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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Letter Home - 22nd May, 1916

211 Piccadilly

22nd May, 1916

Dear Mother,

As you see I am once more on leave, having arrived on Thursday afternoon last at three thirty pm. It was quite a good journey, except for the crowds in the train. The sea was simply glassy and we did not even have an escort - well, not above water anyway. I thought I was going to spring a surprise on everybody but had not been in the club a minute before I ran across Bobbie Russell of Carnygham who said that his mother and Mrs Chirnside were upstairs having tea and that I must join them. Well, when I got there, I found Mrs Russell, Mrs Percy Chirnside and 'my boy Poss', Bill Austin and RS Gilliard. Poss was quite the nut and had come across from Ireland full of the rebellion and of having bayonetted several rebels, which I should think should be taken with a grain of salt. Well, after tea I saw Aunt May, who seemed to be in good form, so you can imagine the news of my arrival circulated like wireless. On Friday I went out to St John's Wood with Gilliard, to see John and meet his OC, Colonely Bailey, who seems a nice sort of man, but, by the way things are run, I should think he was very strict. John eventually appeared at the double and gave us all a very average GS salute and the CO eventually gave him the afternoon off. Well we went back to their hotel in Kensington but Barbara was out so we two and Nan tried to catch her at Hatchet's restaurant without success. I expect someone hill have told you all about it. In the meantime, Foster and Mim had arrived and were hunting me up and I found them on Saturday at the York Hotel in Albermarle Street. Foster had just received his promotion to Major and sailed to take over an Australian squadron in Egypt today. Mildred looks well but is still rather thin.

I don't think John or Barbara lok very fit but no doubt they will pick up. Young John looks well and is full of spirits. Well Mum, there is not time for any more. I go back to France the day after tomorrow - that is the 24th.

Ever your loving son



  1. I wonder if Mrs Chirnside may be the wife (nee Ethel Mary Fenner) of John Percy Chirnside of Werribee, Victoria, who was an officer with the Remount Section in the British Army (ex-Victoria Horse Artillery)

  2. I think Blip probably knows that - Blip?