1st LONDON GENERAL HOSPITAL, 26th September 1917 (A letter written to Mrs Thorne advising her of events leading up to my entry into hospital). Glad to hear from you and Harold yesterday morning. It was a surprise to me to hear that Hal. had been wounded and was home again with you. I hope he is doing well. Will he come to town on his way to Suffolk? I thought he would be somewhere near Ypres this season. We've been there continuously since October 17th last Year, and I believe that it is partly due to that long spell that I have caught this complaint. Goodness knows why we are fighting for Belgium - it is not worth the trouble. I think a better name for it would be the "cesspit" of Europe and not the "cockpit" as the newspapers used to call it at the beginning of hostilities.
I shall be very pleased to see Mrs Evans and Marjorie as the days seem very long, especially as this is the first time I have ever been confined to bed really seriously. I am being given eggs and puddings to eat now and this makes things more interesting - something to look forward to in the day's routine. I read and write and play patience most of the day when the nurses are not tidying up or remaking the beds or taking temperatures and feeling pulses.
At the Casualty Clearing Station in Belgium (Abeille) they had the bed-making mania very badly, and used to truss one up like a mummy, and arrange the patterns on the counterpanes so that they came exactly in the middle of the bed. We used to chaff the sister about this. She took it well, and all were very kind to us.
At the Base I was sent to the Duchess of Westminster's hospital at Le Touquet and had a grand time although on a milk diet only. The Sisters and V.A.U.s were very jolly and attentive. Here in London they are not too bad, but somehow seem more reserved. Still, we find them very nice to look at after having seen nothing but hairy men in uniform for so long.
When we arrived at Charing Cross station it was two days after the `Push' and we got no end of a reception from the crowd outside. I felt such a hypocrit as I did not consider myself a wounded `hero' although I was carried on a stretcher.
I have not heard from Jack yet but expect to do so by tonight's mail. You will be sorry to learn that Wallace Mileman was killed on the night of the 16th, and was buried near Glencorse Wood. Do you remember him? He, Nelson and I used to be such good pals. - Brian.
D WARD, 1st LONDON GENERAL HOSPITAL, CAMBERWELL, LONDON 1st October 1917 Another week has gone by and here I am still in bed and in the same place. I'm pleased to say that I am feeling so much better, but they won't say when I can get up. Sister says that getting up too soon might turn it into a chronic case and I'm sure I don't want to be always troubled with bad kidneys for the rest of my life, so I suppose I must be patient and keep quiet. The last letter I received from you was dated August 22nd - not so bad for war-time is it?
FOR THE CAUSE
NATAL'S ROLL OF HONOUR
We are enabled from information supplied by the oca. branch of the Defence Department, and from official intimations received by the relatives, to push the following details of the latest casualties affecting Natal:-
LIEUT. V. W. MILEMAN, M.C., IMPERIAL REGIMENT, KILLED IN ACTION ON SEPTEMBER 16, - The sad news reached the City on Saturday that Lieut. V. Wallace Mileman, M.C. of an Imperial Regiment, had met his death in action during the recent heavy fighting on the Western front. The late Lieut. Mileman was the only son of the late Mr H. J. Mileman, formerly of the City and of Johannesburg, and of Mrs Bradney of Davenport Avenue, Durban. He was educated at Maritzburg College and was at one time at the office of Mr Robert Dunlop in the City. Prior to enlisting in the forces he was an accountant in Johannesburg and gave up a good position to "do his bit" for the Empire. He served with the Natal Carbineers during the German-West campaign, and on the termination of hostilities proceeded to England , where he joined the Officers Training Corps. He was drafted to the London Regiment and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery in the field. In January last, being on three months furlough owing to wounds received in action, he was among the speakers with Lieut. Archie Campbell Watt, of the Royal Flying Corps, at the monster Recruiting Rally at the Rinkoscope towards the end of the month. He was a grandson of Mrs W Mileman, of 68 Chapel Street, City, and a nephew of Mrs Alfred Mileman of 355 Loop Street, and of Mr and Mrs G W Simpson, of Blackridge. He was well known among a large circle of friends, by whom he was held in high esteem. He possessed those find traits of character which go to the building of England's manhood, and now remains his memory, which will be cherished among those who have paid the supreme sacrifice for King and Empire.
