My dear Father,
Very many thanks for a large parcel of comestibles which I have opened to-day including a very good cake & some tinned things. As you have asked the question I think this sort of thing is better than potted meats & tinned sausages are very welcome.
Nothing much doing to-day except more rain & a south easterly wind though they have been out for a little drill & route march. I had a look round our Brigade Institute to-day & it is beginning to go very well. They have started a coffee bar there & they’ve got a piano, so really there is very little they can want. They are also thinking of starting a Divisional band, but I can hardly imagine that it will be much of a success, as I imagine that what instruments the various regiments have got are probably in different keys. Possibly however they mean to torture the Huns with it.
We have been trying to get the sappers to come along & test the water in our trenches, as if it is drinkable it will save a lot of labour in carrying water & the water will not be half petrol, but we hear to-day that they may get it done in 3 months time, so we shall have to risk it.
As it drains directly out of the Bosch trench, Lord only knows what is in it, but I presume we shall find out from experience.
I fear my news is drying up & there is no guide book to the trenches from which I can quote. My trouble now is that as 2nd in command to a C. O. who likes to run his own show, there is very little to do & my life at present consists mostly of mud & meals with intervals of sleep to recover from an exhausting day of doing nothing. I have heard it said that life out here consists of long periods of absolute boredom with short intervals of paralyzing terror & I am beginning with the first condition now. I must get the C. O. to allot me some definite job.
Love to all
Boredom. It seems like such a strange concept when we think of war, but it was one of the most common feelings men had in and out of the trenches. Daily military life – outside of combat – was boring. It was definitely not ‘something different every day’, but instead, the same types of tasks, the same food, the same complaints from your comrades, the same smells of the men around, and the same blisters from the same boots and socks.
my life at present consists mostly of mud & meals with intervals of sleep to recover from an exhausting day of doing nothing. I have heard it said that life out here consists of long periods of absolute boredom with short intervals of paralyzing terror & I am beginning with the first condition now.
Parcels from home helped, as Peirs indicates. Tea and the rum ration helped. Smoking and banter helped. Oftentimes, even action was looked forward to because it broke the dull routine, it gave purpose to being in the trenches. But action was a rarity and instead, men had to endure and survive the inaction of service abroad for most days in the line.