My dear old Elsie
I wrote you a letter from Jerusalem and I am now back with the Regiment – I have sent you some photos of some of the places I have seen – it has all been very interesting and I should have liked to have stayed longer.
I spent a day taking the colonel over El Jib and the battle fields of last November. It all brought back wonderful memories – I found poor old Banes grave and tidied it up and put a wall of stones around it – it was a very sad day in many ways.
Of course we went to the Mount of Olives and I enclose a twig1 from one of the Trees – it is supposed to bring good luck. We also walked through the Garden of Gethsemane and on to Mount Zion where we were shown the Tombs of King David and Solomon & also the place of the Last Supper. I really know more about Biblical History than ever I did before altho I fancy I got a prize at School once for an essay on the ‘Life of Christ’! The mails are still very disappointing and I havnt had a letter from you for ages again – I hope mine are reaching you better now We go into the line again in a few days time – everyone has enjoyed the rest & change but of course it has been much too short – I wish it would all end – my leave seems further off than ever but I always hope to be allowed to get away some day. The Colonel has been awarded the D.S.O. in the Kings Birthday Honours – we are all very delighted about it – I am longing get another letter from you & hope you are very fit – Best love dear girl
1 The twig survives in the envelope with this letter
My dear old Elsie
I little dreamed I should ever write you from the Holy City but here I am and having one of the most interesting times of my life. In my last letter I told you I was off on May 28th to Cairo for 10 days leave with Frank Calway during the time the Regiment was out of the line resting. Early on that morning I packed off my kit & servant quite early meaning to follow on my horse but a wire came with orders for the Regiment which made it necessary for me to stay and Frank was very sick because he had to go off alone and so was I – I cant tell you what all these orders were about but I shall not be able to get away for more than 2 days for some time to come and have a very busy time ahead. As a sort of consolation prize the Colonel1 offered to take me to Jerusalem for two days and of course I jumped at the idea & here we are – the Colonel is a charming man to be away with & has a wonderful knowledge of Scripture History – he makes me feel so ashamed
Anyhow we are having a wonderful time – today we have been to Bethlehem and thoroughly viewed all the sights – the Church of the Nativity – the Stable and Manger where Christ was born – the village where the Shepherds lived & the fields where they “watched their flocks by night” – Rachaels tomb – the place where Boaz met Ruth – In the distance we saw the Blue Mountains of Moab where Ruth came from to work in the fields near Bethlehem. This afternoon we have ‘done’ the Holy City & seen many wonderful things – the Holy Sepulchre – the Mosque of Omar – Pilates House – the Mount of Olives – the Garden of Gethsemane – Calvary & a hundred other things I shall never forget. Tomorrow I am taking the Colonel to El Jib to show him the battle fields of last November & where the old Regiment fought and suffered last November 23d – I am looking forward to it so much – at Bethlehem I bought for you a little chain, of beads made of mother of pearl – it is just a little memento for you & I will post it tomorrow the Syrians of Bethlehem work in this mother of pearl and it is quite their industry – I have put a couple of charms in the chain – I representing the Star of Bethlehem the other the Crusaders Cross – You probably will never wear it but I wanted you to have something straight from the Holy Land I am posting you some photographs too. I will write you again in a day or two with a fuller description of all my doings. I have not had a letter from you for some time again – it is very sad – I hope some of mine are reaching you now – with best love dear girl – I wish you were here to enjoy all this with me