In a tent
Sat. Sept 30th 1916
My dearest Mother
I address this letter to you as usual although I'm really writing in answer to Father's long-waited-for epistle.
As you see by the heading we are blessed this time with a tent as a billet. We reached it last evening after a long tramp through the wet and the mud of very trafficy roads. As soon as we were dismissed my chums and I took off our packs and our puttees (to ease our legs) and made tracks for the near bye village, intending to get some eats because our camp supper wouldn't be ready for a couple of hours and after a heavy march two hours is far too long to wait for something to eat and we only wait when we are broke but having received 15 francs (a fortnights pay) quite recently we naturally didn't wait this time.
We reached the village and found a YM or to be correct it was a Church Army Hut, but it had sold out of everything except coffee so we went back to the street, clubbed together (4 of us) and bought the contents of a French shop (or some of them) then retraced our steps to the Hut, obtained some hot coffee and enjoyed a rather elaborate if not substantial meal but the fun we had made up for everything else that lacked. Then we went home, made our bed and had a good read and talk before going to sleep. All that time and all night and even now the noise and din of somebody letting pianos drop downstairs still goes on (understand) the nearer we got the more we hear.
One incident took place yesterday I should like to relate. As we were making for this village we passed a crowd of the ….[censored] and we shouted some complimentary remarks to them and as I passed one fellow I turned and pointed to my chum who hails from Worthing and said "Here's a Worthing guy" to which the fellow said "so am I" so they compared notes and found they knew one another but the strange part was that I happened to speak to one of three in that whole battalion from Worthing because the battalion really comes from the other end of ….[censored]. Very strange wasn't it.
Now for Pa's letter. Let me first thank him for the cash I didn't expect it so soon but it will help me considerably when on these marches as I have related. The letter is a splendid one for it did bring me near home. Believe me. The description of your Canterbury experiences is great but what I enjoyed most was your description of the arrival and reading of two letters of mine. Another thing that considerably tickled me was how old Min orders you about with her - Father, supper please! Just as she always did. I could almost hear her at it. Good old Min.
You speak of Mother reading Gibbs account of a battle on a Friday. Yes, you're right in thinking I was there for I took part in it and you can bet we worked pretty hard that day.
Pa, this is the last page of my pad! Now I must stop to get my hair cut. The weather is lovely today after yesterdays rain and I hope it will stay so for a few more days and that it will be dry up the Line.
With best love
Ever your loving boy,