Jack called to see me yesterday afternoon. He was my first visitor and was very welcome, as you can well imagine. He is looking very fit and seems to be getting fatter in the face.
The Ward I am in is a bright room holding 9 beds, 8 of which are at present occupied - all sick cases. There is one other patient with the same complaint as mine: a Canadian Major who has been in bed for nearly five months. I don't think my case can have been as bad as his. Anyway, I don't look forward to five months in bed. There are three medical officers as well, all patients; they receive the same attention as anyone else. There is also a wireless officer in bed with gastric trouble, also a Cadet-officer from Jack's Regiment. He is an awfully nice chap and I'm glad to have him in the next bed. We play cards and yarn about this and that nearly every morning; it helps to pass the time away.
I've had several letters from Mrs Thorne who promises to come up to town to visit me one of these days. Harold is with her suffering from a wound in the thigh. She has also written to some friends of hers who live in town and whom I met in Bedford when I was staying at Mrs Thorne's. I am looking forward to their coming to see me. They are Rhodesians, Mother and Daughter, and both very cheerful people.
The air-raids have lent a bit of excitement each evening I've been here. The noise of the anti-aircraft guns is quite like old times. One can hear the drone of the Hun engines quite distinctly during lulls in the firing. Some bombs were dropped about a mile away. We could hear the machines getting closer and closer - quite exciting. The civilians seem to be properly scared at having death so near them, but except for the women and children, they get small sympathy from me. The average middle-class Londoner has been getting fat through the war and allowing others to shed their blood to protect him. Of course a lot of them have their sons and nephews away, but a taste of shell-fire will bring the horrors of war home to them. I hear that Mr Ford is very nervous. He should not be so apprehensive as he has a nice deep cellar underneath his house.
My letters have not been forwarded from France yet. I expect them hourly. I must conclude now - the nurse is coming round with washing things and to straighten the bed once more. Give my love to Dad and Kay as well. - Brian.
"D" WARD 1ST LONDON GENERAL HOSPITAL, CAMBERWELL S.E.5 7 October 1917 Another week has sped by and here I am still in bed feeling quite fit and well. Of course I'm not really well yet, but so long as I remained in bed I feel O.K. I tried to walk the other afternoon while sister was turning the mattress but found myself very weak on my feet.
Mr Ford called to visit me the other day. I was very pleased to have a chat with him. He seems to have been badly scared by the German Air Raids last week.
This week I have received a good few letters from various people and this has kept me fairly well amused. I've read a lot of books, and have finished one jig-saw puzzle. I've read the newspapers from end to end each morning, and have done a little sketching. It helps to pass the time away.
The weather is turning distinctly cold now and for the last two days we have had a fire in the Ward. When we get tired of reading etc. we `rag' an R.N.A.S. chap, a fellow patient. He's an awful ass and a regular "fruit salt". Enos everything and is always butting in gratuitously.
In the next bed on my right is Colonel of the R.A.M. Corps. A quiet old bird: we two are quite a pair up in our corner. (N.B. Some time later he died of cancer of the liver.) News is getting short - like sugar - so I'll close - Brian.
"D" WARD, 1ST LON. GEN. HOSP., CAMBERWELL, S.E.5 14th October 1917 Nothing to report on the Hospital front. I am still in bed and feeling as fit as ever although a trifle fed-up today.
I've had a few visitors since I last wrote, including our former Quartermaster, Lieut George Roche, and Len Raymond, who was wounded during the 20th September "push". He collected a small wound in his right hand, but not very serious. Cliff, his brother, is all right and is on his way over to be commissioned.
