Letter

Scope and Content

From Chauk, c/o the Burmah Oil Company, to Emily Rattenbury at 2 Brayton Gardens, Enfield West, London. He thinks of Emily and the rest of the family each night and wonders how they are all getting on.

There is no question concerning the good timing of this visit and problem after problem is being solved. 'This is a lovely little interlude under concession conditions [privileges afforded to Westerners]'. The agent here, whom H B R met last time [1940?], could not be kinder if he himself were a missionary. They have had a lot of free travel and free rations courtesy of the army, but best of all is 'Burma Rice[?]'.

He has received just one letter from Emily since he left but assumes that there will be plenty of others waiting for him at various points along the way.

They are leaving at 6.30 am, ninety miles in a three ton lorry to Meiktila and then, if possible, another forty to fifty miles to Thazi and Kalau, rising to 4,500 feet where they may need a blanket again. Mr Lockhart does not like getting up so early - actually they are breaking him in gently in preparation for 'country travel' in China. This is only the beginning. He [Lockhart] is getting told plenty of stories and is very friendly with everyone. 'He likes his place in the picture and is having quite a lot of that'. The three books which will result from this trip will be very different.

There is a Dr Terry here - 'hard as a nut & very good fun'. H B R's host is called Watts and is very thoughtful and generous. He [Watts] has a terrific load of responsibility and seems pleased to be able to unburden himself.

The [war] destruction here will take three or four years to put right and of course things will have to be reoriented. H B R will be wanting news of Joan and the other children.