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Date: June 21st 1918

Friday, 21 June, 1918 A small village

Somewhere in France


My dear mother,

I promised yesterday that I would tell you all that happened since I came out of the line. After a hard struggle through communication trenches, I got out on to a road well behind the line whence I had a march of several miles to a small village where I was to spend the day. Unfortunately it began to rain fast at about 2o/c am and before I got to me destination, I was fairly wet. As soon as I arrived I had a small can of cooked bully, bread & margarine and tea and afterwards lay down and fell fast asleep. I was absolutely fagged out after the night's exertions and excitements. I had got a bit of a cold about me and the wet made me feel rather feverish; however I slept from 6am until 12 noon, when dinner was ready and felt better after the rest. Somehow or other I felt like having a feed during the afternoon and I found a barn house where I had two fried eggs and some coffee. At four o/c I marched in full marching order to a camp of tents pitched in a wood about four miles away and not far from the place where I was encamped prior to going up the line. It rained on and off all day so that the ground was very muddy. The wood was quite "bon", however, and the band of the 21st ? was playing some fine selections during the evening that the time passed pleasantly. That evening I received the large post I spoke of yesterday and I read the letters in bed by the light of a candle. I had a good night's rest, although I felt a bit shivery as a result of my cold. Thursday was spent in cleaning clothes and equipment and [?] making good losses and defective articles. Stuart and I walked down to the village (I had been there before - on Sunday Eve June 9th - when I bought some stuff from a canteen, after the evening service in a school room) to have a look round and make a few purchases. The day was fairly fine so that I was able to enjoy to the full the respite from the sound of gunfire in the trenches. You can imagine what a relief it is to be in a quiet place alone out of sound of the guns. Although I didn't take much notice of it up there yet the continual boom (for it was scarcely ever quiet) rather got on my nerves after a time.

The band was playing again in the evening . Stuart and I listened to it until it was time for turning in. I managed to sleep very comfortably at night; I cover myself with my great coat and wrap my scarf round my chest; all along I have found my air pillow very comfortable.

I awoke this morning feeling ever so much better. The feverishness has quite gone, but I still have a bit of a cold. Breakfast was at eight o'clock and two hours later I marched off with my belongings and boarded a motor lorry waiting nearby. I was on my travels again! The journey by motor commenced at noon and I arrived at my destination at four o'clock. The journey was ever so interesting but I must tell you more about it tomorrow.

* * * * * *

(Later 21/6/18)

At present I am billeted comfortably in a farm - a respectable place - and as I view the prospect of a stay of two or three weeks here I can see that I shall have a good time. Give my love to Dad, all the boys and Grandma and Cookey

Wish ? very many happy returns of today - let me see, is it twenty five or twenty six?

Well, it is nearly 9 o'clock now so I must say Goodnight

Much love and xxxxx

from your very affectionate son