Winterbottom, Sydney Amyas

Letter
Date:
May 27, 1917
To:
Dad and Mom
From:
Sid
France...Arleux
May 27, 1917

Dear Dad and Mom:

I suppose you wonder what the deuce has happened to you eldest hopeful as he hasn't written for so long. Well it is like this. Last time I was out I felt so rotten with a couple of big boils on my neck and a disordered stomach that I didn't write, or wash, just "crumbed up" every day and said "cuss everything". Now I feel a lot better and can write at least a decent letter.

I received you louse-proof suit and would like to make a suggestion. why not wrap the suit up in something that will stop the Lysol evaporating? the suits are nice and all that but they are the most thorough louse traps I have ever worn. I believe myself that if the chemicals didn't evaporate out of it the suits would be jake.

I received a jake letter from Aunt Emmeline. By gum, I always looked upon her as having a cold, proud heart and all that old junk. Well I know she is nothing of the sort because her letter was one of the nicest and most newsy ones I have ever received in this God forsaken hole of a country.

I think I get all the parcels you send from home only some of them take such an awful long time to get here. I have heard twice from Adrian since he reached "Blighty". His letters are cheerful and he is apparently enjoying himself immensely. Don't blame him. The very first thing he did on reaching "Blighty" was to send for my old mandolin, have it all fixed up with a new case, and straight way began tearing off tunes of a doubtful nature. I'll bet my last dollar on that. I hope the other patients don't heave him out of the ward.

It is sad about Wallie Pearse. A fellow shouldn't stay out here too long as its only a question of time that a fellow gets killed. Some are lucky and make a good "Blighty" their first week of trench warfare. Others like one poor fellow in our platoon, stay on for sixteen , nineteen, and even twenty months. Then one day they make the big journey. This fellow I speak of had a good "cushy job" waiting for him as soon as he came out

We had to dig in a short distance behind out front line and only had a couple of hours daylight to do it in. Fritz must have become suspicious. anyway he started to shell wildly as he couldn't see in the dark.At our end of the line we had gone down about thirty inches when we struck the damned yes I say damned chalk because daylight found us with only a little trench of three foot depth to have shelter in.Well Fritz left us alone that day but towards evening he turned on a barrage of coal boxes and whizz bangs - gosh it was certainly Hell- please scuse language - while it lasted. One shell exploded on top of the parapet in the next hole to ours and buried one of the fellows. They got him out and beat it to a better spot. We however seemed to be protected. The concussion from the bursting shells just seemed to burst your head. Well when everything was over, five of our platoon had been killed and two or three wounded. I never felt so sick in my blooming existence as when the after reaction came on. Now please don't think every trip is like this, because it isn't - that was, I suppose, our worst trip.

Thanks for that bed. I hope the time will come when I'll sleep like a log on it eh what? I left your little watch with Uncle Barney as I knew it would only get smashed up out here.

I received Mrs. Batch's jake socks and will write her as soon as I can and thank her for her kindness. I believe that Dug G. is within a couple of miles of us at present in a draft to our Battalion. I hope so anyway. Please thank Keith for handy knife sharpener he sent - a darned useful gift. I received a funny letter from Harry B. I will enclose his letter. He was recommended for a commission and has decided to take it because as he puts it "they get better grub".

We are getting beautiful weather lately. It encourages the lice but is darn side better than the ___/____/ mud. Well old sweethearts I must close this some time.

With lots of love, I am yours lovingly, Sid
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