29 May, 1918 Wednesday A small town in France
My dear mother,
I am still at the same place and as far as can be ascertained I shall be here for some time - perhaps a week or a fortnight. This morning I got up at 6.45 and had breakfast at 7o/c. The rations are rather small but that is because at the recent move I suppose. Thus the parcel has come in very handy; the cake and apples were fine and the toffee is A1 too. I was on fatigue this morning with the other A. Coy chaps, the rest of the fellows were on [?] march until dinner time. My job was to clear out [?] tins and put them up in the walls of the billets to form [?] protection. I also wrote up my diary which was only complete to some time before I came out here so that I found plenty to do. After dinner Stuart and I went to the orchard where I read a book Stuart has [?] By way of some exercise we climbed some of the trees and not being satisfied with that we had an afternoon [?] in the long grass and came back to base dirty and disheveled but [?] This evening we both went into the town (if it can be so called) to explore a bit. The houses here are along the road [?] here and probably give rise to the place [?] other one is a "Washout Cafe" where all they sell is rotten French beer. There are only two or three shops as far as we know which seems rather remarkable considering the number of houses there are. I have partly found the reason for their dilapidated and deserted appearances and it is as usual "la guerre"; [?] there appear to be billets for troops. They are very ugly indeed and on the whole this is the worst town I have been to. The church is very old indeed and is in rather a bad state of repair, the steeple is tilting a little bit to one side. The drab [?] look of the exterior gives no clue to the appearance of the interior which we were just able to get a glimpse of through a side door. We were unable to get right inside as the place was being cleaned ready for the special services, tomorrow being Corpus Christi. We were told [?] very much after the style of the Church at [censored] the organ is at the rear of that church facing the altar at the other end.
After the visit to the church we walked [?] which, rumour said, had some [?] for sale which we found to be the case. I am spending the remainder of the evening writing to you before turning in which I shall do really early as I am not feeling quite up to the mark today. This will wear off and I shall probably be as right as rain tomorrow after a good night's rest.
I was glad to get your note of Wednesday 15th sent with the parcel. I have not had any letters from home since last Monday week; they must be on the way I suppose. The post did not arrive today at all.
Despite the shift, my address is still the same.
I tried to get some postcards tonight and all I could manage were the two I am enclosing. They seem to be right out of "views of this place". I am afraid they don't give much of an idea of the town except the [?] Never mind, I shall find scenery surrounding [?] in the woods and fields around here.
I do hope you are keeping well and cheerful. I am getting more used to this roving [?] and as I make the very best of it I find that I am having quite a good time. Give my love to dear old dad and all the boys; also to Grandma and Aunty "Alice".
I shall be very glad of the writing block when it arrives. I am hard up for paper now; but I don't doubt that some is on the way.
I made a mistake in saying that I was in the province of Picardi - I am in "Somme" which quite rivals the other for natural beauty I should think.
Now I must conclude with fondest love and xxxx
from your affectionate