Birmingham. Nov 6 1918
My Dear Mother:
This is a wonderful place Jim has up here In fact the most wonderful military institution. I have ever been in. And Jim is getting wonderful work to do. Every thing is wonderful Even the bed-room they have given me to sleep in _ The park around the building. The Golf course across the road - and the views from any of the windows across the rolling country. Jim was certainly born lucky.
We came up here the night before last and tomorrow morning I expect to move on for a day or so at Buxton and then I will return to London Saturday and leave for France on Monday Morning.
I do wish you people were here today. I do so want to talk to you. Talk to you on a proposition which was brought to me yesterday morning by Major Dunn, who is the chief Surgeon on the staff here. It is only a theory at present and one which should it materialize may mean considerable disappointment for us all this Christmas but a
tremenduous advantage to me in my profession. Please dont immediately conclude I have changed my plans about returning because ten chances to one I have not.
Now then here is the proposition. Major Dunn suggests he should use his influence to have me stationed here for work after I return from France on Dec 14th. This would mean a chance of a life-time to me. should it materialize. Suppose the war is still on by that date I could propose to the war-office that if they care to give me a six months contract and send me to this hospital under Major Dunn. I will sign on again. On the other hand suppose the war is over, which is quite likely. Well, the possibility is I would not be allowed to sign on again as they would want to get rid of all the men they could in the army.
Say I do come here next month. Well then I would be able to get right down to real surgical work and Jim & I could read & study together. Then by June next year the war is most certain to be over. Jim and I could leave the army and go to Edinburgh for a few months to do post-graduate study and probably write off our F.R.C.S. Edinb. within the next year. Then we could return home thoroughly brushed up in our work. Full of experience & new ideas as well as having a few letters tacked on behind.
Is it any wonder I want to have a talk to explain things. Now suppose again the war is still on and I go home. I will almost be compelled to join the army at home to be discharged simply when they feel inclined. - Probably ten years from now. The whole thing rests pretty well on the question - Will or will not the war be over by Dec 14th & Will or will not the R.A.M.C. want more men after that date?
As you will see it is really an idea in the stage of suggestion But it is a possibility and may be a wonderful opportunity.
The chances are I will be going home as was always expected. And I would hate to think of how disappointed we will all be should I not return this year. However I think we all realize that should I have an opportunity for good work as may be possible I would be most foolish not to accept. Dont you think so too?
I have just written to Maryon about it too. Of course under any circumstances I will not sign a contract which might mean I would be returned to France - It will be a case of coming here with Jim or going to Canada - Nothing else or I wouldn't sign. At present it is more than likely I will return to Canada.
Any how this letter will not reach home much before the middle of December and by then I will be cable "am well", the day I sail, or "am remaining" if I have been able to work it with the war-office to come up here.
I know you understand and will not worry. The possibility of a present disappointment would be more than counterbalanced by the advantages gained by remaining.
I will hope to write again in a couple of days.