I can't tell you when I'm likely to get out of this hospital, but I am prepared to be patient in view of the other nephritis sufferer's long stay here. I received two letters from you this week dated August 30th and September 5th respectively, so that's not so bad. I'm smoking cigarettes now as my pipes and "baccy" are packed away in my valise, but since I cannot get up I can't get at them easily. This helps to make me a bit unsettled.
The Sisters and Nurses are very nice here, especially two of them, but I have not yet found one of my own, but you may rest assured that I will tell you all about her when I do happen to meet one that suits. Cheer O, Mother Dear, - Brian.
"D" WARD AGAIN. TRAFALGAR DAY, 21st October 1917 All is quiet on the Hospital Front - nothing to report. I'm still in bed but am feeling better and stronger. They are making a test tomorrow so then I will know how the nephritis is going. Jack came again to see me and stayed all the afternoon. He is looking A.1.; military life certainly seems to agree with him. I've been in hospital just a month today and am beginning to become bored. I'm afraid this letter will suffer in consequence.
We experienced a Zeppelin raid two night ago, and they say that an aerial torpedo fell somewhere near us - in Albany Road, wherever that may be! We heard tonight that the French had brought down eight of them and we hope it is true.
Do not worry about me, Mother dear, I'm perfectly comfortable here, - Brian.
"D" WARD, 1ST LONDON GENERAL HOSPITAL, Sunday 4th November 1917 Since I last wrote, I have received two letters from you dated 12th and 19th September respectively: about five weeks old when they reached me. Not so bad considering the decrease in shipping tonnage and other things.
The week has passed rather dully. The bad news from Italy helped to depress us a bit, but the Naval news yesterday bucked us up somewhat. Also, a chum from King Edward's Horse came to see me. He was on the ship when we came over and knocked about with us before we joined up; he threw in his lot with us and joined K.E.H. He has been with his regiment in France up to last April, and now is a cadet-officer training for the Tank Corps. His name is Albertson, a Rhodesian from Gatooma. I probably mentioned him in my earlier letters. He was not able to give me much news of Harry Bird, and I too could not tell him very much as Bird owes me a letter, now about six months old.
Well, Mother dear, I'm still much about the same in health. I am beginning to become a bit tired of everlasting eggs and milk as a diet, but tonight I enjoyed my meal of cauliflower with white sauce and chip potatoes, some trifle followed by coffee. I've not had any meat substance since I came here, and often long for a good steak and onions or something like that.
During the week I heard from Sybil Thorne; her work seems to agree with her. The Air Raid last Wednesday was a poor affair. All I knew of it was the sound of guns at 2 a.m. Hope you are well. - Brian.
SAME HOSPITAL 11th November, 1917 No letters from you since I last wrote, and moreover, nothing to tell since then. I'm still in bed and feeling much the same as before. I've also got a bit sick of writing and I can't tell you much news of other friends. Most of the other fellows in the Ward are well enough to get up now, including the Major with my complaint but he is not allowed to go out of the Ward for fear of catching cold. He has been in here since last April, so I must be equally patient. I'm afraid I have a long way to go yet!
I've heard from the Battalion and believe that I have received promotion to Lieutenant, but as yet I know nothing officially. It will mean another `bob' a day. That's all.
I'm looking forward to experiencing Christmas in Hospital and am wondering what kind of Xmas Pudding a milk-diet patient will receive. I can tolerate Christmas in the circumstances, but if it comes to Easter Eggs too, I shall revolt!! Nothing more to add. Hope to get a bunch of letters this week. Love, Brian.
SAME HOSPITAL AGAIN, Sunday 18th November 1917 Since I last wrote my hopes have been fulfilled. Three letters from Home - two from your dear self, and one from Kathleen. I'm so glad to hear that you and Dad went to Isipingo. You must have enjoyed it, although you do not say so in your letter.
