Tuesday Eve. 16 July, 1918
"The smugglers den"
Somewhere in France
My dearest mother,
Well, and how are you? I do wish you could see me as I write this. I am in our "bivvy" alone, sitting on the fire-step with my shirt turned down to the waist and sleeves tied in front and a towel covering my shoulders. This is the only way I can think of to keep cool. All the others are outside and I should be with them only I want to be quiet for a minute or two while I write a letter. This little "den" looks ever so cosy with all the equipment, clothes and grub lying about in the various chap's places. The bottom of the trench is still fairly muddy as a result of last night's rain but if the weather repeats her tricks tonight we shall be quite dry as we have made the waterproof sheets more secure and blocked up the trench to prevent any inflow of water.
Today I have been a mess orderly and was accordingly turned out of "bed" at eight sharp to get the bacon and tea for breakfast. It was still raining a little when I tramped down to the cookhouse along the sunken road and at first the prospect seemed most dismal. After breakfast the rain cleared off and the warm sun which followed soon began to make things cheerful and dry up the wet. After rifle inspection at 10.30 I helped clear up the trench a bit and make my sleeping compartment more comfortable. As I was completing this last job the N.C. padre came along to see how we were going along. I took him over to Stuart's "bivvy" a bit farther along the trench and we had a little chat. He seems to find out all the news concerning our future movements and I knew several days ago, practically what has now taken place, which is rather handy. By the time I had washed myself in some rain water it was time to fetch the dinner. This afternoon I lay down with two other chaps under the trees and wrote to Dad and finished Mr. Waller's letter; the remainder of the afternoon I rested.
As soon as tea was over I went for the next day's rations and the post. I received your "bon" parcel containing the cake and sweets. Thank you ever so much indeed for it; the former will go down A.1. The cakes you send usually are all in crumbs owing to the rough handling by the time they reach me but they are none the worse for that. I also received Cyril and Walter's letter and the D.C. Thank the boys ever so much for their letters and tell them that altho' I have not much time in which to reply to them individually yet they are greatly appreciated by me.
I hope that Grandma and Stan are quite well again by this time and that also you and Dad are.
I should like you to be here for an hour tonight just to see how really safe it is. I am convinced that if you were, you would cease to worry about me. But when I come to think about it I am sure that you don't worry now altho' I am always in your thoughts and you in mine. It is truly sublime to know that continually our thoughts turn to each other and our prayers for the welfare of each. I have not heard from the Inland Rev yet. Isn't it a nuisance. I suppose a reply will turn up in time.
Well dear, I must say goodbye for a little while - I have a good deal of cleaning up to do.
With fondest love and xxxxxx