50 Carlton Hill
St Johns Wood NW8
My darlings -
How are you all, in this fine Aussie weather - I know you must be having such lovely warm sunshine, 'cause it's Dad's birthday on this Jan 12th & I just had to take off a few hours & try & write - I meant to send him a cable, but somehow so much has happened & I've been so very busy each day seems alike & Xmas seems years ago, already.
Never mind daddy dear, here's a happy happy birthday to you & lots & lots more - even tho it will probably be May before you receive this - actually I'm going to send this airmail & see if you get it sooner - do let me know how long it takes my pets - I sent one about a week ago by airmail - so I hope it reaches you - we have had little Xmas mail as yet from home but we keep on hoping - there is lots of time yet. I've just had a letter from Barty Bridle dated July 30th!! What an effort - I sent Ces' airgraph Dec 14th to you ordinary mail so I hope you get it - they were both well & were seeing lots of each other - I have an awful feeling the Aussies are going home from N. Africa - & I can't bear to think of them having to go up into that awful N. Guinea Territory - it's just hell up there - the news reels are bad enough - poor darlings - in that awful heat & sweat & hell -have you had any news from Johnny or Reg? I've not had a letter from Johnny for ages, & it's not like him really but it must be difficult to do anything but just exist up there. Heavens I wish the boys were staying in Egypt, bless them.
I'm still on day duty at U.C.H. with my old Brig. Gen. - he's a dear old boy & being built up to have another operation - I've been here a month & I think I'll have a couple of days off - I get so desperately tired in winter - getting up so early & home so late makes it a more or less working day of 16 hrs & I'm dead almost - especially if someone comes out for the evening or I go out - I never seem to catch up - & there is so much of sadness - so many of the boys going - I seem to have lost my courage, or something it hurts so - one feels so old & so hopeless - In my last letter I told you about Rawdon Middleton a dear thing from near Parkes in the R.A.A.F. - it's been a heartbreaking business & we are devastated - he is to get the V.C. for his deeds - it is to be announced officially on Thursday, bless him - he was killed on Nov 29th but so heroically & so tragically I just can't bear to think about it - you will know all the story much before you get this letter of mine, because we have been inundated with reporters from the Sydney Papers this last 4 days. You see, Rawd has known Mary Henry all his life, tho they hadn't seen each other since they were kids & he spent all his leaves at the flat with us - was such a darling - so quiet, so splendid & it's just like him to do this thing as he went, bless him - I just can't bear to think of him blind & that awful endless 4 ½ hours of flying the plane back to England - what sublime control & courage - but, as I say - it's so like Rawd - & how he'd hate all this fuss & palaver that is going on about his V.C. - bless him - I only hope it consoles & compensates his mother & father a little, for the loss of someone so beloved & so splendid as Rawd was to them - his poor mother - my heart just breaks for her - in her last letter to Mary she said, "You can't realise how I'm longing to see his dear tousled head & crooked smile again" - & now he's gone on practically his alst operational flight. The reporters told us it's the finest V.C. of the war yet in it's matchless courage - please my pets do send me all the cuttings from the papers & all the photos of him - you see, we never had one of him & they couldn't get one of him here - only a very badly blurred one from a tiny group ...
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