Tuesday, 23 February 2016

31 British Stationary Hospital
Mesopotamia Exp Force

15 Dec 1916

My Dear Mother

Just received all your letters.  Yours, father’s and May’s.  Glad to hear you are all so well.
You asked me about giving up the farm, it is very difficult for me to decide.  The question to ask yourselves is, would you be more comfortable in a smaller home & also a small income, with father nothing to do, probably living in a place where you may not know many people.  All supplies such as milk, eggs, butter are at high price owing to the war, house rent also going up, also increased taxation.  You are comfortable at Barmbro’, but father I suppose is sick to death of labour troubles.  It isn’t a question of making money, but just to keep life at home together.  With the farm & your personal income & all it’s comforts.  Those are the things to weigh over in your mind – a sort of choice of two evils. 

The unsettled state of the country is not the time to make change, especially as you have nothing in reserve – farming with high price of produce, as fodder, potatoes, wheat against high wages.  My other words, trade & farming should be better now.  I think that government will see that farmers are looked after, and encouraged to grow profitable produce.  Their rents will not be raised but may be lowered.

If you could get Percy to give you some idea of whether a house large enough for you near Hutton – or near Doncaster or Rotherham.  Look round & have something definite in view then to give it up would be alright.

The idea of me coming home is more or less out of the question.  I shall say for one or two years from now unless I happen to get sick or sent to England for a change.  Even if peace were declared soon, the sending of troops back to England to hospitals, would take at least six months.  I don’t think I have any more to say that will help you.

I am getting very comfortable now in my new hospital – have a sprung bed, mattress, sheets, feather pillows and many other comforts!!!  The battle has just begun & I hear my old ambulance is on the move.  One here can hear the guns in the distance.  I expect to get lots of wounds into my hospital!!  At any time, 20 will be full for the next 10 days or so.  My young officers, (10 in number!!), one aged 46 and another aged 43, are doing good work, under my supervision ..!!

Will drop a note next week.  Wishing you all the best of luck.


Monday, 22 February 2016

65 British General Hospital, Baghdad.
Mesopotamia Expeditionary Forces.

17 Mar 1919

My Dear Father

I have just received your letter telling me you have decided to give up the farm. It must have been a great trial to you all & to think of leaving the house, surroundings etc., when one has spent the greater part of one’s life is rather a wrench. But now the war is over & you would have to leave sometime.  I think probably it is the wisest course to take.  At the same time it may be difficult to find a suitable home to go to, in any case you have nearly a year to look round & things should be more settled by then.  I had no idea you kept the house on for a year (May 1920).  I must be home before then.   I should like if possible to secure some of the household things in the way of furniture etc.  I am hoping Percy will be able to store my sporting things, furniture & other odds and ends.  We can talk about that when I do arrive home

This hospital is finished in about a month or six weeks & I am hoping to get away then, but one can never tell.  Everyone is trying to get out of this country.  I shall have to wait & see and as I said I will send Mollie a telegram if I can get away.  I have just heard that my name appears in the Mesopotamia Honours List for ‘Good Service in this Country’.  I think the war office have given me a ‘C.I.E.’ (Companion of the Indian Empire).  This is considered a very high award & is better than a D.S.O. (Distinguished Service Order).  I can now put C.I.E. after my name!!  No doubt you will have seen this in the paper long before you receive this letter.  Mollie will be sure to tell you.  I am sorry we are not all together to honour it.

I hope mother is better & that you will have a good summer for your last, after so many bad ones.  It is beginning to get very hot here & I shall be very glad to get away from this blazing hot sun.  I have had some good appointments out here & when I give them up my income will drop by over £400 per year.  But I mustn’t grumble as I have been very lucky during the whole war.

Hope to hear good news of you all & that we shall all meet soon.

Your affectionate son

Henry Crossley