Somewhere in France
Thursday 20 June, 1918 46
My dear mother,
Last night I had such a big post, three letters from you dated, 10th, 12th and 14th, a parcel containing tin of salts, sweets and a fine cake, a letter from Stan and one from Isa. You can guess that I was ever so pleased. To answer your letter of the 10th:- shopping must be getting very difficult nowadays, I guess you are often at your wits end to know what to make for a change. I am so glad that you had a good time at Southend, don't you now think you ought to go for a holiday if possible? Unfortunately we are not altogether. Some of our chaps are in C. Coy and some in B and most of us are in different platoons. I am in eight platoon of old with Reid, one of the old boys who came out with me. Stuart as you know is unfortunately in seven platoon so that we don't get so very much time together. None of them have got promotion; no new L.G. instructors are being made yet awhile and I hope to be in Blighty before they do. Unfortunately B Coy is a wash out Coy and gets all the dirty work to do. I found that out when in the line. There are very few original C.S.R. chaps of the 3rd line in this Coy and the chaps are rather a washout crowd unfortunately, but I manage to get along alright with them. I have been very lucky in receiving all the sin parcels you speak of in your letter. It is ever so good of you to send such "fun" stuff but I don't want you to send things that you would have to go short of at home. Out of the line I can usually manage to get plenty of stuff at the canteens. It is only in the trenches that grub parcels are especially welcome. I know you would like to send ? more parcels than you do, but in these times of shortages of food at home it can't be done and I shan't expect it. I have not received the Venus pencil yet. I don't know whether you have already sent it. You see, I am reserving the ink in my pen for special letters. I get an issue of laces so am well off for them. Now that I have my pack again I have plenty of paper and the envelopes you have sent from time to time will last me for about three weeks I should think. I am glad the Spring cleaning has been successfully concluded. I am afraid you fret yourself over much about me; I know it is very had that we should be parted but then it won't be for long so just cheer up and the time will fly.
Yes! I got my washing alright; it was done in A1 style. You are fairly lucky this year in starting tennis. I expect you have not had much time to think about it.
I was rather surprised , but very pleased, to think that you had received all my letters up to last Friday. Yes, I got your ten letters sent to Etaples. I am sure that if you looked up some of my earlier epistles that you would find an answer to both. The newspaper outcry rather alters the common sense question; but I must find out how the new A.C.S affects me. Stuart and I both think it best to apply as early as possible for [?] commissions as we do not think, in view of the many applications for Infantry Commissions submitted by N.C.O. with long overseas service, that the C.O. would countenance Infantry or Artillery commissions for either of us. You can take it from me that the RAF is no more dangerous than a Tommy in the line and both are pretty safe. The danger of war is rather apt to be exaggerated I find.
I get a fairly good variety of grub as a rule. Breakfast usually consists of bread, margarine, bacon or bully beef and tea. Dinner, usually, [?] (other than [?]) or cold horse meat. Often we have duff or rice. For tea we have bread, jam, tea etc and sometimes meat paste. The quantity and quality vary from time to time, but as a rule they are good.
I shall find my blue suit rather small when I return to wear it again. I must have grown a good deal bigger. As I said in Dad's letter I know that all your prayers for my welfare have been answered because I have been in the line and come through safely. This should give us all great encouragement to go on hoping for the best at the hands of the Almighty. As you are thinking of us at noon each day, so I shall think of you and all our dear, kind mothers who carry on as well without us and have so much more to put up with than us. After all the life out here isn't so bad. I get heartily fed up at times, but then we are always moving and something fresh is happening that I don't get much chance of being fed up for long. And now I have the commission stuff to think about and I am very optimistic about it too.
I have no time now to tell you what happened yesterday and how we left the line but will do so when I get time. I did not have a chance of posting a letter to you since last Monday - the officers wouldn't censor them - and I should not have been able to send the field card yesterday but for the kindness of an ASC driver.
Goodbye for the present
With fondest love and xxxxx
from "old Dinkey"