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Date: March 13th 1917
Shorey Neville

235006, Nov. 4 Coy,
18th Reserve Batt'n.
Army P.O., London,
(Seaford, Sussex)
March 13/17

Dear May,

We may be out of quarantine a week from tomorrow. It is the nearest we have been to it, but we are not at all sure of it. If we do get away and rejoin the battalion it will mean France in a fortnight, the trenches two weeks later, or about the middle of April. That is if there are any trenches left. it is the opinion of lately returned officers that the artillery in use will soon render trenches untenable, and open warfare will result. I hope it will be advancing. It must be about the worst to hold ground without any movement.

I was away inland Sunday afternoon, and found lots of snowdrops. spring is coming on rapidly, and I'll see it all now. That was what I was hoping for.

You are having a lot of privileges these days. Everybody is on rations here, and the civilian bread ration is not much more than half ours. Besides that, we have all the potatoes we can eat, while the rest of the people can hardly obtain them at all, and then only by lining up daily.

Every morning we see a traction engine come up the road with a truck-load of beer for the canteens. I will quote a few figures from a late publication of the "Strength of Britain Movement", which may interest you:

Direct and indirect expenditures for drink - 1,000,000,000 pounds.

Losses of time during 900 days of war - 100 days.

Shipping used for transport of run, malting grains, etc., 200,000,000 cu. ft..

Railroads - 100,000 trains of 200 tons each.

Land cropped for brewage 1,000,000 acres.

Food destroyed by brewing and distilling; enough to feed the nation three months or the army and navy all the time.

Britain grows 1/6th of its total food supply.

Land used for growing hops each year: enough to supply grain for one day in six, that is, as much as is cropped with cereals in the Island.

We just went to the door to see five aeroplanes pass overhead, full speed for somewhere. One day three dirigibles and a plane were patrolling the coast. Stirring times!