Somewhere having a rest
Thurs. June 1st 1916
My dearest Ma, Pa and everybody
At last I feel like writing for I get spasms of about 4 or 5 days duration every now and then when I feel too fed up and lazy even to sign my name. Anyhow the arrival of Pa's latest splendid literary effort spurred me to the YMCA table with pencil (tiny portion) and paper (last of a pad that was a trench companion of mine for the past fortnight).
As you comprehend I am now "out" for half as long as I'm ever "in". It is a nice change from the shells whistlings etc. I had a near scrape about a week ago when a piece of shrapnel tore my trousers but luckily didn't break the shin. I've seen much nearer scrapes than that though with others.
Thanks very much Ma for parcel. I received it in the line two days before leaving and weren't we glad for a slice of cake.
Pa, your description of the garden is superb and I thank you for that imaginary walk around I so enjoyed.
Glad you all had such a fine time on Sat 27th when celebrating the 28th. How it made my mouth water in longing for the old songs, scenes and doings (to say nothing of feed). Enjoy it all for me, will you?
Sorry young'un suffers so badly, can't you get better advice about him?
I was singing a few hymns to myself in a dugout in the front line at the very same time as you, last Sunday even just after tea about 6 or 6.30 and had a nice quiet time and the verse I thought about most was:
"There is a spot where spirits blend
And friend holds fellowship with friend
Though surrounded far by faith they meet
Around one common mercy seat".
It was true enough and I know I felt many times better that even than I had all day for my that was a day of shells is sure.
Referring to your letter Ma I hope Ina is better now and what a lovely motor ride you had. I hope it did you real good. Regarding a holiday for yourself and the boys. Westcliffe I think would be most admirable and I shall be pleased to contribute £5 (five pounds) to it. Pa can draw it out when it's needed
Excuse me Min but although yours was a lovely newsy letter I can't find sufficient that needs comment on by me in it and so I thank here you for it and will try when your next arrives to send a decent letter for yourself. See!
Pa, referring to your previous letter, which I hadn't answered. Yes, I remember Mr. Kelly of Portobello, so does Percy (he was in his class but II wasn't). I thank him for his wishes and wish to be remembered to him if you meet him again. Is he still at Porto?
I had a regular little bombardment of letters from Ray these last few days so think I had better send him a line. Funny about Mr. Fricker having measles. Ain't it? How I'd like to see him on "sanitary" or "cookhouse".
Isn't it time Percy send me a line. Think it is!! Two months and not as much as an envelope.
By the time this gets to you I expect to be in the thick of it again, at a tough place, so please think of me and pray for me. Parcels will be more than welcome there and letters. How we all eagerly wait for mail when the rations arrive every night. It's the first thing thought of and asked for and you should see the faces when there's nothing for this one or that one and away they turn, mostly to think of home, even though they have no tangible reference to it, but how the same faces brighten when from the dugout he who sorts the mail shouts their names. The contrast is wonderful to behold.
Now I guess I must stop.
I remain happy and in the best of health waiting for a sudden collapse to this horrible business.
Your ever very loving boy
Two years today we had a trip to Marlow up the river. A pleasant memory on this lovely day.
Cheer Oh!! Great days these!! Very sorry about the Barwells - fancy him being called!