[transcription and transcription annotations have been provided by the collection donor]
November 24th 1917
My Dear Mabel and Carl,
Here I am at last to do my duty after having received a letter from each of you about two weeks ago. I was ever so pleased to get them and also the newspaper clipping. Great Britain and US are the best of friends aren't they? Everyone on this side is looking for big things from the States. It's " Wait till the States do this and Wait till the States do that," so I hope we won't be dis appointed. For this war to be a real success we sure need your help and even then some.
We take a week, about, at the guns and horse lines, and I came back yesterday from the latter, where I spent a most enjoyable week. One can buy a real good feed of eggs and French fried potatoes nicely cooked for 2 francs, 50 centimes [45 cents] and I clean up on two feeds like this a day.
At the guns, we haven't a chance, luckily, to spend our money, as the canteens only keep a very limited stock and are far away. At both places we run a mess fund and have real porridge every night, made on the stove in the gun pit, which keeps us warm. I'll be able to give you some tips on cooking when I get back.
At the lines (wagon lines), we always have a bath. We hand in our dirty underwear at the bathe and get clean stuff. Heaven help the poor fellow that gets the ones I handed in last time. I could easily have picked 300 lice off of it. 'Lousey' is no name for me. Nearly everyone has them from the dug outs. So just fancy if I came to see you now. You would have to put me on the floor, as I could never sleep in one of your beds if you ever wanted to use it again!!
She's a terrible war isn't she? But we all look on the humorous side of things if even it's a stiff being buried. There's a big burying ground right next to our Battery position and we see it getting filled up every day. They dig 6ft wide trenches and fill them in according as a body is put in.
I had a great experience on Nov.12th, when I was detailed for a working party to the 2nd line trenches. We were shot at by machine guns, gassed, the mud is indescribable and it was pitch dark. [Battle for Hill 70]
Had long letters from home last week. They were all well The young couple seem quite pleased with their new home. I received a letter from Murrill last week; the first this year.
The boys are all sleeping around me so am going to shut down and get some shut eye myself.. Remember me to the Dr. and Mrs. Thomas and hope you'll have a Merry Xmas…think of me popping them off at Fritz…and write soon to your affectionate brother,