Dear Mrs Johnson,
Fred Dalton has just written to a mutual friend in the Admiralty to tell us of the terrible news about Arthur.
Arthur and myself, as you know, have been together since the Aberdeen days and I counted him as one of my best friends. I have a letter which I received a few days ago from him, which I see was written on the 1st Oct – he was so well and happy then and so full of this news sheet he had started to produce. He told me that there was a possibility of coming back to Whitehall again so I had been looking forward to the chance of joining up again once more.
I think one of the main reasons of Arthur’s popularity – he was one of the most popular fellows I ever knew – was that he was so vital. I used to envy that vitality of his – and even in writing this letter I can hardly believe it’s all happened and that there is some terrible mistake.
But I believe that my grief and sense of loss is nothing compared to yours. I’ve only lost one of my best friends – while you have lost Arthur. But I just had to write this clumsy note to tell you how terribly sorry I am and to send my deepest sympathy to you and the children. I know of course that Jack and Doris are in London, but if there should be anything I can possibly do at this end, I do hope you will please tell me.
Goodbye Stella. You and I never met though I had hoped we might some day – but at least I can sign myself
Arthur’s sincere friend,