I'm still in bed and showing signs of improvement. My most recent report (from the Pathologist) was the best I have had so far, so I am eagerly looking forward to tomorrow's report which should be, I hope, better still.
The week has passed quite quickly and cheerfully and I have had quite the largest number of visitors yet. Two chaps on leave from France came in; also Len Raymond today, and yesterday our old Quartermaster again, besides two or three girls I have met. One of them I met in France. She is in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps, employed in the Army Pay Corps at Boulogne. She is a well-educated girl, is patriotic above the average, - but really, Mother I have not yet found the girl over here that I should really like to marry. Moreover, you must not forget that I have nothing to offer except my army pay to live on.
I hear that Harold Raymond has become engaged. Good luck to him. I must write and congratulate him although I do not know the girl; I'm sure however, that his choice will be good. I hope you are all in the best of health and spirits - Brian.
"D" WARD AS USUAL. 25th November, 1917 (You might receive this about Christmas time so I'll wish you all a Merry Christmas and take a chance. Brian) No word from you since I last wrote and I am pleased to think that the War Office did not cable you when I was admitted to Hospital as it would have caused you unnecessary worry. At least I am assuming that they did not cable, because in your last letter of Oct 11th you did not mention anything about my illness - no kindly words of sympathy or advice, as you most surely will in the next few letters I hope to receive.
The week has not been too monotonous as I have visits from two girls, and of course the news of "The Byng Boys Push" made all the difference to our spirits. We listened hard for the `Joy Bells' but failed to hear them as this hospital is rather out of the way. I believe I have to undergo a Medical Board decision tomorrow, when they will, I suppose, decide whether to drown me (like an unwanted kitten) or keep on and make me better.
I haven't seen Jack since he came back from leave in Edinburgh. I believe the reason is that they have cut down all leave to troops stationed in England in order to save Railway Traffic for more important things. The ration problem does not affect us except for sugar of which we get enough, but not enough to be extravagant.
Well, Mother Dear, I hope you dear people at Home are not having too hard a time and that you are enjoying the best of health.
"D" WARD AGAIN December 9th, 1917 In your last letter, dated October 24th, you mentioned Uncle Ned's death; poor old chap, his troubles are over.
I'm still in the same old bed, and after having been given a blanket-bath I feel ever so much fresher and clean, but just a little tired for I am pretty weak now but otherwise feeling O.K. A couple of nights ago the Hun came over raiding and dropped three incendiary bombs in the Hospital grounds which did no damage and hurt no one. We were told that 2 Gothas were shot down, and also that 2 more collided and fell in Holland, so old Bosche doesn't seem to be having much luck, does he? In his previous raid four Zeppelins got it in the neck; this must have been pretty discouraging to him.
The Cambrai show is not too pleasing, is it? - but we have got those wretched lunatic Russians to thank for our loss of ground, but Jerry is beaten and knows it and is trying to do his damnedest before the Americans start work and overwhelm him.
A Naval commander who came in to visit one of our patients said that the war would go on until the Hun was absolutely exhausted financially and economically and that the Allies shall win because we shall be exhausted too, but only half an hour after him. No matter how long he can stick it, we can stick it longer and beat him.
Since I last wrote, Jack has been in to see me; he was to have joined the Cadet Battalion last Thursday. Another visitor was Sahlstrom, who was at Maritzburg College with me. He told the South African Gifts and Comforts Committee where I was, and as a result they sent me a parcel of tobacco and cigarettes. I wasn't short of tobacco as I am still smoking the last lb. you sent me, but I was pleased to be remembered by the Committee.
I also heard from Mrs Thorne who seems to be keeping very well. She tells me that Harold is at a Convalescent Home in Blackpool, and that Sybil is going to spend a few days with him at Christmas.
