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Date: July 25th 1918
Bertlam Bill

Thursday 25.7.18
Somme, France
Letter No 84

My dearest mother,

I am still in the village from which I sent my letter yesterday and as far as I know, which isn't much, I shall be here for six days. Happily Stuart and my other chums are now down here with me so everything is very much more pleasant. At present Stu and I are sitting under some trees in a meadow near a stream of very clean water and altho' the weather is inclined to be rainy, yet we have not been worried.

I was ever so glad to get your long letter this morning (written Friday July 19) and with it a letter from Mr. Waller, Aunty Maggie and Grandma's parcel. I have not opened this yet but it is quite intact. Thank her very much indeed for it; the apples will be a real treat as there are none to be had here.

I hope you will be able to fix up for old Stan on a farm; it seems quite probable that Mr. Will Wood will be able to take him.

I heard from Mirrie that you were at New Barnet last Thursday. By rights I suppose my ears ought to burn hourly if I am always the chief topic of conversation at these "at homes". Yes, when I stayed at Elrich's those few nights I saw their fine collection of books and only wished then that I had the opportunity of reading them.

My word! Some folks have found the war a paying game - I was greatly surprised at the news you gave me . I only wish excess profits were little more fairly distributed; our business could do with a little. It must indeed be worrying for dad, but tell him that he must cheer up and things will soon be alright. I don't know how you manage without fruit and jam at home; you must be at your wits end when cooking. Never mind, let us hope that this rotten war will be over by next year. You point out that everything is going up; well, let your spirits rise in accordance with the general condition.

The news is very much better, thanks, partly, to the Americans. I have come into touch with a good number of them lately and find them a fine cheery lot of chaps as eager as anything to get at the Hun and always itching to go over the top. According to them, America is going all-out to win this war as soon as possible and every day thousands of troops leave New York for France. There must be almost two million of them out here now and soon the weight of this increase in numbers will be felt. They get on extremely well with our chaps, which is fortunate; the arrogant spirit which we at first found among them seems to have melted into thin air. All this must be very disheartening to the Boche and it is hoped that it won't be long before he begins to realise that he is "whacked".

I did not get up until 9am this morning and after breakfast had a good wash in the stream I have referred to before. Just before dinner I had a parade for another hot bath, which I enjoyed, and got a clean change of clothing. The bath house is the finest I have yet been in and is built after the style of that at C----y.

Tonight I have booked a couple of seats at the Cinema and Stuart and I are going.

Well, I must draw this note to a close now. I hope you are keeping very cheerful and well, as I am now.

Give my love to Dad, the boys and Grandma and Cookey.

With fondest love and xxxxxxx


Bertlam Bill