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Date: July 5th 1919
Thel. [Voluntary Aid Detachment]

V.A.D. France
O.A.S. in France
July 5/19.
Fern dearest,

When I wrote you before I had this trip in mind but as you know there are so many slips and changes nowdays that one can never be sure so I have kept it my secret until now.

It is going to be a bit hard to tell you but in another way it isn’t; because, as you say we always understood. We never had to explain anything and that is why I wanted to do this – not because I knew him but because you cared so and I for you.

Fern dear I have been to Errol’s grave and if it is a comfort to you I am more than happy. It is outside of Poperinghe – a little Belgian village – and beautifully taken care of. I must see you when I go back to tell you all about it.

We motored out to it, about ½ way to Ypres and pulled up at a raised piece of ground on the right. After climbing a bank we stood facing the cemetery and had a view of some 4000 graves. I can quite easily say it is one of the largest and certainly by far the best kept in either France or Belgium. Everything laid out in plots and numbered so we had no difficulty in getting a workman to find it. We walked[?] down between the plots among all the flower beds to [?] on the right and about ½ way down we found his name on a lovely oak cross.

   [Postscript] awfully sorry about the [ink] blot but I carried this in my pocket in a mad ride over Vimy Ridge.

On it was his name, Batt. and Div. Oh Fern dear it was lovely and they died so hard. Their lives were dearly sold to hold the land they now rest in and the land we live in and the glory of it will always last. I felt you so close when I was there, but I know dearest that you would have been much braver than I was. You have been all along, and may this help to comfort you just a little. I took 2 pictures which, on account of the dull, rainy morning and being taken under a tree over the graves, may not turn out well. In that case I have made arrangements with an Australian Capt. to get some really clear ones for you and these I will send as soon as I receive them.

As I say they have planted many flowers and there are many more to be planted – Roses. If you want artificial, cased ones sent out I can easily make arrangements with the same Capt. and he will take it out. He has been out once already to see the time it is best to take pictures.

We are sitting in the back of the Y.M.C.A. writing this.

The ruin, destruction, filth and dirt is awful. We have been to: Cologne, Hazelbroucke, Poperinghe, Ypres, Zeebrugge, Brugge, Blankenberghe, Lille, Arras, Vimy, Lens, and now Cambrai. We have been to Kemmel Hill-Mont. St. Eloy and Shrapnel Corner.

My dearest love and I can’t write more as – hadn’t time to finish as the officer came in an army box car and we mototed 2½ hours back to Arras. Lens is the worst place of all – we broke down there and everything is so filthy – no one house standing and black from head to feet. Nothing but a basin to wash in and call water. I could take a knife and scrape the dirt [from] me.

Oh Fern pet if I could only tell you all this in a different way but I am happy just writing you to tell you of it.

A big kiss and I am thinking of you more often than you know and certainly more often than I write.

Good-bye for this time and I hope you are happy in your new work.


Original Scans

Original Scans