My dear Father,
Many thanks for Sunday’s letter which arrived last night, also for one from Cecily & Mother, also for a Bystander. I expect someone has sent me a cap by now, but in the event of my letter having missed you will someone please send me a service cap without a sunshield & moderately stiff. but not floppy. I have a cap badge. My own cap I burnt in a candle the other day & it is now distinctly disheveled.
A rather cold & moist day here. not actually raining, but doing its best to do so. It is all very quiet except for the usual artillery strafe which is normal & I think things have gone back to their usual state for the time.
Rather curiously there was an aeroplane messing about at 3 a. m. this morning. It was a brilliant moonlight night & I suppose it thought it might pick up some information. It just dropped a few lights & then disappeared & I don’t know whose it was our own or the Hun.
I am very glad to hear about the pram’s injuries that the defects were not very serious. I had imagined that it was much worse & that the bearings & such like things had seized. I am sorry she is continuing to give trouble, but that is very likely because the Oxted motor man had put her together badly. I take it that he was to blame because the gear rods went wrong & I know there used to be 8 nuts on the gear box or is it 6 anyhow the full number & he has probably collared them. I am very glad you didn’t have to change the wheel yourself when you got a puncture, as it is a hand skinning job & I haven’t got the proper tool to do it. One really wants a long tool, a box spanner, to get at the nuts inside & there isn’t one. with that, which should be quite easy to get, & the jack there ought to be no difficulty.
The latest return which the authorities are now calling for is to the rats in the trenches. This has caused some little joy in our otherwise monotonous existence.
Of course the rats are innumerable & of all sorts as described in the Pied Piper & how we are to tell if they increase or diminish is more than I can say. Their name is legion & really I don’t mind them so long as I don’t tread on them & I expect they do a lot of good as they should be useful as scavengers. The other fauna of the trenches consist chiefly of cats, which I suppose used to belong to the cottages that were about the place, an occasional mouse & all sorts & conditions of birds.
We have just had sent us a large .450 elephant gun with which to strafe the Hun. His snipers here fire from behind loopholes & are constantly rather hard to cope with, as when he has fired he shuts up his loophole & defies you. However a .450 bullet doesn’t care a hang for loopholes & goes straight through whether closed or open, so we have strafed all the loopholes we can see & they haven’t fired a shot since.
Our snipers are pretty useful & we often find that they have a lot of good targets on the first day we are in, but after that they can do nothing as the Bosch doesn’t make himself very evident, which is all the better for us but rather dull for the snipers. Of course sniping can now be nothing to what it was, as they can’t get behind our lines as they used to, and all the high points houses & trees & such like from which they might fire behind their own lines, are blown to bits.
I don’t expect that I shall be able to send off a letter to-morrow but will write the next day
I hope you get news of Glad. soon
Love to all