Capt. G.S. Andrews. R.C.E.
H.Q. Cdn Corp
Canadian Army Overseas.
England, 12 October 41.
This time you can have a laugh on me - This is my 5th or 6th day in No. 5 Cdn General Hospital at Taplow and it is in a bit of a luxury being here in my care, in fact I feel like a sissy when I look around at the other 9 or 10 officers in this ward who are mending broken legs or [?] backs or something pretty serious. My trouble is just those silly old tonsils again - They started kicking up a fuss about a week ago, so the M.O. brought me up here right away to the specialist, he said cant touch them in that shape go home & gargle - which I did - next day they were worse, so the M.O. brought me back again and they put me to bed - First night was the worst. Next day the specialist had a look at me and cheerfully predicted quinsy - meantime they feed me pills - all kinds of them, every 4 hrs, day & night - to attack the bugs in the rear - and gargles every so often as a frontal attack - anyway the quinsy has been overted and I can eat salads & drink without [?] [?] - Am hoping the Doc will consider them in proper shape to operate on soon, and then I can feel that the thing is over with - because although they have treated me wonderfully in this hospital - I didn't come over here to lie around in bed & be waited on. First time in my life I have ever been a hospital patient - and there are a few details about hospital etiquette I have had to learn - The night nurse, sister Crowsbie - a very efficient and nice girl gets a little annoyed with me when I try to sneak into the toiled instead of calling the orderly to bring the "doings" - The pills seem to have taken a lot of pep out of me and I am very lazy however I have begun to take some interesting food yesterday and to day - so it looks as though I am well over the hump. They haven't given me any pills to day either, so that looks like official approval.
Some of my poor ward-mates have been "in" for 4, 6, and one chap 11 weeks - so I am lucky. My all seem to be interesting fellows, and there is a lot of fuss goes on within the limitations of hospital regulations, and their various ailments. Two fellows are going home - to Canada and one-under hospital care here until the red tape is arranged. The chap on my left is from Missouri - and I didn't have to ask him either - he is a flyer, in the Air Transport Auxilliary - they take new planes and deliver them to various [?] where they are required, and pick up others & bring them to repare & overhaul depots. He is a likeable lad and gave up a good commercial pilots job in the states to come over here and help out - he flew for a while in S. America, through the Andes - He is just about better and will be going out in a few days - The accident that brought him into the hospital was due to engine failure and not to faulty piloting.
Major Meuser Major Macdonald & Bert Hammond came up to see me yesterday and brought the first Canadian letter mail to come for over a month. Your letter of 8 Sept. which is about 10 days late - but all the more welcome. The pictures of Mary are fine - why are there never any of her mother? She looks happy healthy and full of fun - I guess that is "Petah" In these pictures she certainly looks as much a Bergtholdt as an Andrews!
Glad you got settled up with Mr. Thomas so agreeably. It puts a nice flavour on the whole deal. No doubt he has been very busy during the past year or more - and little details slip his memory - and probably very little time to get around to see you. Your investment in radio phone & washer are O.K. Everything like that is going to go up in price if the war lasts much longer and I think another year at least can be expected - then even after hostilities stop, there will be a lag before ordinary useful things get into production on large scale again. We now should have most of the basic essentials of the insides of our own home - and I think we should try to get our total outstanding debt reduced considerably before going into any more credit purchases of any size. Here is an interesting detail - my pay, should I be sick very long will go down to the minimum for a captain, whereas at my job it is a little bit more than for a major i/c a field company. That is the trouble in the army - your income can change over-night up or down - and there are so many people all along the line who can impede or even prevent benefits that normally should come to you. Another thing is that we should always have enough liquid cash in reserve to take care of sudden illness, or other emergency - and then too, we don't want to have to sell our things in case our income is suddenly reduced below what is necessary to keep up all the payments which we are not obliged to carry. I think your handling of our affairs has been very very good dear, but we must not get too much involved.
It is now Tuesday the 14th and I got too sleepy to write any more on Sunday - and thought it would be nice to keep the letter till now so I could report more definitely. Yesterday they allowed me to get up a little while, and to-day was allowed to get dressed in my own clothes and eat my meals in the dining room - The Doctor looked me over just before lunch and says that I can go back to corps tomorrow - and that in a couple of weeks - I should come back and have the tonsils taken out - He doesn't want to do that till I have had a chance to get thoroughly back to normal again. They certainly have a wonderful hospital here - and it is wonderfully run. they also take plenty of time with each case and give a thorough check before letting anyone go as O.K.
I see you have another parcel on the way - I sure hope it comes safely - Sometimes if you can get me a good lighter it would be very useful - matches are very scarce and sometimes unobtainable. Don't pay a lot of money for one, because I have a bad habit of losing lighters. By a good one I mean a well made one sturdy - and suitable for a pipe smoker. It would be a good idea to send a supply of flints with it, good flints. I bought a lighter in Scotland last fall, but lost it after a couple of months. Now lighters seem to have disappeared from the stores altogether.
With your letter came one from Mrs. Swannell dated 3rd September. She has not had much of a holiday this summer, with Frank sick - and then Brian - Wish she could go for a good holiday somewhere. She says no Ketchup activities took place this year. I don't blame her - I trust there will be a couple of bottles of 1940 vintage in the cellar for when he came home -
I always thought a spell in hospital would be a great chance to get a lot of letters written - but it hasn't worked out that way this time. I suppose a long drawn out convalescence, waiting for a broken bone to heal might be to set-up. But it shard to write when you don't feel bright.
Tomorrow is our anniversary - and there have been no facilities here for sending a cable, - we are in a way like prisoners - and there is no contact with the outside world. I will be thinking about you of course tomorrow. Wish you could have been with me this afternoon. I sneaked outside for about an hours stroll - sun shining through blue patches - steadily increasing in size since a rainy morning. I just wandered onto a road and it led down among an old forest of beech Tues to an escarpment along the [?] - about 200 feet below - It was lovely - fresh after the rain - and glimpses across the valley broad & rich on the other side of the Thames. There was no one else about so I could indulge in quiet enjoyment of the surroundings without being on reserve. It would have been a lovely place for a walk with you. Very few leaves fallen - the trees seem to be clinging to them as the reluctant to let go to symbols of summer - Down at the end of one lane there was a grand home set on a hill across the valley - it just filled the vista framed by trees at the end of the lane - I think it was Cliveden - the famous home of the Astors - on whose estate this hospital is situated. I looked at this for sometime meditating on just what that view meant from a variety of angels - national and international - and then strolled back to the hospital in time for supper.
Well dear - must get this away - Heaps of love to you both. Will get Mary's card off tomorrow when I get back.