My dear Father,
Very many thanks for your letter & the watch which arrived by the same post. A new watch in exchange of the other is distinctly luxurious. not that the other wasn’t as good as one could want till it went wrong. I will do exactly as G. wishes about changing them. I am afraid the original one is rather scratched, but so will this one be by the time she gets it & I doubt if there will be a pin to choose between them by the time the other is repaired, & it will save trouble if I stick to this. I am quite sure these are the best watches going, as I notice that everyone else buys those protectors which are advertised, or are constantly breaking the glass. I had no time to write yesterday, as I spent the day in showing various people round the line. We came in two nights ago. To-day I am going to try & fix up a new Headquarters in some old dug outs belonging to the Battalion next door. They cleared out a few days ago, as they thought them unhealthy, the Bosch having dropped a few crumps near by but I am pretty sure that he was aiming at a new support trench of ours, which has been recently built quite near by & which evidently looked too young & innocent to please the Bosch, so he strafed it & pretty successfully too. The last 2 days have been very warm & springlike & life in a dugout is quite pleasant. Yesterday was cloudy but to-day is bright & the aeroplanes are strafing away overhead. One of ours came down behind here just now, I suspect because of engine trouble, as it came down very slowly, but every machine gun in the Hun trenches was turned on to it & the wretched airman must have had a poor time. Two Hun aeroplanes are overhead, looking for him I suppose & when found they will set to work on him with shrapnel & whizz-bangs. I was interested to hear that you had the chance of going for the Conscientious Objectors, as it would have been rather fun.
The C. O. suggests that they should be formed into wiring parties, to go out in front of the line & make up the barbed wire. They wouldn’t want arms, as there would be a covering party in front & nothing could be more in the course of peace than to put obstacles between 2 parties who are supposed to be most anxious to get at each other. Incidentally they would discover something about the beloved Prussian & possibly stop a bullet or two intended for the better men behind.
There is no more news about leave & I have no idea when it is to begin again. One can’t see any reason for it at the moment & it may be that the C. in C. doesn’t think that warfare & leave are compatible & consequently that there won’t be any more.
Love to all