A LAND OF DESOLATION MOSTLY MUD AND SNOW
A member of the Free Press staff is in receipt of the following letter from Sapper Thomas Hart, who has been up at the front line for the greater part of the last two years:
Dear Sir,- Just received your very nice parcel, though delayed in the mail it is none the less welcome. Please convey to the members of the Typographical Union my sincere thanks and that I hope to have the luck to return, when I can thank them in person.
It is nearly two years since I first took part in the front line trenches and have been kept pretty well at it ever since expect for a month I was in hospital from a shrapnel wound. Though I am fed up and disgusted in every way, I must not forget that I have been extremely lucky. If there is such a thing as luck. I have had all kinds of close calls and have been in parties where others have "gone west", but was always amongst the lucky ones to get through. One instance, when two of us were on a ration party, I was the one to get it. Even then I was lucky a fraction of a second either way, or an inch either way, and my name would have been another "In Memorium" on the back pages of the union journal. They say an inch is as good as a mile, but I prefer the mile.
We are in a land of desolation, mostly mud and snow. We are domiciled in dugouts, with running water, seepage water, quite a creek running through the dugout. Mud! If we manage to keep it off the blankets and out of the food we are doing well. We have exceptional strains of livestock, especially in rats and lice. Altogether this trip in Berlin is not what it was cracked up to be.
Fritz is massing very heavy on this front and we are looking for him to make a move every day. We have a nice big mincing machine in waiting for him, and we hope he does not disappoint us. As a maiden aunt wrote me, she hoped he would be "discomforted." I assured her he would certainly be incommoded. This has been some war, but if he starts anything now it will be a star turn.
Despite it all we are in very good health, a little bored at times, and occasionally peeved, take it all in and it might be worse.
Wishing you and the members the season's greetings and peace during the year.
I am [?] yours
SAPPER THOMAS HART.