3 June, 1918, Monday Somewhere in France
My dearest mother,
I spent quite a happy day yesterday as you will see from the following;- as usual on Sunday Reveille was later - breakfast was at 8 o/c - and I was glad of the lay in a little longer. Church parade was at 9am and we were marched from our billet to the church in the town where we joined other troops and then clip marched to a spot near our training ground. It was an ideal place for a church parade - a green meadow almost surrounded by a dense cluster of trees where we could sit in the shadow. There were quite a large number on parade and the service was conducted by four padres and was the usual C of E service. The sermon wasn't bad but as a rule was not appreciated - it being calculated to raise the spirits of the chaps in spite of doubtful news of the war, which rather riled some of them. The authorities should bear in mind that reverses rather [?] stiffen the backs of the fellows to give Jerry more than he gave them. It was a pleasant though tiring march to and from the parade ground and we arrived back with a good appetite for dinner. Stuart, myself and two other chaps who came out with us had put in passes to go to the town where we had our last swim. We were free to go out after three [?] but Stuart who had been sleeping since dinner time declared himself too tired, so, the rest of us left without him. The walk to the place was rather tiring and as the road along which we walked lay across open country all the way, the heat of the [?] were rather uncomfortable. But we trudged slowly along with our towels round our necks thinking of the delightful swim we were to enjoy when we reached out destination. You will recall my description of the river valley with the trees and pools and the meandering river; well, yesterday the view looked more enchanting than ever from our view point at the top of the hill. The water was shimmering in the brilliant sun light and a slight haze which filled the valley [?] the outlines of objects [?] and lent wonder to the scene. Arrived at the spot where we last had a swim and clothing went off in no time and with a "whoop" of delight we all three jumped in the water - which was beautifully warm. I swam about for nearly half an hour until I felt a bit tired; when I dressed and lay down on the grass for a sun bathe while the others were still sporting about in the water. It was 6.30 before we went back to the town to have a meal and found a house where eggs etc were sold. Here we each had four fried eggs, bread and butter and coffee, a good meal as we were jolly hungry. We went back a different way through the small place near the training ground with the object of getting some stuff from the YMCA there but it was already closed. The walk back was very enjoyable in the cool of the evening and made a pleasant finale for our outing.
When I got back I expected to find quite a lot of letters waiting for me but there were none - only a small post had arrived for some reason or other. I hope to be more lucky today.
We may be moving again in a day or two but nothing is certain.
I hope you had a happy day yesterday and that you and all at home are keeping quite well.
I am feeling in the "pink" and having quite a good time.
Give my love to all at home,
with fondest love from Bert