I expect I shall be here for the Christmas celebrations as neither of the two nephritis cases were boarded out last Wednesday, Dec. 12th, although four other patients were discharged. I've been reading quite a lot of books lately and the days seem to pass quickly enough, but I shall be pleased to go out again once more. There isn't much to tell you, Mother Dear, so I'll close with heaps of love to all at Home. - Brian.
"D" WARD AGAIN, Sunday 16th December 1917 Last week I received two letters from you dated Oct. 30th and Nov. 7th and also one from Dad dated Oct. 30th. The same mail brought me one from Harry Bird's sister from whom I have not heard for months and months. She wrote asking about Harry but since I have not heard from him for a long time I cannot tell her much.
In Dad's letter he mentioned that you had caught a bad cold, so I sincerely hope that you are better by now and none the worse for it. Just fancy! It is three months since I first went to hospital, and last mail was the first in which you mention anything about my illness. News takes an incredibly long time to travel nowadays.
With me, things have passed much the same as usual this week, with the exception that on Tuesday last I had a sudden attack of tooth ache and on Thursday the Dentist came along and pulled it out. It was a wisdom tooth located at the very back and was fairly well decayed. He gave me cocaine, but the extraction hurt me a little.
Yesterday Miss Watson came to see me. I did not remember her at all except by name, so I cannot say whether she has changed or not. She gave me her address which I am sending on to Jack as he will be able to call on her before I shall.
This morning I persuaded the Doctor to let me have a little fish to eat, and at last he agreed: from what I can gather, I shall be here for some time yet.
I'm sorry to hear that Kathleen's blouse has not yet arrived as it was sent by letter-post: but patience will bring its reward I'm sure. Mother dear, that is the extent of my news. Love, - Brian.
"D" WARD, 1ST LONDON GENERAL HOSPITAL, December 30th, 1917 Another week has floated by and the only event of any importance was Christmas Day itself last Tuesday. It was quite a red-letter day for me because I had a change of diet, being allowed a wee bit of turkey, some stuffing, a drumstick to pick and Xmas pudding - besides some Burgundy to drink.
We were all carried into a larger Ward, and those fellows who could sit up took their dinner from a table set down the middle of the Ward. We bed-patients had ours brought to us in the beds ranged up against the walls. There was plenty of mistletoe and holly about, and I managed in spite of being in bed, to catch two nurses under the mistletoe.
In the afternoon a troupe of entertainers came along and gave us a show. It was quite amusing and helped to pass the afternoon away rather pleasantly. After that we were wheeled back to bed in our proper Wards, and we in our Ward finished up the evening in singing songs until "lights out".
On Christmas Eve we had hung up our bed-socks, and each of us got something from the American Red Cross, and also from our own Red Cross. I also received the day before, a registered letter from the South African Comforts Committee containing a postal order for ten shillings. I also had Christmas Cards from (the Irish cousins) the Cushings and the Talbots.
Jack came in to see me on Wednesday. He had spent Christmas Day with the Conways at Harrow, and must have told them about me, for yesterday I received a parcel of sweets and cigarettes from Ethel Conway. Mrs Watson came with Miss Dixon to see me on Friday afternoon: I could but dimly remember her face.
The other day Sister asked the Doctor how soon it would be before I could get up. He replied "Hurry no man's cattle. How long has he been in?" On being told `three months', he continued "Three months is nothing for nephritis". So I must be patient and grin and bear it. Anyway, I'm not missing much outside as the weather has been pretty rotten lately.
The orderly is coming round to collect the letters, so I must close with fondest love, - Brian.
"D" WARD. 1ST LONDON GENERAL HOSPITAL 6th January 1918 Since I wrote last Sunday I have had two letters from you dated November 16th and 24th respectively. You mentioned that you are sending me some socks and a cake. Many thanks in advance, but up to now they have not arrived. It seems rather ironical to send me socks as I'm still in bed, and not even walking about the Ward, but still I appreciate very much the little gifts you send me.
