Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: May 5th 1918
Mother and Father

Somewhere in France
Saturday 5 May, 1918
My dearest mother & father
I trust you received the two post cards I sent just before leaving "Blighty" and that you felt relieved to hear from me. After breakfast this morning we lined up by the Pier Head and at 10 o/c marched on to the boat with about 2,000 other troops. The name of the transport we will call "A", for the present, and used to belong to the L.B. & S.C. Rly. It was 12 o/c when it started on its cross Channel journey and all the time it was at the Pier we were being "rocked on the bosom of the deep", so that several were soon sea-sick. Fortunately I was not taken badly altho' I felt a little ropey. Our boat was escorted by several destroyers but the journey was completed without incident and within two hours from leaving England we found ourselves in France. Fortunately the weather has been fine all day so that I quite enjoyed the sea trip, it was a bit cold however. On landing we were marched to a rest hut & given a good meal consisting of white bread, butter, cheese, two boiled eggs and tea; in addition to this we were given a haversack ration of bread, 3 sausages & cheese. This coupled with the parcel I took from home has more than carried me through a very tiring day. At 4.30pm we entrained for this camp and arrived at 6.15pm after a journey of some 15 miles (This will give you an idea how fast the trains travel). We rode in a cattle truck, of course, and were able to get out and walk by its side several times. We had some tea and afterwards drew a blanket and waterproof cape and ground sheet and proceeded to some tents. There are 16 chaps in this tent (an ordinary bell tent) so that you can guess there is no room to spare.
It is Sunday now and we are all in the tent waiting for dinner. I slept fairly well last night but I still feel tired, however, we don't have much to do while we are here. After breakfast, which consisted of bread, bacon and tea, we had kit inspection. Unfortunately it rained very fast until 10 o/c this morning and of course inconvenienced us considerably. This afternoon we are going through gas (?) again and then the rest of the day is our own. Reveille is at 5.30am and lights out at 9pm, a little change from Wimbledon. So far I have had quite a good time mainly because of the excitement and change of scene. I don't know what is going to happen to me but whatever happens I shall be quite alright. Unfortunately you will not be able to write me as I have not been sent to any regiment yet so that I shall have to console myself with the thought that you are thinking about me! Of course you could try and send a letter but I rather doubt whether it will reach me. I shall write you as often as I can then you won't worry so much about me. I do hope that you won't worry for I am quite alright only a little upset at not being able to see you as usual. But never mind I shall be home very soon and in the meantime we must each find comfort in the omnipresence of God.
Now I must hurry for it is nearly dinnertime. Give my love to all the boys and Grandma.
With fondest love from your very affectionate son
Bert xxxx