30. 9. 17.
My dear Father,
I have one or two letters from the girls to acknowledge which I found on getting back. I finished my journey the other night in a car which I managed to get out of the Division having taken a dinner off them first. I had a job to find the Battalion as they were said to be in a village & when I got to the village it wasn’t there & no one was to be seen, it being 11 p. m. However I eventually found a belated Y. M. C. A. bloke in his tent & so found the Battalion.
We came into the line or rather into support the next day where we still are & are taking steps to improve our accommodation which is very bad & draughty & all the shelters will leak like sieves when the rain comes. At present we are having glorious days & chilly nights. I expect you are getting bombed nightly, but such events do not occur here & we almost welcome the sound of a shell as it breaks the silence.
The front line seems very quiet & there is very little doing except for a few trench mortars. We did an attack here some little time ago & collared some ground & things have not quietened down yet, though it is now a picnic compared to our last place. I find the a large number of the Battalion have throats owing to the gassing we were in 3 weeks ago & no doubt mine was the same, though I didn’t jump at the correct reason for it. The C. O. has gone to Brigade while the B. G. C. is on leave. We are living in huts in a quarry & wander about where we like. In the line we live in a deep dugout alongside a main road & on emerging walk up the road to the front line with a bit of trench for the last 300 yards.
There are no signs of strafing except that almost all the trees & villages are down, but the fields between are as they always were, only overgrown with weeds. We can get lots of vegetables for ourselves in the gardens, but the fresh milk & egg question is a difficulty as there are no occupied farms for miles. The A. aircraft people keep chickens as they have little else to do, but they have ceased to lay. Divisional Hqrs. keep their own cow & it would be quite easy for us to do so, but they are difficult to buy. There is an extraordinary sense of space here compared with our last area where the whole country is nothing but camps & transport lines, while you can go for miles here & never
come across a soul.
The sun has set, & our rations will consequently arrive at any moment. they don’t come up by day as it is possible for the Bosch to see the road they might have to use & the Bosch might find a shell or two to chuck at them though personally I believe you could bring an army corps up in broad daylight & not a word said, however they will have to take this letter back, so I cease.
Love to all