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Date: July 19th 1917

July 19,1917

Dear Folks:

Well here we are again back in billets. We had a pretty stiff trip this time but only a few casualities and with prospects of divisional rest ahead I'm feeling more as it wasn't such a bad old war after all.

I wrote you twice on the way up but one of them was censored pretty stiffly so I never sent it. I as rather careless with my news I was up on the carpet for it so in future I won't have so much to say about what we do or don't do. However we had a fairly hard trip. I was on outpost work most of the time and on patrol the rest. The outposts were safer than anywhere else but it was tiresome work and hard on the nerves especially when its dark. Tom & I got a slight attack of La Grippe and came out the day before the rest of the Coy and it was lucky I guess for they had quite a time getting out. They weren't relieved till late and had to be pretty well on the way before daylight so it required a little speedy walking. Tom & I joined them when they halted for a meal & a few hours sleep and then we came thru' to "here". We aren't in the same billets but near them and in a far better place. Its an admirable place for billets. Rows & rows of big trees with out billets right in among them. This is the prettiest part of the country I've seen and believe me, its certainly pretty -- even got Old Blighty beat I think. A person doesn't realize what a crime it was to shell this country until he has seen it.

We got here last night and today we had a pay and a bath. They have quite a system of baths here. They take in all dirty laundry & give out clean in exchange so any time a fellow wants a change of clothes he goes & rings in on a bath parade. It saves all the trouble of laundry. The only thing is that the socks are often darned & thats "no bon" but you keep me well supplied in socks so I don't draw any. This work is certainly hard on socks.

An talk about being in luck on the mail question -- only got six parcels and twelve letters encluding a register. That was the most appreciated in the bunch and thats saying a whole lot but you see I was getting so far in the hole that I was beginning to worry about the welfare of Brownie & Tom who are my chief sources of wealth, but its jake-a-loo now and it you send about half my allowance every time you get it,I will be O.K. As for the parcels -- well you certainly done some home cooking and don't for a minute think that any canned stuff you send will be wasted for anything at all from home is a treat. The white sox are almost too good to wear. I think I'll keep them to go home with -- and say you can send a bottle of pickles just any time you want to. I hadn't tasted a pickle since I left England and had almost forgotten what they tasted like. They sure go good so if they aren't too hard to pack why send some sometime again.

Just got a letter from Marg dated June 28 so its recess till I read it.---

Well it was quite some letter - sixteen pages of Marg's best . I'll be looking for some more lately about your "doings" when Flora gets there. I'll hardly be able to find McGonzels -- (is that right?) over here as his B'n will most likely come over in drafts and its hard to say what unit they will come to but I have an idea from knowing the place he was recruited at. I can't tell you the system they use but anyway I'll inquire for him & if you get any further work let me know.

It was funny how I ran into Fred Fancher. A bunch of guides came up to take us into the front line last time and as we were relieving his B'n I looked them over to see if I knew any of them. I didn't know Fred was even in France. I never noticed him then until I was coming back from the field kitchen with supper -- my own in my billy tin in one hand and Brownies in the other and having quite a time balancing things. He saw me then and yelled at me so we had supper together. I had quite a chat with him before we marched off. He likes it fine so far but he hasn't been here long enough yet to have the novelty worn off. He hadn't had any mail for quite awhile then but thats the usual thing when a fellow first comes over. The Army P.O. has to locate you first. I expect to see him some of these days and have a talk.

Well there's a lot more I want to say, but this is quite a length and I'll leave a little for material for another letter in the next few days. Give my best to everybody including Mac & Billy