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Date: December 29th 1916
Inez Hill
Arnold Smith


Dec. 29, 1916,

Dear Inez,

We are back in the firing line again after nearly a month’s rest. It is just 2.30 A.M. and I am on duty. Here in a dugout a short distance behind the front line at headquarters I am spending “my Christmas holidays.”

It is very quiet here – much like the first place we were at when we came to France last August. Occasionally a machine gun can be heard and sometimes the boom of a big gun in the distance. We certainly were glad to get in a quiet sector after what we went through during October and November.

I just returned to the battalion on Dec. 24th after spending nearly three weeks on a course in my work. It was quite interesting and I succeeded in passing the tests obtaining 100% on all except one – on it I got 99%. There were fellows there from practically every unit in our army Corps and it was rather interesting to hear the experiences of those who had been here for a long time.

Christmas day was spent back in billets in a town behind the line. I received your parcel that night. It was a very acceptable Xmas box and I enjoyed all the eatables very much. The Sterno is very useful here as we have to heat our food.

The other day I received several copies of the Reformer. In one Capt Simpson who was home on furlough said that the war would last five more years. Last Xmas we were counting on the big spring advance. This year it is the same. The peace talk in the papers is very interesting reading but talk does not stop the guns. Let us hope that Lloyd George wilt not feel it his duty to sacrifice many more thousands in order to uphold “poor little Belgium.”

Well I must soon end this epistle. Despite all my troubles I am in the best of health and unless I get in the way of one of Fritz’s shells, I shall not get to Blighty for some time yet. The passes did not come as fast as we expected at first.

I remain

As ever

Arnold S.

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