14 May, 1918
A village somewhere in France
My dear dad,
Yesterday's letter gave an account of my wanderings to the time of my arrival here from which point I continue my narrative. May 13 ‘18. I got up just before 7o/c (reveille is 6 but there was no hurry) and had breakfast of fried bacon, biscuits and tea. The mess orderlies bring the rations round to the billets (in most cases, barns). We were then medically examined by an American doctor who, unlike the majority of M0s was quite a decent chap. I have noticed what a large number of American doctors there are now in the army at home and over here. No doubt the shortage of doctors is being met by the Americans. After medical inspection our gas masks were examined to see if they were in quite good order and the standing orders in force at this camp were read. We then went back to our barn and read or wrote letters, as it was raining, until dinner time. Nearly all our platoon have been chosen as Lewis Gunners and in the afternoon from 2 until 5 we had L.G. practice. I am on an eight day course which will prove very interesting especially as I only have eight hours work out of forty eight and but for fatigues the rest of the time is my own. I wish there was more scope for recreation of some sort; one gets tired of reading and writing and one has seen enough of this village when once the tour of it has been made. It continued to rain all the afternoon and evening so that when tea was over there was nothing to do but stay in the barn and find the best amusement. Some played cards ands smoked while other wrote letters and read. We had to change our billet before turning in as there was more convenient accommodation in the other "A" Coy billet. Like the other place this barn is built with mud plaster walls and an old red tiled roof and is divided into three compartments by low, brick partitions. Stuart and I are sleeping together on a heap of straw bundles which make a jolly fine bed to lay on.. There are no windows in this building and as the evening came on it soon got rather dark although the door was open and there ware several holes in the walls. Fortunately we have a candle ration and very soon the place looked quite bright and homely in the yellow light. We are able to buy plenty of new milk and new laid eggs from the farm people here and for supper Stuart and I had a mug full of warm milk between us. I got into bed at about 8.30 and read the newspaper (Sunday's Continental Mail) which had just arrived, until 9.30pm - "lights out", when I tucked myself snugly in the blanket and straw, imagined I was in my real bed at home and fell asleep on time.
This village is a jolly fine place and the longer I am here the better I like it. Some of the chaps who have been out here since the early days of the war (poor devils) say that this one of the nicest places they have ever been to. Indeed it is quite hard to imagine that within an hours motor ride the war is raging with its classless fury.
One of the army chaplains (a jolly fine chap he seems) has just come in here to have a chat with some of the old soldiers and to have a look at our "home". He said that he was getting up a recreation room in a school room which he had hired near the church and which will be supplied with books, writing paper and games. By the way, I should like a little pocket game of draughts and chess. I think you have seen the kind of thing I mean. It is usually made of cardboard. If you can get them I should like a small pack of cards as well.
It is tea time now so that I will draw the letter to a close. The letters are collected at 3pm every afternoon but I did not have time to catch the post today unfortunately.
I have not yet had any letters so I hope that all is well at home and that business is going well. I shall be ever so glad to have news from home.
Give my fondest love to mother, the boys and Grandma
from your very affectionate son