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Date: September 16th 1917

Estree Cauchie


September 16, 1917

My Dearest Girlie;

You can never imagine how delighted I was to receive the pictures of you and Bobs. I like them so much. The one of you, and Bob sitting on your foot, I just love. Isn't Bubs getting to be a great big boy? And such a pretty little chap. Must take after his mother for looks. That's what everyone says that I've shown the picture to.

Please excuse the awful scrawl because I am writing this in bed. I have come to bed early tonight (10 o'clock) for a change. For the last three nights it has been after one o'clock when I have got in. I am getting lots to do now - cycling, and running an ambulance between times. Yesterday I drove the ambulance up to one of the advance posts to take in the rations, and see if there were any wounded to bring out. I went in just about 12 o'clock midday, and the village where the post is, is under observation. You can see the village that Fritz holds quite plainly from our post, and just after I pulled out Fritz started to shell, and he put in over 250 shells between then and five o'clock. Just after five, I had to take a despatch in again, and this time I went in on the motorcycle and it's a good thing I did because the road was terrible - covered with bricks and shell holes. When I got to the post the boys called me everything they could think of for taking the ambulance in at noon. They said that was why Fritz had shelled - because he saw the car in the village. But personally, I didn't pay much attention to their ravings because I knew why they shelled it. It's because there is so much movement in the daytime around the dressing station. He sees the fellows moving around and naturally gets after them. However, we are not allowed to go up in the daylight in a car anymore. We have to go up after dark and leave before daylight, except on the motorcycle. I go in on that during the day. Gosh! I get some awful roads to ride over. Up in the front area, it is just a mass of shell holes, bricks and debris. Our main dressing station and Headquarters is quite a distance behind the line and now practically out of shell range. It is a village we took from Fritz in our advance last spring. Today a lot of civilians were allowed to come back and locate any treasure that they had buried when they fled before Fritz nearly three years ago. You know, they left in such a hurry, and had no place to go. So a lot of them buried their treasures such as money, deeds, other legal documents and things like that, that they didn't want Fritz to find, and they didn't wish to carry on their flight. Several of them were successful in finding what they were looking for, and others couldn't find where their houses stood let alone anything buried. There is not a single house left standing and it once had a population of a few thousand. I saw one old man dig up a wooden box containing papers, letters, and 15,000 francs in bills! Gee, he was a tickled old boy. Another man was looking for 40 bottles of wine he buried by his garden wall. He had a hard time to locate where the wall once stood, and when he did find it, could not find the wine and went away. So tonight, three of us went out with picks and shovels and tried our luck in finding it. And although we dug up umpteen acres, we were unsuccessful. However, we intend to resume the search tomorrow. Another man found a copper dish full of silver coins and jewellery that had been buried almost three years. I guess there's a lot of treasure buried around here if we only knew where to locate it. It was rather pitiful to see an old man and his wife pointing out the different places where the houses once stood, and where their friends once lived.

Well, I must try and write again this week. It's rather uncomfortable writing in bed, so I think I had better quit.

All my love Budsie dear,

As ever yours,