Wednesday eve, 26-6-18 Somewhere in France
Letter No. 55
My dear dad,
As I look around me this evening I can imagine for a few minutes that the war is over. Everything is serene and quiet. Over the way a cow, in its stall, is being milked and a few chaps are lounging near the door watching the operation. This is a court yard surrounded upon the four sides with farm buildings. Facing the arch leading to the street is the familiar whitewashed farmhouse with its little curtained windows and smoking chimneys, for although it is a warm evening there is a fire burning somewhere inside. On the left are [?] sheds where the poultry roost in the overhead beams. One of the compartments has been converted into a kitchen where the cooks prepare the food for cooking and around the wall are hung knives and various pots connected with the culinary art. Outside is the cooker and the steaming devices foretell something hot for supper. The next compartment but one is used as a guard room for the men detailed to guard the cooker during the night. Tonight I am a cooker guard and I am filling in the time until 9.30 pm arrives (when I go on sentry) by writing a letter and reading. From the barn on my right, facing the farmhouse, I hear the hum of voices; this is the sergeants mess and at present they are sitting round a rough table apparently playing some game or other.
But as I write some of the noisy element arrives and there is a "kick-about" with a football which bids fair to do some damage.
Today has passed much the same as other days. I was on parade from 8am until 1pm; during the C.O. inspection the band plays decent tunes which seem to make the time pass quickly and relieve the tension, for standing quite still for any length of time is rather a strain. This afternoon I was excused football to enable me to "posh" up my equipment for this guard. This I soon did and I found time to write rather a hurried letter to mother (No. 54) and also to acknowledge Aunty Amy's parcel.
Soon after tea I had to fall in with the guard and duties for inspection prior to mounting. I wish you could have seen the parade; I should say it was a good imitation of the same ceremony in a Guards unit. There was a very strict and minute inspection during which the band was playing. The ceremony finished up with "Abide with me" and as we marched off to our various posts the band played our regimental tune, God Bless the Prince of Wales.
I have already asked mother to thank you for your letter and now I will answer it. It is almost impossible to keep quite clear of insects, but I practically manage to do so by having a frequent inspection and by the application of Harrison's. I don't remember being particularly excited at being in the trenches for the first time; at any rate, if I was it soon wore off. As a matter of fact I was always too tired to get excited.
In answer to question one - No, not far. Re. Cash I am getting a bit short now and could do with 10/-, say. There is no immediate hurry, however. You will remember that I had a debt of just over £3 when I came out here; that is almost wiped out now.
Yes; short notes and frequent please me very much more than long ones and less frequent. I have borne this in mind , from your view point, all along.
What do you think about what you saw in the letter you refer to?
Now it almost is time for me to go on sentry - 2 hours one and 4 hours off.
From your loving son