautifully.
Fraser and I had to leave early as we were on evening duty and I spent the evening in the dysentery ward robed in a white overall and nearly drowned in corrosive sublimate. It is the milder form, we call it “Summer complaint” here but they feel awfully miserable and upset with it for a few days poor chaps.
I have been having a very hectic time lately in the work line: I have been most awfully busy, and to complete my woes Stephenson my right hand has been off duty for about 3 weeks with “boils and blains” like the Egyptians. She is up at Sick Sisters hospital and goes to the Convalescent home at Etretat today I think, so I have had Fraser who has only been in the Electricity 6 weeks, and although intelligent doesn’t know as much as Stee who has been there nine months, and the third place has been filled by two raw hands, one after another, who are rather trying. All this gives me a lot of extra work, however I’m bearing up as well as can be expected.
I hope Stee will buck up and get better as she will have to take charge while I’m on leave.
Thanks awfully for letting me have Isabel : I have written to ask her for the first week of my leave.
The garden is fairly flourishing but it gets scorched and soaked by turns which it doesn’t like much.
I think the Tattershall scheme sounds quite nice: I like the idea of the windows.
I assure you Isabel would much rather share my room: we slept in hers at Forest House and her bed is exactly the same size as mine & we slept in a smaller one together here.
I’m awfully sick at having missed Tommy again: we have no luck. I heard from Tim the other day: her brother is still pretty bad I’m afraid.
I don’t seem to have any more news.
Please give my love to M and the kids when you next go to Sutton.
With best love to you and Father
Your loving Dorothy