"But of it
For a bit
And in camp
Thurs. July 13th 1916
My dearest Mother
I wrote an eight-page letter to you yesterday and on reading it prior to posting I decided to destroy it on account of its gloom.
Why I should have occupied a period of depression in writing to you, who need cheer as much as I, I don't know but I did it nevertheless with the aforementioned result.
I am of course out of the Line again Thank God! And have been out three days . I am very glad to be here too after the "dose" we had, while in the Line.
I have had "some" times since I first saw France and Belgium but my experiences a few nights ago sends all else flying into insignificance for horror. Listen!!
Eight of us set out with rations and water to take to our comrades who were at an advanced post beyond our front line in what of course is known as "No Mans land". The night was dark, few flares were going up and all for us was "jake", until we were half way between our front line and our destination and then we "copped it". Our own artillery opened up full force on the enemy's front line. Up went his flares making it worse than broad daylight, up went his signals for his artillery to reply and down we had to roll into the nearest ditch, which was our only hope. The smoke was sickening, the din was ear splitting, and the flying shrapnel everywhere was murder to anything two inches above ground. We huddled together in the mud of that loving ditch as tight as we could. As the din increased so the bursting shells came nearer to us and how one never managed to land right among us is a miracle. One came horribly close but mercifully failed to explode for had it done so none of us would have heard it and we should still be soaring. Oh! What a nightmare, the thought of it is even now and I therefore do not wish to dwell on it long. At last the storm subsided and then we found to our horror that our sergeant had been instantaneously killed and two others slightly wounded, but the marvel is that we weren't all knocked out - "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of". We of course got the rations up afterwards and returned feeling more or less shaky.
Now I must acknowledge all I have received from any of you. From you Mother I've had 2 welcome magazines (both I've nearly finished reading), 1 parcel contents of which I very much enjoyed (prunes etc were great), a GWR magazine enclosed for which special thanks, and your more than welcome letter, which I will now answer.
First I'm glad to hear about Pritchard. Best thing that could have happened to him. Of course in a way I'm sorry but at the same time I can't help saying he's darn lucky. He will quite understand, you see?
I am sorry about Roy Davy though. That certainly is bad news, very bad only don't say so. So end my comments on your letter.
I received Stan's interesting and well composed letter and will answer when possible on when his next comes, because he sure has some writing to do ere he gets any souvenirs from me. As a cartoonist your coming on fine - your "How we fight the Thepps" was highly commended around here.
The letter from War Command was a good one this time from Mr. Abbott. Quite decent after last time. Critical aren't I? I received, three days ago an exceedingly nice parcel -------
[Remainder of letter missing]