Hospital: ‘preferable to France’

This is one of many letters sent by staff of the Great Western Railway Audit office at Paddington who had enlisted to fight in the First World War. (RAIL 253/516)

R.C.S. Frost, 23 November 1916, Dartmouth, England. Born: 30 January 1888, Regiment: 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Regiment number: 1998; 300470, Rank: Private; Second Lieutenant, Died: 1962


Dear Mr Hunt,

Many thanks for your most welcome and interesting letter safely received, and I am pleased to hear of the latest news about friends at the office and others in different parts of the world.

I have not had a line from H. Martin for many months, but I hear he has had leave recently, and no doubt he gave you a call. I hoped to have had that pleasure before this time, but I expect to be seeing you one of these fine days.

I am still a patient in hospital, and although at times the life is monotonous in this quiet place, it is preferable to France so I won’t grumble. The weather has been so rough and wild of late, that a lot our time is spent by the fireside, and many pleasant hours are passed in comparing notes with men who are patients from minesweepers.

We have had different men from this branch of the Navy for several weeks, and at present five are in my ward. Two of these are survivors from a minesweeper that was blown up by a German mine nearly a fortnight ago, just outside Dartmouth Castle. They are still clearing the sea outside here and the boats return to anchor in the river at night, and the pals of these men visit them this evening. The officers are also very good in calling and leaving gifts and the wounded Tommies share in the fruits thereof!

I have heard from Scotland that the 8th Argylls suffered heavily a short time ago in France, and in the newspapers today I notice the names of nine officers who I knew in France, including the Captain of my company who is killed. I don’t know if the 6th Seaforths, who are in the same brigade, were in action at the same time, but I shouldn’t be surprised, anyhow I hope [Gilbert] Williams came through safely if he was there.

I am enclosing two privilege forms, and will be glad if you will get them signed and returned. I have had some nice afternoons at Torquay and Paignton and was there during the rough weather a short time ago, when the Brixham trawler was wrecked and sea was so rough.

I hope this letter will find you very well and undisturbed at the old job. With kind regards to Messrs Taylor, Symons, and Woodhams and accept the same yourself.

Sincerely yours, ‘Frosty’.

Return to Letters from the First World War, part two