11 March 1918
Dear Reverend Father Provincial,
I received by yesterday's mail, a letter from you,
the catalogue of the Province, two post cards with notice of death of
Father Vendon and Father Rothwell. R.I.P.; and a note from Fr Stanley. Thanks
very much for the catalogue. I feel more a member of the Province since
it came, and am very glad to know of the whereabouts of everybody. I
hope father McCann will come along. Ft Walton I have not met yet. My
parish is about half an hour smart walk from end to end, and is
made up of about twenty different units. My census so far has given me
106 Catholics, and is not yet completed. There is a Benedictine, father
Campbell, in a Hospital Unit here, who comes from Erdington, and knows
your brother Dom Patrick Nolan D.S.D. Ft Frank Browne's eldest brother is a
Doctor in the same hospital. Frank himself wrote to me by last mail.
His brother seemed to think he was in Italy, but his letter, dated 7 January,
came from France. He is a marvel.
I find my tent, which I share with C. of E. chaplain, is larger than I
expected. I put up a screen across my table, and have mass over before
he gets his nose out of the sleeping bag. However I told him not to let
me interfere with him in any way. I have proved in my own experience
during the war that God looks after people who are not much good at
looking after themselves.When I came to the tent there was not a stick
in it except the supporting bamboo poles. Before the week
was out a Catholic soldier on a railway-job had provided me with a
lovely reading table, which makes a splendid altar, and some large
pieces of rush-matting for my mud-floor; while an Indian sub-assistant
surgeon turned up soon after with some wooden cases for book
shelves - and all this on their own.
My present address, as I think I told your Reverence, is
no.16. Casualty clearing station. Mesopotamian Expeditionary Froce. All our
letters go home through Bombay, but some of yours out come direct. Anything
addresssed to Archbishop's House,Woodenhouse Rd. Fort. Bombay, will of course
still reach me; but 16 C.C.S. may be a week or two quicker.
Lastly, my younger sister wrote to me last October for some money, the letter only
reaching me today. I should feel very grateful if your Reverence could send her
on a little to Miss K. Shaw, o/e Mrs. Chandler, 66 Leith Mansions,
Elgin Avenue, Maiden Vale, London, W.,
Your Reverence's sincerely in Christ
Francis M. Shaw S.J.