Thursday May 30, 1918
My dear Gertrude,
Here I am at last, although I only arrived this morning. It gives me at any rate a whole day with Berk & possibly more, as although he is under orders to report for duty to-morrow, there is a dispute between the London Scottish & the M.G.C. as to whom he belongs and between them he may get an extra day or two. He looks very fit. I did not know before that he was gassed - 75 of them were caught, - & his dose came out in the form of boils.
Ian's leave lasted from Saturday till six oclock last night, quite a long time, so I only just missed him. He was well & gets about without a stick now but has to have a specially made boot. From all accounts he really ought to have one stick all the time to be secure.
Berk had not seen him for 3 years, & went to the station last Saturday morning to meet him. By some means Ian's train was in 15 minutes sooner than expected; & Ian met him just after Berk had got off the car. Ian saw him - walked up & said "Hello Berk" & stretched out his hand. Berk shook hands & tried to think who it was. Ian has of course grown tremendously, his voice has deepened & Berk was expecting to see him with two sticks. All the same it is a little curious to be shaking hands with ones brother unawares.
We had a great rush to get away from Deepcut as soon as we did. Got our overseas gas masks on Monday & went through at 3 hrs test in them, Had our kit inspected in the afternoon, put in a long day on Mond Tuesday 8.30 to 6.30 doing 3 days revolver shooting in one. Then on Wednesday we had to be at Aldershot by 9.30. - set off walking at 8 & caught a bus at Farnborough - a lovely morning so it was enjoyable. Then we had to hang about till 12.30 getting our binoculars & other equipment, & as we had to parade at 2 to go through the gas chambers we had another rush. However 6 of us managed to get a "Ford" so we did it comfortably. We were clear of gas by 4 & then had to rush round getting papers signed by 3 different officers, the final man holding us so late that we missed the 5.45 & had to catch the 8.10 train. Got to Waterloo by 9.30 & over to King's Cross by taxi by 10. Found my next train left at 4.55 a.m. Found the Station hotel was full up, so went over to the Midland Station, St [?], next door & managed to get a bed there & a good five hours sleep - till 4 when I got up & caught my train comfortably arriving at the station here at 8.50. Could not get a taxi or anything so had to leave my valise at the station & just caught a car up.
Father here of course looking quite well, although a little older. Auntie Kate looking well. Poppy was at the office, but had to be brought home in the middle of the morning - the heat always tries her & it has been very hot all May. She has been lying down & is better this evening.
Have been up at the tennis field this evening. Berk had gone up to play, so Muriel & I walked up & watched the proceedings for two hours. The Club all females these days, except for 3 unfit men & one discharged soldier. Of course they get soldiers on leave occasionally.
I had a letter from you on Tuesday - but a delayed one - dated April 14th. You mention having felt the night before that things were going badly on the French front & you had seen that the Northumberland Fusilers were heavily engaged & wondered how Edgar was.
Had a very good service for my last Sunday evening at Deepcut, at the Garrison Church & curiously they finished with "The Day Thou Savest". as they did on my first Sunday there.
I must close & join the family circle. Hope you are all well & that you have got away by this time for a rest & a holiday.
With my best love