May 22, 1917
Tuesday evening and I must send a few lines home. Received your letter of the. 23rd last night, also Earle's Mail seems to take a longer time to come than in the past, whatever the reason. Last summer we used to get mail sometime under two weeks; but now it gets here seldom under four. Well we are back on the line
I am in a good dugout, one of the most comfortable I have had yet, but most of the fellows have not got such good places. We have a lot more night work here than in the old position. Also have to man O.P. every second night where before we manned it only every sixth and seventh. Don't think I told you about a couple of chaps who were at our billets when we were out on rest. They were two Belgium refugees aged eleven and eight and talk about smart kids! They were certainly hard to beat. Naturally they spoke Belgian perfectly, that is the Walloon which is very similar to French. They also understood and spoke Flemish which is similar to German. They had perfect French and spoke English almost as good as you or I. Not only that, they could also make themselves understood
in Welsh and could sing such songs as "A Wee Deoch and Doris" with as good a Scotch accent as any Scotchman. You will have heard before this reaches you of Rex Kieley being wounded yesterday. He was out on the line and got a piece just between his hip and his stomach. It is a fairly deep wound but not dangerous. He was lying out in front of the dugout and a shell burst quite some distance away, so far that he didn't take any notice of it, but a falling piece carried far enough to get him. He was the only man to be hurt at all seriously on lines so far. Dennis and Walker each got a scratch but each of them is back with us again. Ben was one of our best men and we are sorry to lose him, but he will have the summer in Blighty and perhaps is better off. Walker got back a couple of days and is as good as ever.
Well, Mother, I don't think there is much more news. The boys are all well. Everything goes on as usual. Was into a big town on the right of the line the day before yesterday. Wanted to see it before we moved because it is quite an historic place. The ruins of the cathedral were definitely worth seeing and I was glad I went. With the exception of the cathedral and one or two buildings the town is in good condition, that is compared to other towns and villages I have seen on the line. Now I think I will ring off for this time. I am in the best of health and enjoying life. Feel as fit as a fiddle after our rest. Will write again in a few days
Love to all from your loving son, Harold