23rd December 1915

At Queensferry. Received cards from Mother, Judy, Nina and Freddy and my Cousin Net. I am getting quite a collection already. Received a letter from Ma in which I learn that you have given her the teapot. She is delighted with it and says she will prize it very much. So it seems your choice was very satisfactory dear, and I am very thankful to you and glad for both our sakes. I have written to Mother this afternoon and told her that she must thank you for choosing such a nice article and using such good judgement.

This morning’s mail brought a letter for me, the writing on which I couldn’t call home. On “application within” I found that the writer was none other than Bert Edwards. This is the first time he has ever written to me, altho’ he has promised to do so on many occasions. He is a “Derbyite” and is waiting to be called on at any time. I think the “Derby Scheme” helped Bert out of a uncomfortable situation. He has been heart and soul on joining I feel sure, but of course the wife and child had to be thought of and betwixt the two – patriotism and thoughts of his great responsibility – he wavered. I pitied him and was glad to know that as a bachelor I was not so placed. Mrs Edwards didn’t help him to decide, but of course I can understand her thoughts and feelings, they were not at fault when it came to a matter of affection, but when it came to patriotism she was “found wanting”. A woman who is a good wife is brave and strong when she makes such a sacrifice for her Country as to send her husband to “do his bit”. There are thousands of them in our Kingdom today and they are really the brave souls of these times. It is not so hard for the husband to decide – if he is a man, but for a woman, well, I can understand their silence and unwillingness to part with their dear ones, and they are stronger than a man when they decide to let them go. I’ve thought at times when soldiers or sailors have been bidding “farewell” to their wives on the stations, the man finds it a hard struggle to keep their emotion back, but what must it be for the woman. It is on such occasion that the strength and will of a woman is demonstrated. I have my own experiences too, when I write on this subject. A good woman is the grandest of all creatures, and Men know it too.

Bert does not seem to mind being a Reservist, and is ready when his turn comes. His heart is in the right place. I have written to Bert and directed the letter to Bideford where with his wife and child he is going to spend the Xmas.

A seaplane has been flying around this afternoon and it set me wondering as to whether our “Heads” contemplated making another air raid this Xmas. Guess the Hun folk at Cuxhaven were given a rare time last year and it resulted, I believe, in the destruction of the battle-cruiser Von der Tann on which two “bombs” were dropped. I have reason to know what those “bombs” were like and am not surprised to hear that two were enough to break up a battle-cruiser. These “bombs” were huge lyddite shells, which burst on striking an object and if they got anywhere near a magazine it’s good-bye ship. These same shells caused the sinking of the Bleucher. They are termed “high explosive” and I can give you my word – they are, and the fumes are also “high” and calls for respirators.

Went ashore this afternoon and had a game of football and for the first time in my career as a footballer I got a nasty bang on the knee. It’s some sore and walking about does not seem to agree with at all. However I hope the treatment I have given it will bring about recovery soon.

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