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Date: November 6th 1915
John WIlliam Law

Nov 6 15

My Dear Mother and Father:-

Just a short line this time to let you know I am as well as ever and standing the cold and wet and mind as well as any of the rest of them for we are having most miserable weather indeed. I suppose the winter is setting in now here but for the life of me I cannot figure out what kind of a winter it is. We are too situated in some kind of marsh woods, large and small trees, and there is hardly a tree standing but what has lost a limb with shelling or is scarred in hundreds of places with bullets. A hundred yards or so ahead is the front line trench and in either of these places most of our time is spent.

To give you some idea of how the days and nights are spent and the difficult conditions one can run into from one day to another I am going to describe the change from the front line to this. You remember me telling you about one of the boys we lost. Naturally we were very sore at the time so we decided to wait until the last night we were in the front line trench and give them back some of their own medicine. That came on Halloween. In the morning we started shooting at their parapet five rounds rapid every now and again with our rifles and towards dusk we did a little more of it. This so seldom happens from our side it must have got them nervous and they started to [?] let over about 20 bombs and then got our machine gun going while they sent up star shell after star shell. Things were beginning to liven up a bit and the artillery decided to take a hand in it to and after they had amused themselves for 15 or 20 minutes it put a crimp in our fun for there was nothing more doing that night. Next day we were to be relieved by 12 noon. It poured rain all day and the previous night, after packing out everything to our new position with the exception of the gun which comes last we waited and waited and then we waited some more. It was after dark when we got away and after packing that gun down ¾ mile in and out turning and twisting in some places to your knees in mud and water we got here. Some hitch had occurred and the dugouts we were to occupy were already full by another section so that night we slept in a hole in the ground, nothing to eat since morning and nothing in sight till the following morning. Still raining and soaking the blankets and coats, worse. You never saw such a crew in your life, the language was choice indeed and would have broken any telephone receiver made. There was nothing to it but to build another dugout and with the help of a few of the boys from the other 3 sections who are situated at different points in the woods we find ourselves tonight, 4 days later in a cosy dry dugout with a coke brazier giving off a fine glow and heat in one corner. We have just finished dinner, which we cooked ourselves of fried steak, mashed potatoes with butter and condensed milk in [?], bread, jam, coffee and cake, the cigars which Edna sent have just been passed around one of the fellows is playing a mouth organ and the whole crew is giving vent to their feelings in song and laughter, except for the stray bullet cracking through the trees outside and the artillery amusing themselves in seeing how many times out of four they can hit the Germans trench with their night firing system you would not know there was a war on.

We cook our meals in the front trench just the same and have our dugouts and sleeping time just the same. Although the next trip in will not be pleasant, the recent heavy rains have caved in all but a few of the dugouts and the communicating trenches have caved in to. The Germans line is above our level and they pumped all their water out on us and flooded our line, but its all in the game. And if our level was above theirs we'd have done the same and thought it a good piece of business.

There is not much of importance to related however. The parcel of choclate, coffee and cigarettes arrived, it was very good too. The apples never came and many of the other boys who had apples sent to them didnot receive them.

Joe Dalziel is taking out a commission I believe. They celebrated their 25th anniversary. Aunt Agnes sent me a piece of her wedding cake it was good, also a pair of socks etc.

I haven't written to Aunt Susan for a long time. I don't get very much time to write anyway.

How is Edna. The cigars she sent were excellent. She is a good judge ……….. one pair, Aunt Agnes 1 par and one of the boys gave me another pair. We were issued with rain coats but they were not good, so I threw mine away. I cut about 8" or a foot off my great coat and made a reffer of it. It was impossible to get it dried out so I cut off the wet part and made it lighter. I got a new pair of boots the other day too. My others were wet and I did not want to throw them away too although they were were good, but I had dry feet for a day anyway.

Well mother will close now but will write you soon again.

Your loving son


P.S. Many happy returns to Mary.

I lost my rifle to, but I got another one to take its place if there is anything more I can think of that I lost besides my army knife or the carborundum stone I had to sharpen it with I will let you know in the next letter.

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