(I guess) 29 July, ’17.
We are on the eve of the most terrific thing in history. Our Batt’n has a most difficult part to play: as each hill is occupied, we will have to take and hold the trench. There will be German trenches which of course will receive very bad shelling. All the time, we shall be carrying supplies up to the firing line — which, in cases like this when an operation is on, is done in broad daylight without cover. The whole operation is going to be terrific, so big, in fact, that some think it will even end the war this year. I’m not saying all this without thinking. I mean it can’t make you anxious as, by it reaches you, the operations will be either a success or otherwise, and I’ll be either well — or out —
I only wish I could tell you all the details of what I am seeing, and what I know, but that must wait till I’m home. The things happening hourly are so tremendous; the ingenuity, machinery, preparations, all so unbelievably terrific, I couldn’t even put it on paper, if I were allowed.
One thing, I’d hate to be in the German front line today — and on. It is my firm belief that it’s now or never, the turning point of the war.
There’s going to be casualties, and nasty sights, and nerves tried to the limit. I’m nervous — nervous as hell; but I’ll make it alright, I’m sure. I mean I won’t fall down. The rest — is written —.
A complete victory was snatched from us at the Somme, owing to quite unexpected bad weather. At Vimy, on April 9, it was cloudy, rained, snowed, and utterly prevented a very large advance.
Today it has unexpectedly rained, heavily; aeroplane work at a most critical moment is suspended; and roads already in very bad shape.
In all probability, the advance will be held up. The trenches, incidentally, will be hell. . . .
I am keeping up a good heart — trying not to think of anything nasty — mainly hoping. I’ll make a good showing on my job, which I shall try my utmost to do.
Victory will be ours, of course.
My heart and all my soul are yours.
We shall meet again, I know.