Dearest Blue Eyes
These letters were written by Major Henry James Drew Smythe, M.C., in January 1919 to his wife, Enid.
At this time, he was with the International Commission for the Repatriation of Prisoners in Bavaria and she was at the Hotel Crystal, Boulogne, serving as a V.A.D. They had been married in November 1914, soon after the outbreak of World War 1 and saw each other only on infrequent leave opportunities.
This is the portrait of a relationship as much as an observation, with anecdotes, contained within a complete personal report of a few weeks of his work and travels in Germany and Austria less than two months after the Armistice that ended The Great War.
Note: The spellings of towns, areas and vocabulary are as they appear in the original letters. Students or researchers should make their own geographical or linguistic verifications.
Back once again my sweet one. We started off this morning at 9o'clock from Nuremburg and got in to Ingoldstat which is 125 kilometres at 12o'clock which is awfully good going with an ambulance car. Here we went to see the men who were supposed to have been sent from Bayreuth and found none of them there. The only man we found was a healthy one from Lechfelt so now we are in a fix as to where the other men have got to or whether the German information is inaccurate. Myself, I believe they have already been sent off by the train which we sent away on Saturday last but we shall make certain tomorrow. We wasted all afternoon trying to get on to Nuremburg on the phone to enquire further about these men and could not get through and so we left it and finally got away about 4o'clock and arrived in Munich at 7.15 which was very bad going on account of a thick fog all the way.
We went to the Grunwald Hotel and got our old rooms and then went down to have some food and found that Major Schlagantweit had come back from Berlin and he soon appeared, accompanied by Frau Hoffmann whom I told you about in a previous letter and we all had dinner together.
During dinner we told each other all that had been done and had happened in our various wanderings and he had several messages for us from the British Mission in Berlin. Berlin is in an awful uproar and the Bolshevics seem to have completely the upper hand there and every day there is street fighting. There was a row here the other night and three were killed and several wounded just outside our old hotel. One of those killed was an architect who had absolutely nothing to do with the proceedings. The whole state of Germany is appalling and all the decent people are trying to get out to the areas occupied by the Allied Armies for that is the only portion of Germany where order is kept.
We hope to get rid of the remaining prisoners within the next few days and then we shall get away as there are to be riots during the elections which take place on the 19th.
I must just jump into bed now my sweet little angel as I am very tired after my long motor ride. We have done nearly 220 kilometres today and it is awfully tiring my cupid loved one, isn't it. Goodnight my sweet little Baby ...