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Date: March 11th 1917
Shorey Neville

235006, No. 4 Coy,
18th Reserve Battalion,
Army P.O., London
(Seaford, Sussex).
March 11/17

Dear Niece,

We are enjoying a nice wet English spring, with skylarks, mists, and all complete. Mud up to the eyes, and boots to be polished every day, make it less enjoyable, but still there are compensations.

Last week Aubrey and I walked down the coast, over hard rocks as shingle, and across boulders, to see a wreck under the cliff. She is a big freighter, three or four hundred feet long, and looks no bigger than an old shoe as she lies up against the chalk under the fifth of the "Seven Sisters". I climbed a rope and went aboard, scared a few rats, and brought back a skimmer from the galley as a souvenir. Don't you wish you had been along?

Any chums all left Sunday night for France. The rest of us may all be there inside of a month. I intend to apply for leave as soon as we are released from quarantine, just in case.

There isn't much that you can send me that would be of any use. You see, very soon I will have to condense all my housekeeping arrangements into a space about fifteen inches square and five thick. It is bad enough at present, but when we really get going we will all have to leave a lot of stuff behind.

I must quit now and get ready for church parade. After that I will change my boots and hike for somewhere out of reach of camp, probably inland.

Eastbourne was bombarded last night. The news just came in. Some of us in the hut heard the shots. We feel fairly safe behind Seaford Head, which is three hundred feet in height. Gerry could get us by diagonal fire if they know just where we are, but they would expose themselves to powerful coast defence guns at Newhaven, so it is hardly likely to be attempted.

Well, I found some funny things on my walk. Some newly plowed fields, a yard-full of snowdrops, the first pretty girl I've seen in England; and then I had tea with the rector of Alfriston, some five miles inland along the Cuxmere.

Good luck, and a happy Easter.