Saturday, 25th May, 1918 France
My dearest mother,
I have your letter of the 19th May - Friday - to answer. It is just over three weeks now since I said au revoir to you at Wimbledon and altho' you will accurately credit it, it doesn't seem to me as if I have been away as long. I have seen so many fresh scenes and done so many things out of the ordinary that the time has gone rather quickly. I have been keeping the happy thought of home always fresh in my mind that it scarcely seems that I have been separated from you more especially now that your letters flow in by every post. I can realise that it must seem that I have been away a long time to you because you are always thinking about me, being in France. You ought to imagine all the week that I am enjoying myself at Wimbledon and when a weekend comes round that something or other is preventing me from getting home. The latter is not one imagines of course. No, I am afraid that the fact of me being a soldier out here can't [?], but then you must remember that if it wasn't for millions such as I, then you and all at home (including myself) would be very much worse off. That is one consolation - a small one perhaps - and then of course you know The Other without which we should both fail to "carry on". Now that you call my attention to it, I remember most well what happened on Whit Monday last year. I hope that I shall be home to enjoy such a happy day next year. We did not have a thunderstorm last Friday week here; the weather was A1. When you think about them, Arthur and Fowler are both very busy. I shall not grumble if I do half as well. I was surprised to hear about Wally [?] lucky to be back in Blighty again altho' he is wounded. I have seen one or two small mice in this barn but they are nothing. Yes, I think it is ever so much more comfortable here than in a tent; there is very much more room for one thing. I had a very long letter from Luie Soutter, as you know, and mentioned about Cyril joining the scouts. It will benefit him not only in the way you mention - [?] - but in every other way as it has Stan and I. I shall be glad of the [?] when they arrive altho' I don't get very much time for reading mainly because I spend a good deal of my spare time writing letters.
Yesterday when I got up at 6, it was raining and quite cold. I went on parade as usual at 7o/c and was marched over to the training ground for general inspection just as I had at Wimbledon, [?] bayonets, jerks etc. It was however so wet that it was decided that we should retire to our billets where we had a lecture on musquetry. I was able to get a letter to Luie and Mr. Waller written before dinner. In the afternoon it was still raining so I did some "tapping" with the signalers in this billet and then read a book of Stuart's. The post arrived fairly early though your first parcel [?] some excitement. [?] Also had [?] weekly papers and large bar of chocolate. After [?] Lewis Gun classes had a lecture on [?] reading in the school room and while we were there at the base just as we left I went to bed early as I was tired of reading and writing.
It has been a matter of some surprise to me since I have been out here to find how hard the very old people work. As a rule the country people live to a good age and work until it is a matter of physical impossibility. I have seen old women well over Grandma's (well mother's) age carrying a load that I would consider heavy for me to lift.
I hope that all is well as expected at home. Give my love to Dad, the boys, Grandma and Cooky.
With fondest love and xxxx
from your very affectionate son Bert