Letter to Miss Dillon 6 June 1918

H.M. Government

Embossed notepaper

c/o British Embassy




My dearest Lillie & Anna,

I shall be up all night to-night, so this is a good opportunity to write to my dear folks at home. (Meine Lieben in der Heimat)

Well at present I am at Brindisi, right down near the heel of the boot.  It is a fascinating old place and takes one back to the early middle ages with all the primitiveness of those times. (it swarms with fleas, ants & mosquitoes.  The women walk about carrying huge jars of water, like Rachel & Rebecca used to take to the well.) It was a great *** leaving Rome, but I hope to return there any time to stay, and I shall appreciate more than ever then and never want to live any other place afterwards. Rome is at the same time primeval, medieval and modern, and sometimes one cannot help feeling it is more modern than anything else.  I loved every moment of the day there, and one of my greatest joys was to drive about in a Vettura and watch movements of the people.  The Sognoras are so graziose and the signores tanto cortesi.  I am already Italanissimo my self and cannot imagine I am a native of a more northern clime.  At Brindisi it is almost tropical, but I have not found the heat very intense yet.  For instance I only put on my drill uniform today for the first time.  I bathed in the blue blue Adriatic today and walked for miles along the shore admiring the flowers and plants.  There are enormous cactus trees everywhere and wild flowers of every kind and colour.  I wish you could see them.

There is a frightful shortage of water here, and one misses the facilities for washing, but that does not matter so long as one has the sea to bathe in.

Lord Monk-Breton has written to the Admiralty to ask them to have me promoted to Captain, so that’s that but it may be some time before it comes through.  I shall let you know at once as soon as I hear the result.  Until then I remain Lieutenant.

He is a splendid man to have as one’s C.O. and he would do anything to help one.  The question of pay &c has not been fixed yet.  It takes a long time to get a reply to one’s letters from here to England so we have just to wait patiently.

I had a great day in Paris on the way out, and the whole journey was simply wonderful.  I am thrilled with the joy of the whole thing.  My stay in Rome was of course simply enchanting, and it will be still better when I return.

I would not mind being here a month or two to collect my thoughts until every thing is made straight, but then I want to live in Rome for ere after.

Now I must stop as otherwise the letter would be too heavy.

Write soon please and tell me all about yourselves, your cars and everything that interests you.

Write c/o British Embassy Rome, always, and the letters will be forwarded to me no matter where I am.

Did you get my card from Turin and my letter from Rome?  There will be more to tell you in my next letter.  Write about once a week please just to tell me you are all right.

By the way you forgot to give me the Bystander you brought at the station.  If you care to send it I should be very glad to have it as we never see an English paper or journal here.

With best love to you two & Kathleen                      from  Willie

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