Dearest People at Home
It is over a week since I wrote you last. At the time I was on a Musketry Course where nothing happened. Since then I have returned to the trenches where we have had a fairly quiet time of it. Other than a big gas attack we pushed over ol Heiner & a fake barrage he pulled on us and a few working parties it has been one continuous case of sleep and eat. But I have not felt like writing letters. The air in our dug out is especially vile and since the weather is very warm and dry you will understand that we can consume a very great deal of both sleep and food.
Just in the last few days we have been receiving news of the German Offensive. It is over the same ground as that over which the Battle of the Somme was fought and many of the places mentioned are well known to all of us. But you will have all the news in the papers by now. To say the least the fighting is very strenuous.
Never yet have I seen such desolation as there is about here. For mile after mile the country is dotted with ruined villages and cities. everything from Cathedrals to chicken houses absolutely laid waste. Its absolutely impossible to describe it. Try to imagine our two cities burnt to the ground the lower stories of each building standing if at all in jagged outlines of brick mortar, ragged & torn timbers and wrenched steel frames, streets torn up or pitted with all kinds of shell holes forlorn stumps or roots of trees and scrappy lines of hedges.
Just at present we have no idea as to where we go or what we do after this. But my mind is made up. I cannot stand this kind of raw existence. I still have the old complaint dogging me. Hardly had I returned to the Battalion but he reappeared. So its no use trying to carry on here. If I do there is bound to be trouble. There is only one thing left to be done now transfer to some other service. I shall let you know in good time.
Col Saummas seems very pale - quite distressed I should say. It is very hard luck for he made a great success of commanding the Battalion and proved immensely popular with everyone. I know he quite won my heart before I had been here a few days. I think I shall have a talk with him & get him to advise me.
Last night I got your letter Mother Dear and two from Ethel. Its just fine the way you keep on writing me though I find it hard to write you in return. Not that I do not like to - its like talking to you all again - Please God I may come back to try to be better than I was before.
I'll write Mrs Matthews if I get a chance. Its awfully funny your letter was returned. The last one I addressed I had the same difficulty of desciphering the street names so wrote it as a facsimile "Terms". Your news of Uncle Jolins death is quite news. What ever happened. Surely he is younger than Dad.
Its too bad about Ruby's Baby. He is such a fine dear little chap.
By this time you very probably have had my letters explaining my return to France. I would not have come had there been any other path but it was surrounded by such peculiar circumstances that it would have looked like welching. As it is I fear I shall never get back my majority.
Yes indeed Bruce MacTavish & his wife were perfectly lovely to me. I shall never forget how kind they were.
I just got another letter from Hamilton Graham. He was still in Wales but gets some leave then comes to France with the 8th London Regiment. His address will be Mr. J.A. Allan, Don House, Woodside Aberdeen. Apparently by the time he gets out here the war will be almost over.
The next time you see Mrs. Enouy & family give them my compliments. Its too bad I have never written them but I have not had time.
So far I have received all the parcels you have sent me and have written you about them all.
Tommy Aitchison is back here as Quarter Master. He's all right in many ways but absolutely a politician.
Its rather a joke about Ruby Mother & Aunt Amie in their elections.
Hard luck better try again.
Remember me to F Grant W.S.B. HRDH, Billy Brower & wife and Fletcher & Annie & all the rest of them.
We have been out for 24 hours & go back tonight.
This may be good Bye. I hope not but one never can tell.
God Bless you all and Keep you
Your Loving Son & Brother