My dear Mother
Very many thanks for your letter of the 20th. I suppose the new plot is at New Anzac on Sea which I have seen advertised. Congratulations on winning it though they will probably start dunning you to build a house on it & then come down on you for drains & making up the roads. However you may be able to sell it or they might swop it for a plot of the same size in Bond St. which would really be worth something. I am very glad to hear Miss Waldie is calling, as I don’t think she has any friends in the country & I thought from her letters that she was rather stranded. I have been able to tell her nothing about her brother & can get no information anywhere. He was a very good chap & I should very much like to hear that he is all right, but I’m afraid the chances are against him now. We have got another new subaltern arrived to-day, which makes our normal strength well over what it should be, but there are so many of them away on odd jobs in the Brigade & Division that we are sometimes hard put to it to find them & a few more are consequently not unwelcome. They have to-day started selling whiskey in the Poperinghe Canteen which is a blessing to a mess president as we have always had to get it from Havre before, & it never arrived when wanted So we have had to fall back on the local water which has a distinct taste of its own & has to be disguised in tea or cocoa or cafe au lait.
Please thank Cecily for a London Opinion & Passing show arrived to-day. It looks from to-days papers as though the aeroplane I saw come down two days ago was one of ours as I see the Huns claim one as coming down behind our lines on the Yser. I notice that the Belgians do not call Wipers Ypres but Yper. Anyhow that is the name on the Station Platform board. Perhaps Ypres is French & Yper Flemish. I have seen direction posts pointing to Yper-Ypers & as they do most of their notices in both languages this may be the explanation. Both sides nowadays seem to spend their ingenuity in playing tricks on the other. Up here somewhere the other day we loosed off a lot of smoke to make the Huns think it was gas, which they did & accordingly manned all their trenches & then we turned all the guns we’d got on to them. & then they started strafing one of our trenches & when they had gone on for a long time they sent out a patrol to have a look to see whether we had taken our men away & the patrol found that we hadn’t & got sappered. The G. O. C. I’m told was very sick that they didn’t collar them, as they want to find out who is opposite us, but it is none too easy as the ground between the trenches is a mass of shell craters & mud & you can hardly get along outside the front of the trenches. I shall be busy to-morrow so may not write & will send my next from my little rabbit hutch.