The 1916 war diary of 2nd Lieut. Dick Willis Fleming
Letter to Bettyon July 31, 1916
263rd Brigade R.H.A.
Egyptian Expeditionary Forces.
July 31st 1916.
My dear Betty,
Just a line to wish you very many happy returns for August 10th. I hope this will reach you in time for your birthday, but if it doesn't, better late than never.
You must be getting a grown up old thing now. I suppose the hair stays up permanently now. You will understand I can't send you a little token from this place, but perhaps after the war there might be "something she fancies".
Things are still exciting here and we're very busy. This morning during breakfast four Boche planes appeared and dropped between twenty & thirty bombs, some unpleasantly close to the horse lines. I was "fair skeered out of my life". We may get a home mail in tonight with luck, but anyhow in a day or two. Thank you so much for the 'Fragments from France' you sent me last mail, they are killingly funny.
I suppose old Fuzz is now back, give the little knave my love. I suppose you are having some small tournaments at Puckhouse now, but must find it rather hard to get men don't you?
You would have laughed this morning if you could have seen some old camels when one of the Hun's tender little messages came rather close to them - it's a fact, but I never knew it before, a camel can gallop!
Have you had any news of Jo lately, I shouldn't mind exchanging weather with him for a bit, we hear France is nearly under water at present.
I wonder who you've got on the Island instead of Mr Davey - I expect you miss him very much don't you. I suppose you are bathing regularly in Fishbourne creek now - it must be topping. I hope the dinghy and the Grey Lady are giving you some good sails - has old Packham taken you out yet? I suppose the old boy will last the next winter all right, I am hoping for some good sails with him next summer. You ought to get some hunts in with 'Beagle' Young this summer, and don't forget to make him tell you the story of old man Carter and the Belgian Refugees.
I am longing to hear you've had some good team drives and the horses go well together - I suppose Ida is handling the ribbons this summer and old Fuzz manages a note or two on the horn.
There is no more news now. Best love and a happy birthday.
Your very loving Dick