East African Expeditionary Force
East Africa 23/5/17
I have just got some letters which some brainy individual in the K.A.R. had sent home. I expect it would be some of the new men as they have got about twelve battalions now. I would have been a Major by this time if I had stayed in the K.A.R. as they are very short of officers. I am afraid the promotion in the R.E. is not so rapid. I have been acting C.R.E. for the last two months & am entitled to the rank pay of Captain whilst so acting but whether I will get the rank permanently or whether I will have to revert to my old rank when the Col. comes back I don’t know. He was granted one month’s leave to go to India at the end of February & has not returned yet; the officer appointed in his place lasted a fortnight and was then invalided for 6 months, so I have been carrying on ever since. We were supposed to be going to sit down & have a quiet time til the rains were over & a lot of men & officers were all owed to go to India on leave and all the South Africans had already gone, but the Germans chose this time to get aggressive & doubled right back on to our flanks, so that instead of having less work we have had a great deal more. I got the Xmas parcel about the end of March. I suppose you will have sold out the rubber shares by this time. I ought to have a little bit lying in Cox’s bank by this time which might have been utilised. I see you have all been put on rations now. I hope you get a better allowance than we do. We never get any vegetables nor dried fruit, both of which we are entitled to & now they have cut off the rice as well there being none in the country so that we have got to eat our beef or salt bacon with a bit of bread for company, and if you are living by yourself one tin of milk has got to last four days & as it goes bad in two days you have to go the other two without. The latest information is that Van Deventer is coming up to take over from Hoskins. It is time something was done if it is ever going to be over. The dry weather has set in now & the next trouble is no water as everything dries up very quickly after the rains. I think the war in Europe will be over first.