B. E. F.
My dear Glad,
Many thanks for letters to-day from Mother Odd & yourself. I am v. doubtful about getting home by the 19th as all leave seems to be stopped, but there may be a chance.
We have moved camps to-day about a mile & come to a beastly spot, where there is no furniture or tent boards & nothing to sit on & the men have only got small huts with corrugated tin roofs which are as hot as the flames below. What on earth previous occupants have been doing in not improving the place the Lord only knows & we have got to set to work & see what we can do. There is one of our balloons very nearly overhead & I hope the Bosch doesn’t come over & do to it what we did to his last week. I can’t say what it was but we saw from our billets 3 Bosch balloons descending simultaneously in flames & a fourth being hauled down for all it was worth & that burst into flames before reaching the ground. They strafed them all
up & down the front at about the same time & now the old Hun has no balloons so he cant see where he is shelling nearly so well & our balloons are still in full habit so to speak & look ready to burst with pride.
2nd 7. 1916.
A lovely day & I have been looking round some trenches near here which we would go to if the Bosch started attacking near here. Incidentally I got a fine view of Wipers & district & didn’t notice much difference in Wipers itself though the country looks better in summer dress. I lied about the balloons, as the Bosch has found one to send up, but only one & that is a long way from here A Bosch plane has just been over & chased home again. It was very high up & must have seen nothing. I notice the Bosch Balloon is very low down, so they will be able to
pull it in at once if necessary. Our own above also seems a bit nervous & came down directly the aeroplane came in sight.
Please thank Father & Mother for letters to-day & ditto yourself for a cake from [illegible] which arrived quite all right. We have got some chairs out of an estaminet & are more comfortable in the mess.
I hear to-day that we have made a good advance down south & quite accordingly to plans I suppose they won’t try to rush ahead as they did at Loos but take things quietly. There was a terrific bombardment last night but nothing unusual these times, as all these little raids are accompanied by a lot of gunfire & sound much more impressive that the results would show. One of the prisoners got by the Anzacs on the night we got
over was very bored with life. Apparently he had not heard of the Jutland fight & didn’t wish to know anything about it & was frankly tired of the whole thing.
There was quite a good scene after our little raid about 5.30 a. m with me & the Brigade Major & 2 of our officers in a dug out with a prisoner sitting in a bed drinking a whiskey & soda & eating a biscuit, while we were pumping him for all we were worth with the aid of an interpreter, a private in the regiment who I suspect as being a Hun, but is quite a good chap. This is quite illegal as all prisoners have to be set back at once to be pumped by the staff behind. However they never tell us all we
want to know so we have to find out for ourselves. Please thank Father for his list of office heroes! – & put it away somewhere for me, for which purpose I return it – with a few more Bosch coins for the family in general – all off a prisoner. I took some out of his purse & put in some French money instead, as it will be so much more useful to him & they haven’t got buttons enough to go round.
Thank everyone for their recent books of which I have a collection unread at the moment as I haven’t had any time. However I shall be able to get on with them now.
Love to all
(dated June 1916)