Somewhere in France
25 Oct. 1916
Dear Sister & Brother
Your letter safely arrived a few days ago. The reason why I have not answered sooner is much marching. The letter promised one from Ernest soon. It has not arrived sorry to say. I remember I was in some outlandish place, under shell fire when I got your letter, right up where if it had met with ill luck it might have been blown to bits. Such things happen often in story but I believe seldom in fact. I can’t remember where I was in the last letters news so I shall not bother you with my experiences in the war at least. The march to this place is great. For some days it was up early, pack kit and off for a ten mile tramp to some other place you knew not where till you dragged your aching feet into it at night then you had to go some to get your tongue around the name, supper and delightfully tired we would get with a blanket a corner of the barn filled with straw, and sleep - none like it. Like this for days - going we know not where and really it did not matter for it was to be quiet. And quiet it is. We occasionally ask ourselves if war is going on here. We are living in fine dug-outs, clean with pure air and water. Perhaps the best place we have hit since coming to France. The rats are most friendly and promise to disturb our peace more than the Germans.
Here the weather is surprisingly cool, ice and frost occasionally so that a fire feels good. One must cover up all light at night or a German might put it out with a big explosive shell big enough to blow up Saint Mary’s cathedral. He shot at a party of us harmless wounded carriers one day with such like things and put much fear into us but nothing worse. Likely he thought we were real soldiers. You know we are not real soldiers for we do no fighting. Our job is to collect the pieces, English or German. I have worked hard no few hours carrying one end of a burly Hun. But I don’t like being shot at I assure you. I know now how the squirrel used to feel when I went out with that shot gun.
I hope all is well with everybody. To enquiring friends report that I am fine.
We have been requested to write short letters.