HA Titcomb letter 30 January 1919
HAROLD ABBOT TITCOMB
LONDON E.C. 2.
CABLE, “TITCOMB, LONDON”
CODE, BEDFORD MCNEILL
R.A.F. Repatriation Records,
43 St Cross Road,
Winchester, 30th Jany 1919
F.W. Lanchester Esq., M. Inst. C.E.
41 Bedford Square, London W.C. 1.
My dear Lanchester,
I have had a most exciting experience in the R.A.F. As you know I was offered a Commission by General Trenchard for the purpose of undertaking intelligence observation work for one of his bombing wings in the I.A.F. I gladly accepted this but after signing up the papers and going through as a “special case” of the M.G.P. (General Branker) I was called back and informed that no Commissions could be given to Aliens so they offered me the next highest rank, that of Warrant Officer 1st class being informed that this would make no change in the kind of work I was to attempt. You are now hearing from me a fully fledged Sergeant Major. I went over to France and reached the Antigny-la-Tour about three hours after General Trenchard had made his farewell to that Headquarters. The Armistice was on, and so I was returned to England. In order to enable me enter the Air Force, someone had me down as having the trade of a “Master Clerk” so my present work consists in an attempt to learn routine clerical work appertaining to the service. I am doing this as best I can; but, as I informed my Commanding Officer (Major Moser) who is a very fine man, I feel I am unable to do him justice as a pen-pusher.
In some way it seems a pity that the war did not last a little longer so that the Germans could have had the thorough thrashing which was just about maturing. In that case perhaps our Armies would have occupied Germany or large portions of it, and this might have delayed or obviated the feeling that the War is over entirely. This feeling, I am sorry to say, prevails to a great extent amongst all ranks as far as I can see; and you are doubtless aware of this from the ordinary statements in the press. The men feel that the fighting is really over and that therefore they ought to be demobilised more rapidly than is being done. The poor chaps are tired out and “fed up” with things in general and are anxious to get back to their jobs again. One would think that if a very large percentage of the Forces could be demobilised and allowed to have a month or two holiday in civil life, there would then be a fair chance of recruiting a volunteer Army which could handle the situation and permit the rest of the Forces to be demobilised in their turns. Meanwhile I do not see why it would not be a possible solution to the difficulties with clerical staffs to substitute for them civilian clerks; otherwise there is bound to be discontent among such clerks who through no fault of their own were put into the positions they now hold and feel they are absolutely the last on the list for demobilisation.
What is your opinion of the future outlook for business in England. I have found that the present elements and factors are so numerous and contain so many unknown quantities that I am unable to write any equation which could be solved by mental process of my own; and this applies not only to Great Britain but also to the rest of our civilised World. The present epidemic of strikes, if carried to logical conclusion, might result in every one of us demanding, no work, double pay and as a minimum that each and every human being in the World ought to have breakfast in bed each morning at, say, 9-O’clock: I think I shall start agitating for this.
If you ever see Sir Arthur Duckham please give him my kind regards and tell him I would not have missed meeting any of the fine men I have come across in the Air Force for anything. I consider it a privilege to have met them in the ranks, and also the many fine Officers with whom I have come in contact. Everyone has treated me splendidly.
I hope this finds you well and flourishing. I shall give myself the pleasure of seeing you when next I have a chance to come to town. My own office is closed for the present so that you had better address me here or to my home in Kensington.
Harold A. Titcomb
No 306596 (!).