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Date: July 13th 1917
Beulah Bahnsen (wife)
Ralph Watson

Friday, July, the thirteenth.

My lucky day, you remember; but no letter, no parcel, and figs for tea. My luck must have departed elsewhere, or probably it’s too hot for it to work. Well the Saturday Post was great. After I had read it, I intended writing some more to you, but another distraction came up. Some few hundred yards away is tethered to a traction engine, one of the familiar sausage balloons. Fritz got uneasy about it and actually started shelling it with 6' shrapnel. I guess that doesn’t convey much; but ask some one to describe to you the size of 6' shell. On the way over, it makes a noise like two express trains both blowing their sirens. I never saw a balloon shelled like that with such big stuff before. It must be an expensive business and most difficult work. The two observation officers did not phone down to be hauled in, but stayed right with it till dark, when Fritz quit. Imagine shelling a small object like a balloon in the air, from a distance of ten miles away, and with a naval gun. They must be bugs or have something very important to hide, probably the latter. Usually they employ planes to bring these down. It’s a great sight to see Fritz swoop down vertically at over one hundred and fifty miles an hour, the balloon burst into smoke and flames, and then notice two white mushrooms slowly coming to the ground (the observers in parachutes), that is, if they are quick enough. The whole business takes about twenty seconds, from Fritz appearing at a terrific height to the conflagration.

We haven’t seen any news here for five days. We don’t even know what the Russians are doing, or what is happening anywhere! . . .

As I have said before, when you get wounded, your troubles don’t automatically end — they only just begin. They end when you hit the C.C. Station and a woman gets hold of you.

Kiss little Billie for Dad and tell her to remind poor old forgetful Mummie about her photograph.

Everything here and with me is wonderfully well. I could not be better in health.

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Original Scans