Sunday, 4th August, 1918
M---, Somme, France
Letter No 94
My dearest mother,
Today as you know, is the 5th Anniversary of the War, and incidentally the day on which I complete three calendar months of service in France. I think it is with regret that we realise that this so-called civilized world is embarking on the fifth year of war, and the end, perhaps not yet in sight. But the colossal task before us renders the war a long one, and instead of lamenting its prolongation we should rather seek strength and comfort to endure a little longer. The authorities have ordained that this day should be observed with prayer for the speedy but sure success of our arms, and I think this appropriate. From the point of view of the soldier when he thinks of the more acute hardships those at home are bound to suffer with every additional year of war, his one prayer is that patience, courage and comfort may be given to them, while he strives to beat back the foe.
It seems as if I have been out here more like three years than three months, such a long time is it since I saw you. I long to get home again and the longer the time the greater the tugs I feel. Perhaps it is harder to fight down this longing than putting up with a few hardships I am occasionally called upon to bear. I must not dwell on this side of the question but rather think of the ways in which we are in very truth united; in thought always, and often in prayer. I must look ahead to the time when I once more cross that narrow strip of water - to the time when I get back again. What a happy time that will be, and perhaps it won't be very long ahead! It is while I am away from Stuart and some of my other chums that my mind dwells too much on these things; because I feel that I am more or less alone for the time being. Of course there is a sense in which I am never alone and I appreciate that very greatly but I miss the sympathetic intercourse, the real friendship that exists between old "Stu" and I, so that I shall be ever so glad to get back with him again. This won't be very long, I think, for I have almost completed my stay at the "Wing".
This morning I attended church parade as usual and in addition to the ordinary service there was a Holy Communion, to which I stayed. I appreciate these services ever so much and derive a great deal of comfort and help from them. I like to imagine, when my eyes are closed in prayer, that I am sitting in my usual place in the old Quadrant.
I spent the afternoon writing to Mr. Waller in the fields at the top of the hill and just as I finished a rainstorm suddenly came on. The weather has been very changeable here lately.
We had a high tea today as one of the fellows in our platoon is twenty-one today. The revelry started at reveille this morning as a matter of fact, when we presented him with a few gifts - a home-made doll, a train, a whistle and a whip! We had some good fun and not a few got knocked about in the general melee.
I am now going to the service to be held at 7pm in the "Y" so must say goodbye for a little while.
Give my best love to dad and the boys, Grandma and Cookey.
With fondest love and xxxxx