In a dugout
Monday. July 3rd 1916
My dearest Mother
Again I am spared to send you another letter. It is Monday afternoon and a glorious one at that. This dugout is in a somewhat elevated position in the midst of a field and the consequence is that we have an abundance of fresh air and sunshine, which we appreciate with the greatest delight after several days sojourn in the ruins of houses, the surroundings of which are neither healthy, nor sweet smelling.
I received Pa's letter enclosing "Rosaries" and dated the 22nd June last night! A little long in getting here wasn't it because the night before last I received his letter dated the 28th.
I am sending a postcard to Pa acknowledging the letter of the 22nd today, as this letter will not leave my hands until tomorrow evening, so I shall be adding more to it, I expect (postcard did not go-I lost the post).
There's a rumour going round that all leave is stopped for six weeks but I sincerely hope it is not true but it' stopped for a bit at present anyhow. So cheer up!
What think you of the British Advance? Aint it great.
I haven't heard from Stan lately. Would he please oblige with a description of the Junior's concert at A.S.C. camp held June 24th. I heard it was going to be held but haven't heard anything further. Here's a bargain! How many letters will he send me if I promise to keep a German bullet for him, when I come home because I've got some and how many for a French one?
Our feed is O.K. when up the line so we are just going to indulge ourselves again and call it tea. I will say adieu for the present. There's only 3 of us and we really are having a "joke" time, except for shells.
Tuesday. July 4th
I received last night your parcel and letter Mother. How glad I was to get the former especially as I thought you would not be sending anymore. Please continue to do so with letter separate then things will be alright. It really was a very nice parcel, especially the pancakes. My! They went down good.
Ray has come across Eh! Well I don't know whether to say I'm glad or sorry. Sorry I suppose. I'm sorry for Mrs. Ward of course because he certainly was home a lot and they will miss him. I'm afraid he'll find things pretty tough out here at first.
What Pritchard told you is quite correct. Cheer up?
Glad about Ena and her brothers. Hope she has a good time.
Please let me have young Allen's battalion etc and ten chances to one I'll find him if you send it quickly and I'll wake him up about writing. Some fellows think the censorship only allows piffle to go through and therefore never write anything else. I shall be pleased to visit his Mother if I get home soon. Sure! Ma I'll wipe up breakfast things for you. Certainly!
We are having a thunderstorm now so you can imagine it isn't so nice as it was yesterday when I was up in the field, for I am now back in the ruins. I am eating raisins as I write this so I am enjoying life, so to speak.
Things wont be so lively for me tonight so I'm making the most of the time now. You see I have been writing this in a copse but it got so hot that I came down to the YM tent and after a cup of tea, biscuits and a tin of apricots I am proceeding with this correspondence.
Well, shall I give some good news to you? Yes, may as well. I was lucky enough to draw the leading ticket, in the draw for leave and am the first to go in our section, with the exception of the sergeant and one other, so I hope to be seeing you all soon, if all goes well. Please don't get too excited over it and I'll do my best not to, although it's a hard job, after our recent "Coy deadening" experiences.
I'm also glad to say that unless anything very unforeseen happens "up the line" our Brigade (therefore I shall not) see the trenches again for at least a couple of weeks. Thank goodness. Don't let Perc have any leave, so that he'll be due it when I get mine.
As I want to go to the Service in the adjoining barn to this YM (same barn as used for cinema all the week and where I saw a Charlie Chaplin film for the first time last night). I will therefore conclude this with my very best love to all (as I go to the Service tonight in comparative safety from shells. I am reminded of last Sunday's service we had in the dugout and under heavy shell fire and again feel very, very thankful that I am safely through and out of it).
Your ever-loving boy,
"Till we meet"- still O.K.
Many thanks Bill for letter received today.