My dear Cecily,
Many thanks for another letter from you which arrived last night. I am still here in my little dug-out, a trifle moist but otherwise quite comfortable. It is just 3 pm & I am about to have lunch – our hours in the trenches are always very topsy turvy. One goes round our trenches at night & sleeps by day. I went to bed this morning at 5 am & got up for breakfast at 11:30 am. In our particular case one can only go round at night as half of our trenches you can only reach them as the communication trench has gone & you have to go overland. But I daresay in time the trench will be reclaimed.
There is a fair amount of artillery strafing & aeroplane shooting going on now, but otherwise in the day time things are pretty quiet. I have just been having my dug out bailed out. It is quite a long job to keep the water down below the flow boards. the Primus stove is a great boon here as we can get our meals at any time & I had a very good early meal at 4 am this morning. The C. O. & myself in our solitary state cooking cocoa & milk to help down tongue & bread must have been very edifying.
I had the G. O. C. to call yesterday morning. I let him see I didn’t want him, as we don’t allow more people than possible to come over here in the day time, as they have to come across the open & the Bosch can see them. & he was quite humble. He was very anxious to know whether I had reported a little shelling that was going on a little way on the flank & pointed out that I ought to do so as that Battalions wires might have been cut, but the good man hardly realises that there is shelling going on around here all day & that one would have to be glued to the telephone to report it all. However the good man went up to the Battalion on our right & came in for no end of a strafing. So he went home sadder & wiser. The Battalion aforesaid got a little of their own back in a bombing stunt which was going on at about 3.30 am this morning & which was very effective from a spectacular point of view.
The Hun opposition trench planted a flag in between the lines the night before we came in. The regiment we relieved tried to get it but could not. One of our fellows however got it in last night. It is a little Bosch flag with the Double Eagle in the centre & an inscription has been printed on it evidently by the Bosch who planted it. I have not got a copy of the inscription. but it alludes to Dicke Bertha, which is their polite way of referring to their 17 in gun. Dicke meaning bulging & Bertha Miss Krupp – a delicate allusion to her proportions It also alludes to the 27th inst, which I believe is the Kaiser’s birthday, so I suppose we shall do all we can to strafe them then.
We have been experimenting with pigeons to-day & get our messages back to a town behind & so up to our Brigade very quickly.
Love to all