B. E. F.
24. 1. 1916.
My dear Cecily,
Many thanks for yours dated Monday Jan. 13th. So far as I know Monday was not the 13th. so I don’t know whether it has taken a week or more to get here. but it is about your & Fathers drive to Epsom in the go-cart. Many thanks for a book from you & a London Opinion & Passing Show which I got 2 days ago. We came up yesterday & I thought I should be back in the ramparts of Wipers, but the C. O. turned up last night, so I have come up to our forward headquarters, which consist of 3 or 4 fairly respectable but undoubtedly moist dug outs, where I dwell in state with the Signalling officer, a Gunner Observation Officer & their menials. We are rather off the track & everyone is strictly forbidden to move about near by or to come in to the place by day or the wily Hun will inevitably spot us & then we shall be crumped out of it. They landed a whizz bang on top of one of the dugouts yesterday, but did no harm & I am in the dug out at the moment. I am within a few yards of the Menin Road, which Ted Bourchier used to talk such a lot about, but which cannot be really so bad, as the trees each side are still standing. I don’t fancy using it more than necessary as they play machine guns on it at odd intervals. Hell fire corner which I have already told you is about 300 yards off. Our trenches are shewn on the map as being in — Wood, & I went round last night expecting a moonlight stroll through the sylvan glades, with the nightingales warbling around, but in reality the place is as open as the palm of your hand, the wood having ceased to exist.
The place is in a most awful state, as it has been fought over endless times & is full of crump holes & old trenches & German wire & a few mine craters & is really nothing less than a rubbish heap with a few trenches which we occupy built up among the rubbish. They had a tremendous strafing a few days ago & some of the trenches were knocked to bits & we have got to build them up again.
We had a Zeppelin or some sort of Airship over our camp 2 nights ago. I heard the thing but did not realise what it was, so did not go out to look. But it was very high up & could hardly be seen. It dropped some bombs at Poperinghe & another one came over Wipers last night & dropped a bomb or two there. I think we have been doing a little bomb dropping somewhere & this is their retaliation.
Excuse this paper, but it is raining & the dug out roof is hardly waterproof.
Love to all