A Farm-near a windmill among
The cornfields close by a quaint
Old word village. France.
Tues. July 18th 1916
My dearest Mother
Here I am again you see after a very exhausting tramp from the billet behind the Line which we had occupied so log, to a very pretty French country town where we are having a fine time. It really is grand to meet the French people again they are so jolly and cheerful and friendly which is a great change to the plain looking (decided), money grabbing, grumbling Belgians as I have said before. I've no use whatever for the latter and never will have.
I am not actually with my company and shan't be for a day or two for I am having a special Gas Course at a school for that purpose with three from our crowd and a big crowd of all sorts of fellows from different Battalions, batteries, Ambulances etc. It is extremely interesting and instructive. Today we have been having gas turned on us suddenly and we have to get our helmets on as quick as possible. You can bet we do it, too?
Of course my address is exactly the same - JPS 458189. D. Sect. 9th Can. Bgde. M.G.Co, B.E.F. France.
Of leave I know nothing except that no one going from our crowd at present at any rate and hope in that direction is like a burnt out candle - darn low.
Now what I have to thank you for in the way of mail. Here let me put in a very special word of thanks to all for the abundance of mail I do get, it really is the most looked for, and greatest blessing and pleasure of our daily round. I have your letter before me that accompanied your parcel, for both arrived yesterday and for which many thanks.
Tell Percy I wish him luck with his Irish Guards course, undoubtedly that will mean promotion when he gets to his Battn again but I have had some experiences with the Irish Guards and don't we laugh at them. They are so slow.
Pritchard certainly is lucky to get two months sick leave for shell shock. A private possibly wouldn't get that number of minutes.
Len Bragg's tales are certainly odd. I suppose the truth is he is out here and has told his Mother he is in hospital, thinking to save her worrying. He's a fathead anyway! Forget him!
Tell Minnie, she must buck up. There's no need to be low-spirited. The sun still shines, the clouds are swiftly passing now and soon the clear blue sky of peace will appear over us. Cheer up!
At this moment I am reminded of dear Min, for there is a gramophone here in this YM (in this village) and its playing "Whisper and I shall hear" and my thoughts naturally put her voice in the place of the gramophone and the spacious drawing room of Hur Lodge comes before me, with Perc at the piano, the conservatory door flung wide and through the greenery in the conservatory Pa can be seen pottering about in his shirt sleeves in the garden beyond. This I say comes before me in imagination instead of a throng of men busy reading at rows of deal tables in this village school hall and of course I am one of the throng.
I had your jam this afternoon for my tea putting by my issue of Pink's for a while and enjoying a taste of real jam (My! twas good). Thanks for the parcel generally and the Guild mags.
Father's parcel also arrived and of course needs special mention and prompt thanks. I'm using the Stylo now and find it fine and easy so hope you'll understand what I'm trying to write. I looked in vain for a note from him for it's most strange for him not to put one in. Never mind! The pads I'm much obliged for and thanks for envelopes but let me say please send no more we can't keep them. In packing them around with us they stick together and are useless, also envelopes are easily obtained from the YM. So I'll save you postage that way won't I?
Thanks for note in parcel. I haven't heard from Ray again and he hasn't had my letter I sent him when I first heard from him out here.
Very much obliged to Stan for his latest. Will mention it in my next, as I can't stop now to do it. I also got a letter from Percy yesterday causing a complete collapse by "yer humble" on the barn floor - good thing there was straw on it (The floor not the letter).
Regarding the Commission Business. Did you understand my partially veiled paragraph last time? If not I want Pa to do what he can to get one somewhere. If he gets a Commanding Officer to call for me it's as simple as abc. See. Perhaps Uncle can get that chap he knows if he is at home now. Try please? Never mind the last affair.
I guess I must ring off now and get back up the lane and through the cornfields etc (very pretty country round here especially this time of year).
Ever your very loving boy
If Pa hasn't put that £5 in Farrows yet would he mind taking out some War Bonds (whatever they call 'em) 15/6 for a £1. You know! Don't matter if they are in Farrows. Pa please let me know what you think of the bonds and is it worth putting all mine into. What say you?