I expect you will wonder at the changed handwriting when you receive this letter. The fact of the matter is that I have bought a stylo fountain pen for experiment: I find this is the best style of writing with it (no pun intended).
Since I last wrote I have developed Tines (ringworm) but it is nothing much. It has been prevalent in several London hospitals and in this one in particular. I think I caught it from the hospital pyjamas. It's a `thing' they can't help in a big hospital like this one, and in spite of all precautions it crops up here and there. They are being fairly strict with me and, in fact, it is nearly better now as I reported it in good time and got treatment (an ointment) for it at once. It has broken out in my crutch and this makes it rather messy to dress. It is not the same kind of germ that children get in their scalp - or so a fellow-patient told me - and it has been quite frequent in France, but is easily eradicated.
I would have written to poor Wallace's mother long ago, but I'm afraid I can tell her nothing more than I told you. People have no idea how difficult it is to hear anything, or to do anything for chaps who are killed in a battle-area. The best one can do is to place the body in the nearest shell-hole and then shovel some earth (or rather mud) over it. This would have to be done under shell-fire - explosive or gas, and it is ten-to-one that before the body is decently covered up, another shell pitches on or near it, and blows it all up again. Very few of the dead are brought away in a battle and most are hastily buried (as above) after the front line has been advanced a little. Mother, this makes rather gruesome reading, so I close - Brian.
"D" WARD January 20th, 1918 All is quiet on the Nephritis Front. Nothing of interest to report except that I have completed four months in bed now. Last Tuesday I had a visit from a lady friend of Mrs Thorne from Bedford, and today another visit from a young lady who had spent Christmas at Bedford and had stayed in the same house as Mrs Thorne. Mrs Thorne seems to have had [contact] with both Harold and Sybil, but I expect she will pop in to see me one of these days. I heard from Jack yesterday and he seems to be going as strong as ever. Since I wrote last Sunday no mails have arrived from Home, but with a bit of luck I expect I may get two or three together this week.
I'm afraid there is absolutely nothing fresh to tell you. I've done very little this week except read and sleep. I'm feeling very much the same as usual and am doing as well as can be expected, but still looking forward to the time when I shall be able to get up and toddle about. That great day is, at all events, four months nearer.
Well, Mother dearest, I hope you, Dad and Kay are all in the best of health and spirit. With heaps of love, - Brian.
"D" WARD. January 27th, 1918 The past week has been quite eventful - I have received two letters from you, dated Nov. 29th and December 11th. I have also had a visit from Mrs Thorne. She came down alone from Bedford for the day, and spent most of the afternoon with me. She is looking very well in spite of a mild cold which seems to be the common thing now-a-days.
My complaint is steadily improving. For a week now, I have had clear reports from the pathologist, and if it continues good for another week, I shall be allowed to get up. Of course I shall have to do it gradually - an hour at a time - as I'm feeling pretty weak after such a long time in bed.
I notice in one of your letters you ask for snapshots I may have taken. Mother dear, you will certainly get any interesting photos I get, but please give me time. One cannot have photos or even snaps taken indoors, and especially in bed, in this weather, so be patient and I will send you some. I was also somewhat chagrined on reading the cutting you sent me of a list of Old Collegians at the Front. It was very interesting, but as a list of Old Collegians it was failure. Neither my name, nor Nelson's, nor Toly Holgate's nor any of my pals was mentioned. We are all "Old Collegians" - and darned important ones too! I do not particularly want to see my name in print, but if they make out a list, they might at least make a complete one. No more news now, so cheer O, Mother dear, - Brian.
"D" WARD February 3rd, 1918 Since last writing I have received your letter written on Christmas Day. Also the parcel of socks and handkerchiefs; for which ever so many thanks. I've nothing much to tell you except that I am much better, and hope when I write again next Sunday that I shall be able to tell you more interesting news as I have been promised to be allowed up on Tuesday. My diet has been increased and I now enjoy mutton chops for dinner, and this morning I had a sausage for breakfast. Some treat! I see by the newspaper cutting that Cyril is now an acting Captain. He is jolly lucky for he saw hardly any service with the Battalion in France, but got to England after only about a month there, having sustained a damaged knee playing football when we were at rest behind the Line.
