Letter from Roy Bruce to Maud Bruce (identifier: 135739)


My dearest Maud:
It is now nearly two months
since I had any letter or news of you, and
that was dated May 8th. Mails are very bad
these days.
I have a sort of hazy idea
I remember Fleming but cannot quite place
him, and there are always more people that
know Tom fool than Tom fool knows. You
must not pay too much attention to stories
men tell you about my doings. I have
never done anything that many thousands
of others have done, and have often failed
to do even that. There is no merit in that.
Everyone seems so surprised when one tries to
do what is one's simple duty, surely noone
expected anything different. As for wound
stripes and chevrons and things I never wear
them. I wore wound stripes once for about
a week and then took them off. I don't
want to advertise the fact that I have
been fighting 4 years and wounded twice.
What does it matter to the people you pass
in the street.
I do hope you have passed your exam
well, somehow I think you will have, because
you say you like the work and that is
always half the battle.
Have been very busy lately, hardly time
to eat and sleep, and likely to become more
so in the future. However I am fairly
fit although at times I long most heartily
for a real rest. Of course I have said the
same thing for the last two years but seem
to carry on somehow. This summer has
not been so bad, Palestine is not nearly
so hot as Egypt and as we live in and
on the hills there is always some sort of
a breeze. I think I have been in this
country long enough without a break, and
I am very keen to get on the French front.
If I go to Cambridge for the Staff Course, I
hope I may get an appointment in France.
You ask me about my work here, well
a Brigade Major's job is varied and peculiar.
He is responsible to noone in the Brigade
but his General whose Staff officer he is.
He is responsible to his General for the whole
working of the Brigade, operations, fighting
efficiency and training. He has a Staff
Captain to help with the administrative
side and an Intelligence officer to help
with the Intelligence or information about
the enemy side etc. He is never off duty
day or night and sleeps with a telephone
at his bedside. In peace time the job is
one of the plums of the service, in war time
it is just one damned thing after another.
I completed 6 months here the other day &
GHQ called for a report. It might have been
worse. In a cavalry brigade this job is
much lighter, there are not the thousand
and one details required for infantry. I
expect to go from here before long, a large
proportion of the E.E.F Staff are being
replaced by Indian Army, and in this
Division I am the only Bde Major left who
has not been so replaced. I wish I
were better able to stand the heat, I would
go for the Indian Army, but am afraid I
could not stand it long.
There, you have a terrific screed
all about myself.
Sorry to hear Mrs Hayter is not
well. Of course she is no longer young
and it is only natural that the war
should weigh somewhat heavily on her.
However the news now is ever so much
more cheering and I think the tide has
turned although there is still a long
lane to go up.
It is very cheering to find Helen
doing so well at school. I used to be
the same but went to pieces afterwards
chiefly through neglect.
Well old thing there is
nothing more to say this time. Stick
to your work. take things quietly, all
will be well.
Take care of yourself & be
happy. We will conduct a strong
peace offensive when I get back.
Lots of love and humbugs