Letter 18 - He is a persistant fellow always around & dropping eggs as he goes.

A note from the Editors:

Recovering well in hospital, but suffering aerial attacks from mosquitoes and Huns. Hopes of rejoining 70 Sqn. don't look good either after a chat with the adjutant...

Franked 25 AUG 17
Mrs Chas. E. Pearson,

39 Stationary Hospital France
Address to 70 Squadron BEF France
Letter no 11

My dear Mother
I am still in hospital although now I am up & about & yesterday went out for a walk up the town. The stitch on the outside of my mouth has been taken out & that cut is quite healed but the one inside is not taken out yet although I expect it will be to day. All swelling has gone down practically & my eye has now only rings and contours round it & no swelling. I shall leave here I suppose in two days at most & where I shall go I don’t know. I hope to get back to my squadron & shall swing like mad to do so but one cannot be sure that’s what’s worrying me a lot just now.

My watch has arrived safely & is going well. This hospital is a French prison or once was. I am not in the prison but in a hut in the garden of same. A man named Dreifus was kept here for 10 years & then let go. It is a strange place to look at with all the windows barred & all the walls & doors so think & a 12 foot wall of immense thickness round the whole. The great nuisance here are the mosquitoes & knats which give one a terrible time at night. I am bitten all over my face & arms & itch terribly. We cover our pillows with Eau de Cologne & Eucalyptus which does keep them at bay but doesn’t last all night. I sleep with my sheet over my head but I always seem to toss it off & so I get bitten. The beasts are the terror of my life.

I have started to play chess here. All I know are the moves which Jim taught me but I can manage to beat one fellow & give two others a long run for their money. We have in this ward a chap from my squadron who got two huns on his first trip over the lines & got bits of bullet in his leg doing it. He didn’t know he had got them but the squadron have claimed them for him. We also have a baby in the place. It comes from Armentiers & was gassed. It’s only 8 weeks old now & has been here sometime so it must have been fearful young when it was gassed.

It’s mother never comes near it & it’s looked after entirely by the sisters it’s the smallest thing I have seen as it cannot be more than 15 ins long when stretched out. One of the night sisters brought it in here and made one of the chaps nurse it and feed it while she did her work in other places. I have been having a chat to the adjutant of 70 & my hopes of getting back have gone down to zero but keep smiling we’ll soon be dead as the saying is. Just lately we have had alarms of the hun every night. He is a persistant fellow always around & dropping eggs as he goes. The only consolation is that we drop 2 or 3 times as much as he does always. Please give my love to all & much to yourself & Dad from
Your loving son
Oliver XXXX


Nigse999 said...
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Nigse999 said...

'A man named Dreifus was kept here for 10 years & then let go'

This sounds very much like Alfred Dreyfus of 'Dreyfus Affair' fame; a well known French political scandal, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_affair which does mention a 10 year sentence given after a re-conviction in June 1899; He was eventually exonerated in 1906 and reinstated as a Major in the French Army, retiring in 1907 but being recalled to active duty in 1914 at the age of 55. Further details of his WW1 service is given in the Wikipedia article.