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Date: February 18th 1917
To
Miss Lola
From
Arthur
Letter

France Feb 18/17 Dear Miss Lola, Thank you very much for your letter, candy and socks. They were both duly handed to me in "my cozy little dugout in the firing line." Your letter came a few days ago and the parcel last night. It is somewhat unusual, I believe, to have parcels delivered to one in the front line and as I had a parcel from home last night I am indeed a lucky fellow. My bunk was quite a centre of attraction and I am sure you would have laughed to see about twenty fellows crowding around me crawling on the floor and on each other. It is a good job Fritz did not decide to pay us a visit whilst we were busy. The candy is perfectly delicious and we all enjoyed it very much, that is the first bon; the other is just started. I like it better than any candy I have ever tasted which is saying a good deal. The socks are splendid, nice and soft, and it was thoughtful of you to remember the blue and white. I have no doubt that they will fit my pedal "extremities" all right but will assure you on that point later. Your parcel could not have arrived at a more opportune time. This is my first trip in the trenches and although the officers do all in their power for our personal comfort you can imagine that the trenches are not quite as comfortable as being back in billets and being a perfect baby in the matter of sweetstuff your candy cheered me up no end. The frost lasted here until about two days ago and whilst it did although it was somewhat cold at nights still the ground was hard and the trenches dry but very slippery. Yesterday the thaw set in and we had a little rain. The trenches are now ankle deep in mud and water in places & sometimes more although not to bad for the most part yet. The trouble has only begun though. Unfortunately we are not allowed to tell much about the war for you may be sure that my first experience of the trenches has been intensely interesting to me and curiosity easily exceeded even it if did not altogether supersede every other emotion. There were certainly many things to see which excited my wonder and admiration. You can readily imagine that it is a difficult matter to keep clean living in all this mud so if this letter is soiled you must make allowances. I am writing in the dugout. In my last letter I believe I told you that the French called their soldiers of 18 years or so "Les poilus comme soucoupe." (like a saucepan) I should like to correct myself. It should be "Les poilus comme saucis" (like a sausage) or comme des assiettes (like plates). I forgot the French word "saucis" and looked it up in the dictionary. I got the wrong word "soucoupe" and I believe I made the additional mistake of spelling it "souçoupe." I am sure that the hockey match must have been wildy exciting but am rather surprised that you and Bessie did not referee that game yourselves. Thanking you again very much for your kindness. Kind regards to all Yours very sincerely Arthur P.S. Had this picture taken about a week ago. It is pretty rotten but not bad for this part of the world A.L.T.

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