4 “THE O-PIP”
OH SANTY DO BE CAREFUL.
One of the boys of the battery has requested space in the "O-Pip to send an open letter to Santa Claus, a letter which contains a note of warning and precaution, so that the old boy may reach the guns safely. Here it is:
"Dear old Father Christmas, —
“We’re in a rather punk hole this Christmas, and as we don’t wish you to figure in the casualty list we’re sending you a few little pointers. For goodness sake don’t forget your tin-lid and box-respirator, as they may be your best friends. Inspect your respirator and don’t forget to put the anti-diming solution on the eye-pieces. And then you want to have your P.-H. helmet slung over your right shoulder in case a piece of shrapnel goes through the mask of your respirator, and if you have to make the change hold your breath or there’ll be no more Father Christmas. If you have a pull with any of the quarter blokes try and get a big tin-lid, as these we get feel so small when an H.E. bursts overhead. And don’t forget to put the strap of your lid at the back of your head, because if you have it under your chin and you suddenly hit a low telephone wire, you’ll be napooed for sure.
“Now with your reindeer. We’ve cut out six horse teams, and only bring up four. Be sure you’ve got a good breakie, and don’t let any one rid on your ’bus, or the traffic men will pinch you, and then there’ll be a court-martial, and probably some No.1. F.P. Don’t forget the gas-masks for the reindeer, because this gas is hard on the wind. As you’ll be on a ceremonial parade for the love of mike, see that you have all buckles on the off reindeer on the off-side, as some of our No.1’s are such gossipers.
“You’ve got a bad road to slip over. You come up a straight road that follows the narrow gauge railway, and when you come to a building with one wall left, labelled Kootenay Hotel, you’ll know its time to turn somewhere ’cause Fritz is usually dropping over some- thing or another. This place is also known as Dead Horse Comer, as that’s where we buried some of the horses. Well you turn to your left here, and it won’t be long before you see a sign “Whizz Bang Corner.” That’s another place to be careful, ’cause there’s lots of little things with musical tunes flying around. Don’t stop under the bridge, ’cause there’s 20,000 rounds of ammunition kicking around there. Keep right on. When you come to another comer turn to your right, not to your left, ’cause that’s where we got shot up one night. Finally you’ll reach a place that looks like a tumble-down brick pile. Well, that’s where our Staff lives. Don’t leave any- thing there, follow a path over a few piles of lumber and bricks, and you’ll see the gas sentry, if he’s not asleep. He’ll put you wise to where we all sleep. You won’t be able to pull that down—the chimney stuff here ’cause there arn’t any chimneys. The back door is always open, though, except when there’s a gas attack on.
[Handwritten notes were added to margins: “All horses are provided with gas masks. Same as our own except that there is no mouth piece,” and (pointing to the final paragraph) “This is au comet, it’s funny the censor allowed it to go through”]