My dear Family,
This should reach you about Xmas and I wish you all as good a time as is possible in the circs. Unfortunately I shall not be there to shed the light of my countenance at the festive board & in the ordinary course will be in the front line at the time, but I daresay we shall imagine to amuse ourselves & it should be a busy day as everyone gets very nervous in case the other people are going to do the dirty on them & our staff seem anxious that the events of Xmas 1914 shall not be repeated & Football Matches Briton v. Bosch in No Mans Land are taboo. Also photographing parties, such as Bairnsfather mentions in his book. Officially of course there are No Cameras in the Army, though
I have heard it hinted that this order is not always obeyed. Many thanks for letters, 2 cakes & eatables, papers, a Book more cigars – in fact every thing that the heart of man desires. We are out of the line & the C.O. is back, so the normal regime continues so far as I am concerned. I am going back to-morrow to seek a dentist as I have lost a stopping, which needs to be replaced. I am sorry C. had such a rotten time at her concert. It will make her think twice before she goes again, I fancy. The weather is cold & there is frost about, but the previous occupants have managed to start a fireplace in my dug out & ^as we are now buying
coal to supplement the daily rotation we manage to carry on all right. It is very clear to-day, consequently the aeroplanes are busy & our guns have done a lot of shooting, which has stirred up the Bosch & he now seems inclined to retaliate on us. Luckily he has not got much ammunition so he can’t do much. I have now developed into a kind of Battalion Banker, as so much money has been lost by Coy. Officers owing to their being in the line, that I keep it all & it is nothing for me to be wandering round with 7000 francs on my person & more in the valise. The first day I had it I lost 490 francs, but recovered it
eventually, as I had been doling out 20 franc notes as though they were only 10 francs. At present I have only lost 15 francs, but expect someone to come along with that soon. I enclose Xmas presents for the Olive branches ^£5 each I don’t know what to get for the parent stem yet but will see what can be done.
Love to all
P. S. The cigars are excellent. I get a book from Hatchards weekly, in fact I have several on hand at the moment as I was rather busy last week.