9th East Surrey Regt
I received your letter dated the 4th just before we left the reserve line and I was very pleased indeed to get it as I thought the letters must have been going astray – and I received a letter from Mother dated the 7th last night – in which she says that it is the fourth letter she has written evidently the others which she addressed to the 9th KRR have gone astray – it is a pity that I told you to address them to KRR as I found out at the base that I was not attached to them – but with the East Surrey.
I am hoping I may get Mothers other letters but am afraid that I will not now – all the same I hope to get all those you write now.
I came into the front line yesterday morning and have now just done 1 day out of 8 and am of course utterly fed up with it already. We have got a good deep dugout for sleeping in and for generally living in but we have a rotten piece of line to look after which the enemy
keep pretty hot with “Minenwerfer” sort of trench monsters which send big things over which do a lot of damage to our trenches which means constant working parties busy all day.
We do two spells of duty very 24 hours – 2 hours by night and 2¾ hours by day and then 1 hour in the evening and one in the early morning when the men “stand to” for an hour – this makes 6¾ hours duty per day – it does sound a great deal but I tell you when you are up in charge of your piece of the line the time goes as slowly as I have never known it to before – you have to occasionally patrol your area and see that all is well and all the time keeping an eye craned on the sky for shells – it is very nerve straining indeed and especially so as I am near to it – but I hope for the best and try and look forward to the time when all the beastly affair will be over – after 8 days (which I expect will seem months) we will go 8 days out and then 8 days reserve again – I hope in a better part of the line than we have here.
Of course I cannot give you a hint as to where I am – it is a serious crime and you must not mind me not dropping you any hint.
Please try not to worry
about me Pips, it won’t go any good, I am afraid, but we must all try and keep our spirits up as much as possible and always hope for the best – even here, where one cannot see a spark of humour, you have a certain amount of pleasure when you return to your dugout after the tour of duty and have a quiet sleep or read.
I hope all is going well with you at home and I am so glad to have heard from you – it cheered me up a great deal.
Well, one can’t expect to be cheerful under the circumstances over here, but will forward to the time when the affair is all over and normal affairs recommence.
I am on duty from 12 till 2.45 so must begin to get ready now.
I have got my Marcus Aurelius and old Mortality to cheer me up as well as the thought of home so I am not hopelessly fed up – I would don’t think I would ever reach that stage anywhere, though, as I passed a certain amount of Philosophy which I can always apply when necessary.
I hope the time will pass fairly quickly till the time comes for us to be relieved – and then what a relief to get some release behind the line where you can wack along an open road and across open fields again.
I expect you are still getting your walks in the Park, yes I look up at the same old moon and Plough as you do – its strange isn’t it – but there is something friendly even about that thought.
Well goodbye for the present, I will endeavour to write you a letter every day while I am up here as well as one to Mother.
Hoping you are well and are able to get home fairly early from the office.
From your loving Son,