Tuesday 14 November 1916
My Darling Ethel,
I hope you have received my birthday present, but in case you haven’t here’s again wishing you many many happy returns of your birthday. It is the first of your birthdays that we have been apart since you were sweet 17 that I can remember. I hope it will be the last. Heaven send that by your next birthday – or mine come to that – this terrible war will be over & that we may both be spared & united on each of our birthdays and those of our dear little kiddies & for many years to come. It causes me many regrets and much sorrow when I remember that my selfishness has more than once caused you unhappiness and I sincerely hope that my future conduct will make you realise that notwithstanding my shortcomings I do love you with all my heart and realise I have one of the best wives in the world.
I can now quite understand the Late Lord Kitchener’s preference for bachelors as soldiers. He must have realised, altho’ a bachelor himself, that it is not the coward’s fear of death but the fear that by death many a good soldier may thus be prevented from rejoining the wife & family he loves so much. I have just that very feeling myself at times when the shells are dropping all around us and the air is whistling with them.
Goodnight my darling. Longing and hoping for a letter from you tomorrow.
Monday 4 December 1916
My dear little Marjorie, I have only just received your little letter which Mamma sent with hers on Nov 19th. Do you remember that you asked me to be home for Xmas? I only wish I could but there are many more soldiers in our Battery who are more entitled to the Xmas leave than I am, so am afraid you will have to do without Daddy this Xmas.
Santa Claus will come as usual. I think your writing and dictation just splendid, and your drawings are getting funnier than ever. I have pinned your crayoned tulips on the wall of my dug-out bedroom beside your photograph. Daddy is as comfortable as possible. I expect even you would get tired enough to go soundly asleep in this dug-out. It would be a change from your pink bedroom.
And how is little Daffodil getting on? I expect you quite enjoy the time when Mamma reads you more about her. It was Mamma’s book when she was a girl like you. Write again soon, dear, + send another crayoning to help cover the sand bags.
Heaps of love & kisses, which you must share with Mamma and Betty.
From your ever loving Daddy
Here is the drawing his daughter sent to him as he fought at the front.