If I had still been in France with the Battalion, I too would have been an Acting Captain as several chaps junior to me have since been promoted. (N.B. Of course, I too might have accompanied Wallace Mileman). I think I shall try to follow Hosken's lead and ask for service in some warm climate: then I might get a chance of seeing something of you all once again. Still, we shall see what happens. Cheer O, keep smiling, Mother dear, - Brian.
"D" WARD, 10th February, 1918 A short "Bulletin" to tell you how I am. You will be pleased to hear that I am now sitting up for a couple of hours each day, and since Tuesday I have been having proper baths downstairs. It is a great luxury to enjoy a good hot bath after months of the so-called blanket-baths.
Towards the end of next week I hope to be allowed up sufficiently long to enable me to go up town for the afternoon. No letters have arrived from you since I last wrote: this week I may be luckier.
I had a visit from a pal from the Battalion in France today. We had a long chat about their doings since I left them and it seems that they have had a tough time. They are now undergoing re-organisation.
There isn't much more to tell you. On the Hospital front all is quiet. I hope you all at Home are enjoying the best of health. Love - Brian
"D" WARD Sunday, 18th February 1918 Since I last wrote I have some good news to tell you. I have been invalided out of the Army. At first the decision came as a shock to me, but now, after thinking things over I am reconciled to the idea and am looking forward to coming Home once more. At present I must wait to be discharged from Hospital, and also for my name to appear in the Government Gazette as officially retired from the Service on account of ill-health. Also, to arrange money-affairs and where to stay when I am again a civilian. I expect I shall be awarded a pension of sorts, and also a gratuity and, of course, a free passage back to my Homeland. I will be granted the rank of honorary lieutenant, and when my retirement has been gazetted I shall not be entitled to wear uniform; that means a visit to my tailor, for my pre-war clothing stored with Mr Ford will be out of size and old-fashioned, if not unwearable.
I am applying for civil employment as I have heard that chaps sometimes get quite good billets from the Department that deals with these matters. I have asked for a job somewhere overseas in the mining world in a warmer climate, and if they offer me anything suitable I shall take it, but I am determined now to go home first for a holiday in order to regain my strength.
I do not yet know how this illness will affect me in after-life but that remains to be seen. At present I am allowed to get up at mid-day, and both yesterday and today I have been up to town. Yesterday I visited a cinema, and today I spent a quiet afternoon in front of a fire at the South African Officers Club, Grosvenor Square, as the weather has turned rather chilly. As to my state of health at present, I feel fairly weak and my legs are somewhat stiff, but I feel infinitely better than when I first fell ill in Belgium: so that is something gained even if I shall not be able to lead a very strenuous life afterwards. Personally, I feel that I shall be all right in a warm climate, and hope that I shall be fit again after I have been at Home for a month or so.
Jack is in town enjoying a short leave and I am to meet him tomorrow. He will, I'm sure, be surprised to hear my news. There isn't much more I can tell you now. I'm tired after my outing and am looking forward to a warm bath and then to bed. With fondest love to all at Home - Brian.
"D" WARD STILL 24th February, 1918 Nothing fresh has happened since I wrote to you last week, except that I have had a letter from you dated January 7th. On Monday I duly met Jack, and together we visited Mr Ford. Mr Ford seems rather unstrung through war worries and air-raids but Jack looks the picture of health and seems a little fatter than when I last saw him. We went to a theatre together on Tuesday and next morning he left to resume duty. As for me, I am progressing but still feeling weak. I have heard nothing fresh from the War Office. Next week may produce something. As my hot bath is ready and as my poor news is finished, I must conclude. Love from Brian.
Published: 1 October 2007.
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