July 20, 1940 (No.15 General Hospital, Bramshot Chase, Hindhead, Surrey)
Dear Lorna and Shirley,
I often think of you two young monkeys, but never quite felt I could afford the terrible expense of placing tuppence hapenny on a special letter, so never wrote to you separately. However, the paymaster came through with ten shillings yesterday, so I felt I could well afford the splurge. At present, I am loafing around a hospital ward and having a pretty soft time of it. The whole staff here is Canadian and some of the nurses aren’t bad (looking). I’ve been here since the tenth and hope to be out in a few days now. One of my officers and some of the boys came over to see me yesterday and brought my equipment and some eats with them. I was glad to see them as they were the first of the outfit I had seen since the accident and I was anxious to know how it all happened as I couldn’t remember a single thing in this regard. Captain Hanna was very surprised when I told him I knew nothing of the accident and then started to go back over the events leading up to the actual crash, which never will be clear, or at least, I don’t think I will. Captain Hanna said that Major Ford and I were driving along a narrow country road when we were approached by a heavy truck. He said that at the narrowest point we passed and a projection on the loaded truck struck my windshield, smashing it and knocking me for a loop. Major Ford riding beside me was untouched fortunately. The Major sent his regards and told me to insist on my getting back to my regiment from the convalescent depot.
All the casualties must go to the depot and if another regiment needs men, away you go, but if the Major wants me, I’m safe enough. Well, we are very comfortable here and the food and service is splendid and we seem to have a happy-go-lucky bunch of boys in our ward.
Shirley, do you remember asking me to collect bird’s eggs? Well, I couldn’t take the time, but I met a girl in Okehampton who is a school teacher and she promised to talk to some of the pupils to see if they would be interested in exchanging eggs with you, in any case she said she would write you. If she does, I expect you to write her a nice letter and possibly enclose a nice photo of yourself and Lorna in your best bib and tucker.
Well, I envy you kids your green peas and fresh corn, but most of all, I miss juicy steaks, as we never see them. When I come home, I’m going to have a week of feasting, so I will let you know in plenty of time.
How is the garden, this year’s flowers and vegetable? I suppose you still have a few weeds in the garden, grass in the tree-strips and nettles in the bush to worry about. I don’t know what I’d do if I were suddenly confronted with a grass-infested tree strip and told to dig it out, I’m afraid I’d run or faint. We think we are badly treated when we are told to dig an air-raid shelter trench when we arrive at a new location.
I suppose the crop is all out in full head now and looking like a million, I sure would like to see a real stand of wheat again. I have seen fields of English grain, but they were so small and the stand so thick and short that there was no comparison. How did you kids make out in your exams? Passed I expect. You might send me a copy of the Mercury July First sports if there is one available when you get this. Also send me some more snapshots, as I always like to get them of the new crop, of the family, of the tiller and tractor, anything.
Well, kids, I am nearing the end of this page and a nurse is approaching with a dressing for my eye so must close soon but before doing so, must assure you that I’m almost 100% O.K., although I was pretty lucky not to lose an eye. Will be as good as ever inside a week and back at work. I miss the whole gang and wish they would get on with the fight and get it over with. Perhaps after the first year or so, the pain becomes less and it’s had to realize that I have been over here for six months, doesn’t it? For your information, our overseas letters go postage free.
Well, I started out to write you kids, but the letter is much along the same lines as the others, so what’s the use. Well, lots of love and don’t forget to remember your ol’ brother Al.