Letter from my father to his brother.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Letter from my father,  Captain H. P. Wheldon, to his brother Tomos Wheldon, who was working at the Department of Agriculture in Sierra Leone.

 

Sunday 25 June 1944

 

I missed your birthday – no matter.  Take this rather belated note in lieu!  I hope S.L. [1] is still going on nicely.  I always feel the breath of awful heat when I mention S.L. – I hope very much that it doesn’t get you down.  Here in Normandy we live like Lords.  The country is England – Berkshire, say, with wall spaced, wall built townships, now under the iron of course.  What sadness there is derives much more from the glimpses of a ruined countryside, than from personal losses.  The mind seems to evade immediate grief, but it is difficult to remain unmoved in an ancient village, now broken down into its parts of stone & rubble & dust.  The waste is everywhere, broken furniture, the motley of trinkets, household goods, burnt linen & clothes, remains of crockery.  They kept tame hares here for their skins, kept them in hutches.  The mire & the fury of the early days released these creatures , and now they are everywhere, silent and soft, nibbling at the wanton remains, passing noiselessly through the ruins, somehow hateful.  June roses flare brilliantly behind the broken pillars, outside the fields, still peaceful.  We eat magnificently, live the idle lives which a battlefield as I now realise demands, doing nothing, waiting, in case.  Better than Bulford, much.

 

[1] Sierra Leone

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Publication date: May 2017
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