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Date: May 23rd 1918

Thursday Eve, 23 May, 1918

The Orchard

Letter No 20

My dear dad,

I have received with very great pleasure your two sporting letters dated 15th and 19th inst to which I will reply now. I expect the steam bath letter put the "wind up" a bit; I laughed ever so much as I wrote it, it was so funny to see old Stuart, he hates anything like [?] in and can't bear the touch of any sort of insect. I am very pleased you have safely received all my letters; if I go on at the present rate I shall soon fill up Stanley's booklet. I am taking every opportunity to write now as I shall not be able to do so when I get up the line at anytime. Yes, I have received both of mother's letters and have been cheered very much by them. That jolly old parcel of knitting is somewhere I suppose - I wish it would turn up. If I go on at the present rate, now the "innings" has started, I shall have all my work cut out to reply to all the letters I get, but the more the merrier. Why [?] here to get such ripping letters as I have had, it certainly makes this life very much more happy. It is truly great thing to know that you, mother, and many others are thinking and praying for me and in my tears I thank God for you all. You have seen here [?] we are all getting the best out of the life out here and I must say we have a jolly time on the whole. I should think you could almost imagine what sort of place I was in now from my descriptions.

I am glad that business is going on well as [?] despite the [?] London. The news of the breakdown sounds quite [?] I have no doubt that the carman who minds the van [?] can now appreciate what a "Guard" is like in the army. Talking of New Barnet recalls many happy time and with you, I only [?] I often think of you all in the old familiar places at home, the office and at school and wish I could be back there again. Yes, I think America has begun to extend herself to bring the war to a successful conclusion. The news from [?] is very reassuring .......¹ say about a thousand.

It was rather overcast again this morning and a little rain fell. The change from the hot weather to cool is very welcome as we can work ever so much better. To take advantage [?] of the morning before the rest of midday [?] and breakfast at 6. Of course, I felt tired getting up so early but shall not notice this as I shall relieve [?] at night. I have now finished the Lewis Gun course [?] it was very interesting and the instructor was quite a nice fellow. He has just been awarded the DCM. I should have thought he would be the last man in the world to get such decoration as he seemed to be quiet. I paraded at 7.30, in battle order, and was [?] with the others to the training round. The same spot as I did the LG firing. There I did some rifle firing for an hour to [?] marched back to the town near here for a bath. They aren't frightened of using ammunition for practices out here as they are in Blighty, so that I expect I shall have plenty more firings. [?] The bath was very refreshing; [?] as if I shall get one weekly while out here, isn't it fun? The sergeant in charge of our bathing party being sporty, let us go to the YMCA tent where I got some tea, biscuits and chocolate and writing paper. I am rather hard up for the latter. We were dismissed at 6 o/c for the day and after dinner the weather being quite fine again I washed my towel and a handkerchief quite successfully. I shall be quite domesticated by the time the war is over. I then wrote the letter to Walter..??.. the post which arrived at 4.30pm. Since then I have been [?] but it is blowing up rather cool now so that I must go inside. Luie has sent me a very nice letter and some photos [?] one of the boys let him [?] I have received the letter [?] I shall not have time to write him for a day or two. Now I must say au revoir and thank you again very much for your letters²

¹ Appears to have been censored.

²The end of the letter is missing.