Feb 28th 1918
My Dear Mother:-
The last day of the month and I haven't written to you since Sunday so just after a fair supper - supplemented by a cup of tea, one cake and six small chocolate bars (which we can rarely get) - I will sit down and write a few lines. Nothing much has happened this week. I am mad for after getting a place on the C. C. Runners team I couldn't run on Wed. as our section was shooting on the ranges. They won the area championship and now I miss a trip to London and one to Bramshott on the 20th. I may get in on the latter yet. Have been out on the ranges Tues, Wed and today and tomorrow we go out again. On Tues & Wed we were firing & today & tomorrow were doing butt work - scoring etc. for the other sections. It was quite an experience firing a machine gun with bullets going out at the rate of ten or more per second. I didn't score very well. Did fine at 400 yards but fell down at 600. In the last practice we were given 100 rounds and started at 600 yards. There we mounted [the] gun and fired at a target representing two men and a machine gun. We fired until we hit it and then ran with gun up to 500 yards & repeated, then up to four hundred and again [fired] at him. The object was to make the three hits and save as much ammunition as possible. I did fine as I saved seventy-nine rounds but the practice didn't count on our score. Some wasted the full hundred rounds at the six hundred yard range.
Today we were behind the but[t]s. Bullets were flying & singing above us. Aeroplanes & observation balloons were crossing in the sky overhead, in the sea in front of us were numerous cruisers and trawlers passing backward & forward. Quite a realistic war picture. We stay down all day - our dinner is brought down to us but it's easy work and we usually finish quite early.
Tonight came a rumour that we are to go on Draft leave next week. If it is true, you will get my cable 'ere this. If not you will know it is but another tale. However we finish our course next week and last Friday we were given our issue of service boots - 'Kitcheners' they are called. They are good serviceable boots but my - oh so heavy. On the heel is a steel horse-shoe and on the foot a ring of iron and big nails. I guess they are just the thing for the mud in the trenches.
Have had no mail this week except a parcel of papers from Aunt Lizzie dated early in Dec. I must write to Nellie some of these days as her mail has been coming quite often. On Saturday morning we have a basketball game to play in the Area League. It suits me fine as it means that we miss the morning route march - one of the week's miseries. The weather has been fine again this week - very little rain and today it was fine and warm. They are all talking of gardening here now and all are urged to have a home garden. The Rationing scheme here for meat etc is, I believe, a fine system. It insures a good fair distribution and I think everyone gets enough. Health statistics show that there is less sickness now than there has been for years past and the rationing plan eliminates "queues". Eggs are expensive, a dozen cost one of the fellows 4 sh. 9 d ($1.14) the other night, but they tasted good - fried in our mess tins - with a few slices of toast. I haven't been far away from the hut this week. I have a fine book - 'BEN HUR' - which keeps me interested in the evenings and generally both Reid and I are in bed asleep before nine o'clock.
Three or four of us have decided to go to Scotland on Draft leave. I would like to visit Glasgow & Edinburgh - Ben Nevis and those places of interest about which I talked so much to English classes in days gone by. Tonight quite a number are wiring for money for leave. What we get here doesn't give one a chance to save. I am hoping for the money I asked you to send me altho' I guess £5 ($25) would have done me.
Well, Mother, I must close. Write me soon. With love from
#2233344 F. C. Cousins
No. 1 Co., C. M. G. Depot