Monday 22 July, 1918
The village, France
My dearest mother,
I am afraid that my promise to write at more length today will not be fulfilled. Somehow or other I have caught a chill (not a bad one) which has given me a slight attack of diarrhea in addition to other symptoms. Accordingly I went sick this morning and the doctor gave me a dose of castor oil (oh glorious taste!!!) and light duty. Happily the duty is very light and so far I have been permitted to lay down in the billet and rest. So if I do not feel up to writing much you won't mind, will you? It is extremely fortunate that I happen to be out of the trenches; its most miserable being ill in the line. I expect to be on parade as usual tomorrow so there is no need for you to worry.
I have not told you what happened on Saturday and Sunday. I spent Saturday as the previous day working on the trench and cubby hole in the morning and evening and resting in the afternoon. The trench was an old disused one first dug in 1915, according to rumour, and had not been occupied since the "16" advance. It must seem rather disheartening to men who were there then to be back again now, after an interval of three years. But this is not a war where victories are measured by the land that is own. However we have very cheering news from the south where the French and Americans have give the Bosch a trouncing. I was not told until late in the day that I was to go down the line with another platoon and the news gave me both joy and sorrow. Of course, I was glad to hear that I was to have another rest, but [?] all my chums are still up the line and for preference I would be with them. I don't know anyone intimately in this platoon, never having had any occasion to be with the fellows before. Looking back on the four days I have spent in the line I must truthfully say I had a very good time on the whole. During the whole time I only had one working party and best of all I was not sufficiently far up to be called upon to "Stand to", so that I got a good night's rest as a rule. This particular sector is quiet altho' on the right where our gallant Australians are, things are pretty lively to judge by the noise. So that when I go up again and I have not the least notion when that will be you will know that I shall be quite alright and in all probability having a decent time. The tramp back here in the early hours of Sunday morning was very tiring and I was glad when I got to sleep. After breakfast I had to clean up my equipment and rifle and then I went to the QM stores and got my pack. As he handed me my pack, the C.Q.M. told me that my papers were now working and that I should see the Colonel soon. I understand there have been rather a number of applications for RAF Commissions but it seems that out here the actual signatures of the people who certify as to good character etc need not be obtained and of course most of the applications were submitted before mine. I think however that the signatures on my papers together with the testimonials should carry weight in my favour. I am extremely hopeful. I had a bath before dinner yesterday and a clean change.
I was not feeling up to much in the afternoon and so I rested in the billet. In the evening I went to the N.C. service held in a house in the main street and enjoyed it very much. I missed my old padre however.
Thank Walter and Nibby for their letters. I also had letters from Allport and Holwell. The former is at Eastbourne having a good time. Mr. Cartell is now out here and has a "posh" job in the QM stores.
Now I must say tootle loo!
Give my love to Dad, the boys, Grandma and Cookey,
With loving wishes,