Somewhere in France
13 July 1916
My Dear Brother & Sister
A letter to Amos last night concerning my trunk reminds me that I have not written to you in many days. Truly the letter from you would never have reminded me for you have only written once since I came here. Now just stop and think. Do you think that is enough to your soldier brother? Are you accustomed to write to people who will not write to you? Of course I know something about all that rain that would not let you get your fields in. You are pretty busy likely but ________. Well there simply is no excuse.
Just forget when I wrote you last, before the big scrap around the first of June? I’m not going to tell you what kind of a time I had, how I enjoyed the shell fire, carrying wounded and dying men and the rest of it. Did you used to be able to run faster than I? If so we shall try it over again when we get back. Oh no I did not try and run out of the battle for what would have been the good of that when to run two miles away might have landed you in a place where a shell would catch you and send you – how high- well it wouldn’t really matter. We were in some most comfortable holes in the side of a hill away from the front lines. I know now why a squirrel has such a deep love for a hole in the stones when the dogs and men are around. Our holes resemble those of the squirrels and wood chucks enlarged but never was I so glad to get into a house from thunderstorm rain or cold as I was to get into these. Now and then a wounded chap would come in from the front lines perhaps less than a mile away and we, four of us, had to carry him on over a field, through a woods and along a road nearly a mile under that hideous song of the shells , British and German, going on overhead. Now and then they would come pretty close or coming back over a path where you had passed a few moments before you found a brand new shell hole large enough to bury a cow in. Well you were very, very glad you were not just near to see how quickly that hole was made. Oh, I have seen them made alright, a whistle as of the wind in the telegraph wires and you see the earth fly up over there over forty feet high with black smoke then the terrific “bang”. If you pass that way later you will find a hole from six feet to thirty across perhaps too you can pick up a bit of that soft metal which forms the nose of the shell. I had a ring made up of one of these pieces picked up while I was in Ypres. Got it made then later sent it home. I think Nellie has it now.
Think I shall send you a picture of myself taken a month ago just after I had come back from the scrape. The four of us who work together on one stretcher. Those are iron helmets - will stop quite a bullet or piece of shell. Perhaps you will be glad to get it. I might send Malcolm one but I have not heard of him answering my wife’s letter in which she sent our picture. I am fearfully sore about it.
I tried to find Alice’s brother-in-law out here but the address reached me a month too late. Can’t get any news of him later that June 2 when he was in the front lines. I fear that Harry Potter is no more. He is reported missing. Alice has written me each Sunday of late.
Harley Stewart is buried about fifteen miles from where I am now. Nellie got the information from Mrs. Stewart. I tried to get a wheel to go to see it but I could not so far.
Now write me wont you.