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Date: June 22nd 1917

No. 10.

Friday. June. 22nd 1917

P.S. Got your letter of May 11th, in which you announce my getting my degree. Im glad you are sending the Class & Honor lists, I forgot about it. I had thrown away that 20₵ stamp before I got the letter.

Send me a box of Zam Buk.


Dear Mother: -

We’ll I’ve taken another little trip & moved a little nearer the front. We left the school Sunday morning at six & walked about 11 or 12 miles by seven that evening. It was the worst march I ever did, it was so hot. We stopped for a rest about every 20 mins so it wasn’t too bad, but even then, about half way, one fellow got sun struck & was unconscious for an hr. We had a good rest then. Later another got sun struck, tho’ not so bad & two fellows had to fall out, tho’ I think that in the case of one of them it was just pure laziness, a sergeant too, who ought to set a good example. Anyway we got there at last & were quartered in what was once a convent, awfully dirty. However there was a clean yard to sleep in.

We left there next morning & made the rest of our journey, about 8 miles. A lot of lorries passed us on the way, loaded with shells. Also a few, not very many ambulances passed us going the other way. In one of them there was a fellow who had been wounded around the neck, & he had a smile on his face almost a mile wide in anticipation of Blighty.

We got to our batls. transport lines about noon & spent the afternoon there. We left our packs there with anything we didn’t want up the line & then came on to our batl. which was in the reserve line just then. When it is in reserve or support we dig trenches at night or do any other work that needs doing, & then sleep nearly all day. It sure is a great life, everything turned around. The reserve lines are right on the scene of an old scrap & the place sure is cut up with shell holes, especially the old German position.

I was put into B. Coy No. 2 Platoon & the rifle grenade section. Of course tho I’m apt to be changed at any. I didn’t manage to get a dug out that night, so I slept outside. They didn’t have us out working that night. Towards morning some of the fellows went out on a working party & I got one of their dugouts, luckily, because it started to rain about six.

I got a dandy bath next day in a big tank. There is all kinds of water around there. The rest of the time that day I put in in visiting. There are an awful lot of old 196th boys here, of whom I only know a few however. My old friend Oat Waterhouse got here just a few days before I had & got with the S.B section right away, as they needed a S.B., & he knows the work pretty well. Tell Effie that Ivan Johnston is here also the 11th field ambulance is working around here looking after our casualties. Some of the boys have seen Bill Straith & Gordon Anderson & Ed Horman & Bill Woods.

Tuesday night we came out to the support trenches on the way out our guns opened up a pretty heavy fire right beside us, the first heavy firing I had ever heard close up. That night I was out of luck for a dug out again & slept outside & it rained a good part of the night. First I put my ground sheet under me & slept in my great coat. After my coat had got pretty wet tho, I decided that wasn’t the best way, so put the groundsheet over me & kept pretty dry that way. We weren’t on a working party that night either.

Next morning another fellow & I dug out a dug out or funk hole as it is usually called, just a little hole dug in the side of the trench, big enough for one or two persons. We got it deep enough so that our feet only stuck out & wide enough to get in without crowding too much. I had another sleep that afternoon, & at about ten that night we set out to do some digging. Each had a piece 6 X 3 X 4 to dig. That night I got my first introduction to Fritz’s fire. When we were about ¾ thru he started sending over some whiz bangs as they are as they are commonly called – just shrapnel shells. I didn’t realize just how close the first one was, & didn’t know just what it was, but when the second one came along it didn’t take me long to flop into the bottom of the trench. You can hear them about ½ second before they explode & you have plenty of time to flop. However they started coming over so fast that we just stayed down till he quit. Just as we were leaving to go home, he sent over a few gas shells, but they but too far behind to do any damage & besides we had our gas respirators. I slept pretty well when I got home, from about 3 to eight. Then I got some breakfast & went back to bed again till dinner.

Yesterday afternoon we had a lecture on grenades but I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know. Last night we did some more digging & also got shelled again but this time, they weren’t very close. We got home about 3 again & went to bed. The floor of our funk hole slopes down towards the back, but there is a nice ridge at the entrance to keep the water from flowing in. I might just mention that we dug in deeper yesterday so that our feet came right inside. Well last night it rained & the rain blew in over this ridge & when I woke up this morning I found myself laying in water. That was about nine. Well I turned over & woke up again about 12 & got breakfast & dinner together. However with all my sleeping in the wet I haven’t got much of a cold, not nearly as bad as I had in England. You sort to get used to that sort of thing & it doesn’t bother you as it would if you went right at it first go off. I guess we’ll hang a ground sheet in front of the door tonight & then the rain won’t blow in.

We’ll I’ll close,


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