Feb 12th 1917.
My dearest Beryl
Today much to my delight I got two letters from you; they were especially welcome for they are the first I have had since being in France and we have been here now for almost 3 weeks. I got a letter from Hugh by the same mail telling me that he had been confirmed in his rank of Captain & had also been put in charge of a school, behind the lines. for instructing recruits for his battalion which is a Pioneer Batt- the same as the 67th are now- they dig roads etc & do all that kind of work. Yes I will try and get a few badges and save them for you. I have one at present only, but it is a Naval Division one, given me by a chap who had seen much service with the R.N.D but is now in the R.F.C.
Yesterday, Gerald Treuchard, who is in command if the Flying Corps in France came to inspect our Squadron. I was sitting in my machine with Pemberton when he came up and asked me to show him how my gun worked I shewed him the whole thing and exactly how it was handled. We got on very well together, but I was exceeding disappointed, when he was leaving, that he didn’t ask me for my autograph: However I am bearing up alright.
Pemberton and I (we always fly together) went up to 12,000 ft. and at that height we could see England quite clearly. It was magnificent, especially the beautiful White Cliffs of Dover which stood out as plainly as anything.
I am sitting in my hut here writing this as near as possible to the stove- which, sad to say, isnt going very well because of the shortage of wood and coal. As a matter of fact we have just been on a “strafing” expedition to the next hut and bagged 3 shovel fulls of coal.
Coal is terribly short here in France for the Huns have got all the large French coal-mines- don’t you think it is most inconsiderate of the rotters.
I have just been issued with the most lovely flying boots imaginable. They come right up to my hips and are lined with thick wool of about 2 inches thick all through. I didnt fly today for Pemberton is sick in bed. We have had bully beef lately for almost every meal and I think he has just got a little bad stuff in his tummy. He will be alright tomorrow I hope.
It is cold here by jove can you imagine mustard freezing and also the compasses on the machines, frozen up & immovable. I dont know what we would do out here in the evenings if it wasnt for my grammaphone. It is a treat and we play it every single night. Mrs. Hudson wrote me the other day saying Harold was joining the R.F.C. I suppose he is in Belgium by now.
My best love to everybody at home
With much love
Your v. loving