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Date: June 2nd 1915
Howard Curtis

Somewhere in France
June 2, 1915

Dear Mother,

We are out of the trenches again after a long session - ten days under heavy shell fire all the time, day and night. Our casualties were heavy, mostly wounded. It is nerve shattering to be under shell fire. No matter how strong a man's nerves are they are affected. I have seen many a poor fellow break under the strain. I'm sticking it fairly well myself, but I'm not as steady as I was a few months ago.

I miss Bert Carpenter. For the last month or so I was with him nearly every day. No. 1 Company is a lonesome place now without him. The boys buried Bert behind the trench and when I saw his grave it had some flowers on it and two neat wooden crosses. We were going to put a fence around the grave but were called away to another trench. I hope the war will be over soon but I know we have a big task ahead of us yet.

Well, Mother, to-morrow is the King's Birthday and I believe there will be a special celebration for the Germans. The Americans seem content to let the Kaiser run the world as he likes. Italy will help us greatly and the Russians are pushing ahead. We see terrible sights out here that I can't describe to you. If I'm spared to come back, I'll be able to tell you. This war has taken many good men and will take more before it is over. It's hard to realize the sorrow all over the world.

I suppose the men are busy making brick. I think it would be a wise plan to start making bricks over here to rebuild the area. It's nothing but a mass of ruins where the trenches are. The other morning we passed through a village on our way out of the trenches and I don't think there is even one whole brick. In the cemetery the graves were blown up and the church was level with the ground.

The warmer weather permits us to billet out in the open now. It's rather chilly at night but we are quite comfortable and I enjoy it fine. I read the account of Heber Rogers' memorial service at St. Luke's church but knew before then that he was a prisoner of war. His service will answer for many other poor lads who have fallen. I would like to have attended Bert Carpenter's service. It's no use wishing anything like that out here. The letter that you wrote me on my birthday, May 9th, reached me all right.

As ever,

I'm in the machine gun section now.