12th December 1917
Thanks for your letter of the 7th inst. enquiring about Syd. I would have written to tell you only I had mislaid your address.
Syd was killed by a shell which landed in his shelter a direct hit.
He went in in charge of 10 Platoons gun. Duncan was left out. I suppose you know he is a full corporal now. The crew had just made some cocoa and were settling down to try and sleep and it seems that it was the first shell that came over in that vicinity. All the crew were knocked out except Roberts and Howie, most likely you know them. Howie was wounded and little Roberts was so shaken up that Hepworth sent him out. I thought you knew that I took down my stripe to get into seven section with Syd. There were three lance jacks in the section as it was but any way I had no intention of keeping it up when I was sent back to a strange battalion.
In September the battalion scouts called for me so I left the company and in Belgium only a certain number were sent in so I was due to be left out. Pretty lucky eh? Boyd and I were up as far as Brigade taking a man in as we [?] a stretcher party which took both hands and every available man round camp. Percy Spaulding is on leave now. I think he has lost your address but you may see him. So both Macleans are in the "home" with you. Has "Andy" been presented with his maconachie medal yet. Do you happen to know what the classification B III means now. Plenty of P.F. most likely or will you come out to the [?].
I am very sorry to hear that Bob Brown was killed He was under age wasn't he. Of course I knew Morrison I took the stretcher party out to our dressing station. Well I do hope you have as nice a sick furlough as I had. Don't you be to eager to get away on leave though before you are strong enough. There is always plenty of time.
The last letter I had from home mother said that the doctor at the coast was confident of a cure with your mother this time. I hope he is successful.
Will old socks remember me to Andy and Will and Pud if you see him again and be good to yourself. Norman is Squadron Commander now with the rank of Capt. now at Yatesburg Surrey in command of a training squadron some swank eh!