In a dugout.
Sat. Dec 9th 1916
My dearest Mother
Received tonight your beautiful letter and feel bound to answer it and thank you for it right away. I am sitting by our fire and my chums are abed and as I'm going on the gun in an hour's time to do my shift I decided to write, rather than go to bed myself. It's a horribly wet night and as slippery as it can be but luckily I shall be under cover so don't worry whether the weather is watery or otherwise.
Glad you received the brooches all right and Min will be getting one in time. Glad to hear the one met with Ena's approval. Bye the way where does Stan kiss her now?
I was delighted to get Minnie's letter last night and wish I had time for a personal reply but it can't be did at present.
Oh! These trenches!! My heart nearly met my palate just then for such a bump broke the stillness as the top of the trench transported its dirty self to the bottom - more shovelling tomorrow for us.
I'll do my best to keep my Xmas parcel for the day but I'll tell you what you might do to that, is despatch another the day after Xmas.
Talking of parcels reminded me of Aunt Lil's which I received yesterday. Let me describe but don't laugh! This identical brown paper parcel (in other words a parcel of brown paper) was handed to me and I commenced operations on it: -
No1-wrapper came off.
No2-wrapper, necessary string and address came off.
No3-wrapper, string and address also low and behold a cardboard box. Removed string and lid and behold some paper bags used as packing. Removed them (dugout at this stage reminded one of the packing rooms of 187 W. Grove at the busy season-due respects of course). The said packing removed I behold a series of small packages. The first contained one mince pie-the second a similar institution or misconception or something, a third likewise and a forth all in their paper bags and allocated crevices. Then came a surprise-a packet of Edwards D. soup-then another. The next unwrapped wrapper revealed a baby tin of café-au-lait and then came a similar one of coca-au-lait, a cake now came to light from under a paper blanket to protect it from the channel was a poor lonely tin of oxo cubes. How my heart went to them! Poor cubes!
Here! I must stop or I shall never get another parcel from Norwich or anywhere else, but joking aside t'was a glorious parcel as far as it went and every part of it arrived safely and intact (no inpaper) and that in itself has and still does serve us nobly by lighting our …….
[Remaining page/s of letter missing.]