Letter No 64
Thursday 4 July, 1918
My dear dad,
Each day brings something fresh in its tracks and today bought its changes first of all by finding me as a mess orderly and secondly by the visit of the General commanding this division. Mess orderly over here is no more pleasant than at home mainly due to the lack of the proper articles to clean the dishes. But all mess orderlies labour under the same disadvantages so that I wasn't any worse off than anyone else who has had the job.
On parade this morning all the medals for gallant conduct which had been won during the retreat and had not already been presented were presented by the General who came down on purpose to do this. He was accompanied by seven or eight staff officers and our own officers with them made quite a formidable array. After the general salute the G.O.C. pinned the medals on the various officers and men which his aide-de-camp read the account of the deeds for which the decorations were awarded. It [?] as I listened to the different accounts and understanding what they meant, then each chap deserved the V.C. The general then inspected the Batt'n, spoke a few words to the chaps saying how pleased he was with the work of this Batt'n in particular during the past three months. He also said that while it was improbable that we should take the ? the form of an offensive this year with the use of our American comrades, he felt sure we would turn the scale [?] in our favour next year. The war would not end until we accepted German territory, he thought and he hoped that until we had the joy of going forward to victory that we would continue to hold steadfastly as we had done in the past. After the General's departure we continued our training in the usual way until dinner time.
I was detailed last night for fire [?] this afternoon. I spent in "poshing" up my equipment and in finishing a letter to Mr. Blake. A ceremonial parade should have taken place last night but after pay parade this evening it was washed out. When I have more time in which to write a few letters and read before it is dark, or I have to "turn in". It has been optional for a long time for fellows to wear shorts during the summer if they prefer. I had not had my trousers shortened until today as I thought the long trousers would be preferable in the trenches which in the usual course of events [?] spends half his time. Well, for the sake of uniformity on this anticipated ceremonial parade this evening everyone had to have shorts so [?] men had to be done. It certainly is much more comfortable in the hot weather, but is likely to be a bit cold at night.
The corporal in charge of our gun section came out here in 1915 when this division was at [?] and I was able to glean a little more information concerning the operation which took place there in the latter part of September. The 20th London which Harry was, are in this division so perhaps I shall have the chance of meeting a few of the chaps who knew him. It is an old [?] the experts estimated that it would take three days to spring the operation and planned the arrival of reinforcements accordingly. Actually they were taken in an hour and the Germans taken [?] to counter attack before the ground captured could be consolidated. Speaking generally Robinson says that conditions out here now are in many ways better than in those days which is of course to be expected.
I added the last paragraph as I thought it might be interesting to you. I wouldn't say anything to Grandma about it unless you think fit.
I received the Sunday Times today and also a letter from Uncle John in which he states that he has been [?]and expects to be called up soon. Things seem to be getting serious.
I do hope business is going well. Remember me to Uncle Will and Uncle Walter.
Give my love to mother,
With all good wishes,
Your affectionate son,