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Date: December 22nd 1916
Dear Ones All

B.F.C. Auxiliary Hospital

Dear Ones All,

Some people have all the luck, and I think I must be one of them. Here I am visiting at one of the finest houses I have ever seen with nothing to do but enjoy myself until Dec. 31st and best of all I am here for Christmas together with a bunch of good fellows and pretty V.A.D. nurses.

To explain, this is a convalescent hospital and quite the most wonderful one you ever heard of- I'll tell you all about it in a minute. But as to why I am here- I had a bad attack of grippe, or "flu" as they call it in England, and was absolutely miserable for about ten days. I kept on going though for I wanted to get as much flying as possible but the horrible dampness and fog and the standing around waiting for flights and for my turn at the machine gun range, kept me from getting better. Finally it turned to neuralgia and things and I had to quit. Dr. Swan the chief M.O. for the Flying Corps saw me and said that I must come down here. I left Paddington at 10.30 yesterday morning and arrived at St. Anstell Station at about 5.30 in the afternoon where a big limousine was waiting for me to bring me to the "hospital" about two miles away.

Captain Tremayne owns the place, together with several other estates in Cornwall, and judging by what I have seen he must be many times a millionaire. He has turned the whole show over to the R.F.C. as a convalescent home for officers, which seems to me a mighty big thing to do. The house dates back to the 15th century, that is all but the front part which is quite modern- about 100 years old. It is an enormous place and the furnishings and paintings are magnificent beyond all my poor powers of description. I have seen only a part of it so far, but there seems to be everything in the world one could wish for he has a grand piano, a player piano, and a pipe organ to my certain knowledge, also a beautiful billiard room, and one of the finest libraries I have ever seen anywhere.

The grounds and the gardens are even finer, if anything, however. This estate covers about 8000 acres- pretty big playground, eh! This part of England as you know, is almost tropical, and as I strolled around through the acres and acres of gardens this morning (without an over-coat of course, or even a hat, for it was like a day in June) I could scarcely believe that I wasn’t in Florida or somewhere. Palm trees and three ferns and banana trees growing in profusion everywhere tropical plants of all kinds growing as thickly as in a Brazilian forest, and bamboo growing like a weed all over the place. There are wishing wells, lovers nooks, and all sorts of romantic little bowers in unexpected places, a covered tennis court, a private golf links, immense conservatories, and dear knows what. Then there are little lakes with swans floating about in them, and strangest of all- a regular Zoo with all sorts of strange beasts and things.

As soon as you are fit the usual procedure here is to ride, hunt (to hounds) and shoot all day long. I am not allowed to do anything strenuous as yet unfortunately and I am not allowed to get up until 10.0 a.m. That is pretty tough of course but it will only last for a few days. There are twelve or thirteen other officers here; two of them are Canadians, Lynch and Stupart both from Toronto. You know who Stupart is of course. I am anxious to try my hands at the pheasants. They say it is good sport. There are three V.A.D. nurses and a nursing "sister" here, also a resident doctor- a Scotchman whom I like very much.

All things considered I am pretty lucky, don’t you think? Particularly in view of the fact that there is no Xmas leave this year and if it hadn’t been for this I should have spent my Xmas in a miserable officers mess- surrounded by a lot of people who were just as grumpy and out of sorts as myself.

I am saving up my Xmas parcels for Monday morning. About six of them have arrived and I feel ever so lucky.

Good-bye Dear People, I have no letters to acknowledge this time but they’ll all probably arrive in a bunch. Heaps of love to you all and best wishes for the New Year.

Yours as always,

Original Scans

Original Scans