3 Jan 44.
This is Monday night, and my first letter to you for 1944. Yesterday and Sat was down at Haywards, and although it is a wonderful place to be for a week end, it is not the best place in the world for writing letters, in fact it is not a good place at all for anything like that. In the first place, I get so much fresh air and exercise there during the day that in the evenings, a delicious feeling of physical fatigue pushes me right into a big soft chair by the fire, and then so much wonderful food, a goose, boiled ham to go with it, and all kinds of fruit, that any sort of coordinated effort at writing is beyond question. I went down there on Friday evening, so had three nights and two full fine dry days. Bert & I got up very early this morning, had breaks at 620, were at the bus stop at 7, and caught the 730 train for London, so I was back at the office at 8:45, Bert is such good company, I enjoy talking to him in fact a visit there is a real build-up. The girls are delighted with their sweaters, wear them out around the place, doing the chores and are quite the envy of all who see them. The little axe I got for Bert in Ottawa is a dandy too, just what he needed, and it has proven to be of good steel. Some time, I'd like to get something for Mrs H. She is the only one whom I haven't favoured with an individual gift, and the more I see of her, the more I admire her. She is the example of a fine capable and cheerful wife, and I believe a real companion for Bert.
My cold has been much improved by the break in the country air, and in a day or two should cease to be even a nuisance. The hankies have taken a beating the last few days.
You will note two changes in my address, one is that the number of my unit has been changed from "10" to "30". The old number was so much like a different unit, that our mail was getting hopelessly balled up, so they gave us a new number to be quite different. The second thing is that if you want to, just for once, you may put the letters M.B.E. after your husbands name, and it will be quite legitimate, although I do not expect you to make a habit of it. In the new years honour list, I among others was, at the pleasure of His Majesty, on the advice of his Ministers, made a Member, Military division, of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, I sent on to you the official notice which came to me personally, today. While this is nothing very grand, and it is not in the same category at all as decorations like the MC and the DSO, which are supposed to be for distinguished conduct in the face of the enemy, still it is sort of an acknowledgement of plugging away at the job, being a bit obstinate, (in my case). It is the appropriate award for the "back room boys". The ribbon is cherry red, with a thin silver vertical border on each side, and another one of the same width in the centre. It is rather a nice ribbon, although it looks a bit lonely just above my left breast pocket. The award came as a complete surprise to me, and I still don't know what the citation is, if any. I suspect that Col Meuser, and General McNaughton had something to do with it, and it is for me, a remembrance of the General, coming at a time when I feel his retirement very sadly. Well, enough of myself.
Your letter of the 12th came last Tuesday. Mary' annual checkup seems just about perfect to me. We are fortunate to have such a healthy as well as such a sweet child. Her Ma gets full marks for both. I gather from your activities in looking into the adoption situation that our project is definitely off. You know how disappointed I am, dear, after a glimmer of hope, and I won't deny it, and I know you are disappointed too, perhaps our second baby will be the better for waiting till his parents can really look forward to Peace, and being together and not burdened with this tension of being denied each other for so long... I agree with you about the age of an adopted child, and also, in that case, not trying to bluff the little fellow that we were his natural parents. I will go into the matter with one or two people here, who can likely put me onto the right track. I wouldn't mind at all adopting a boy say 5 or 6 yrs old. If we could find the right child, I think we could get over the hurdle of winning his love and confidence, and on the other hand, we could be a lot more sure of his native sturdiness, both mentally and physically. Well, I'll reconnoitre, and keep you posted one what I can find out. Will try not to tell the authorities about your Trout story, they would be mortified I'm sure. Its high time I were getting home, I can see that.
Well, this letter seems just about used up, and I don't seem to have told you much. Plan to get another Â£50 off to you in the next few days, as soon as I can see the paymaster.