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Date: November 18th 1916
Beulah Bahnsen (wife)
Ralph Watson

18 November, ’16.

Today broke bitterly cold — real Canuck weather with some snow. Luckily we have those sleeveless leather coats which turn the wind fine.

Another fellow and I thought we would like to find the 29th layout this A.M. Well, we walked I bet ten miles over hill and dale. Once we hit a village which had been all shelled to pieces. The big chateau was uninhabited and looked most desolate, all broken pieces, with the bell rope at the big entrance gates hanging swinging in the wind, and holes in the roof, the lovely gardens all weeds — a lovely place utterly ruined. Eventually we found the boys camped in a little wood. It was the first camp of its kind I had seen, and the first impression I had was a lumber camp—long, low, brown bunk houses, cook houses, almost exactly the same. The bunk houses are built with earth floor, on either side rows of rather flimsy bunks. Wire netting forms the mattress. At either end were a couple of braziers going. They were very dark — most every bunk had a candle stuck on the side. The boys were all as cheerful as a bunch could be. They say it is regular home after the Somme. They were out of the trenches two days, only sustaining two casualties, those being two reinforcements whose curiosity made them want to look over the top.

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