Aug 30th 1915
My darling wife –
Just a line to let you know that I am well, this is written right in the front line of trenches about 200 yds from the Germans, we can see them now & again bobbing their heads up over their parapet, & then our fellows take a pop at them but we cant see whether we hit them or not, I have a nice comfortable dug out here all to myself, there is just enough room in it for one, I picked these poppies just a few minutes ago at the back, the fields round here are just a blaze with them & they look very pretty, there are so many of them. I got your letter all right, dear, dated Aug 8th also the parcel of tobacco & candies, I think there must be a parcel coming to me that was sent before this one, as you mentioned in your last that you were sending one then, but I guess I will get it all right, sometimes it takes longer for the parcels to get here & I have always got them before, I have not received Harlows parcel yet but he is pretty slow & may not send it for some time, I enjoyed the candies immense, I am chewing some of them now & I will be mighty sorry when they are done. My Darling, I was good & proud to hear what you said about George & Eileen, dear little fellow, I would just love to see him & hear him saying Hallo to everyone he meets, I can imagine I see him, I know he is such a manly little fellow & I feel so proud of him that I think there is no one else like him & my little darling Eileen, you say she wont go to bed unless she has my photo under her pillow, well, dear, I am awfully glad to hear all this as it lets me know that my little darlings are thinking about me & still have a kindly thought for their old dad, I cant help it, dear, but a lump comes in my throat & I have to force back a tear when I read what you have to tell me about them & I am sure no one can blame me if I feel homesick, as I do just now & the more I think of it the worse I get, dont build any hopes on what ED. Watts said about us getting two months leave at home, we get all kinds of rumours like that out here & there is nothing in it, I wish there was, I dont think there is anything in this world that I would like better just now than to get home to see you all, even if it was only for a week, I wouldnt mind coming back if I could only get to see you again, but there, what is the use of talking about it, the only thing I can do is to wait patiently till this old war is over, which I sincerely hope wont be long now & then I will get home for good & do you think I will ever leave it again, not on your life, I’ll bet that when I get home I will be a nuisance for you will not be able to drive me out of the house, no, not even to see a baseball or a football match & you know how I used to like to go & see them.
It was like old times getting the “Popular” you sent me, I was awfully glad to get it, as reading matter is very hard to get out here & when any of us get a paper or book it has to go the rounds of the whole platoon & everyone is impatient to get it, no matter how old it is, you hear of the people in England sending out stacks of magazines to the troops & comforts of all descriptions, but we never get any of them & when we get into Billets & buy any papers, we have to pay through the nose for them, for instance we pay 2d for a ½d paper, and 5d for Answers or Tit-bits, as for magazines, they are out of the question, 1/3 for a 6d or 4 ½d one, so you may guess how glad I was to get the popular, Everything is very dear here, eggs are 1/11 or 46 cents a doz & bread 8d a loaf, sardines 8d &11 = a small tin, so you see if we buy any luxuries for our selves that our money soon goes, as you know, we dont draw all our wages here & as I have about 70 or 80 dollars lying idle, I have invested 50 dollars of it in war loan stock, which you have probably heard about, of course I was not allowed to handle the money, but it was paid for me through the paymaster, the idea is that the money is loaned to the British Govt who pay 4½% for the loan, this is a better way of saving money than putting it in the Bank or Post office & it can be drawn at any time from any Bank by merely presenting the scrip, I have not received my scrip yet, but when I do, I will send it on to you, everyone here is investing in this stock, some of our fellows putting every cent they own into it & the officers are advising everyone else to do the same. You dont know how glad I am that you have got into a home of your own again, I never did like the idea of you stopping at the Edwards, especially on the childrens account I dont think they know how to bring up children at any rate I dont want mine to mix up with them all all; So Edward has pulled out of it, has he, well I hope he will like my letter, I suppose he has got it by this time, I told him what I thought of those fellows getting cold feet & I know it was’nt nice, but it was the truth & it ought to give him something to think about, I see by the Vernon News that more troops have left, more power to them, we will be glad to see them out here, it is a good job that there are still some left who are not afraid to face their duty.
So you have taken in a boarder & a roomer, well dear, I hope you are not taking too much on yourself, are you sure that you are able to manage, it will mean an awful lot of extra work for you & you wont have so much time to yourself, take care of yourself dear, for my sake, & dont take on more than you can manage comfortably, I dont want you to tire yourself out running after other people & when I get home, I’ll want you all to myself, I have an awful lot of love stored up for you & I will have a lot of time to make up, I am just going to spend the rest of my days loving you, so you can see what you are up against, old sweetheart.
I am glad that Georges wife got to hear about him at last, she must have been very anxious about him, I wrote to him some time ago but have not received any reply yet, perhaps he has not got my letter, but I will write him again & make sure. I think this is all I have to say just now, dear, except to tell you again, not to worry, I am all right & still going strong, my eyes are bothering me a little, but I think it must be want of sleep that makes them ache, at any rate there is nothing to worry about & I am taking good care of myself, remember me to all those friends who are asking about me & give George & Eileen a big love & kisses from their old daddy, & with all my love & lots of kisses I remain Your loving Husband
P.S. If you happen to see Charlie Simms any time, you might tell him that his brother-in-law, C Rendall who was killed some time ago had a proper Christian burial, he was buried by the Hospital Corps & the burial service was conducted by a protestant minister, in a city not far from here, I am not allowed to name the place, but probably the Authorities will inform his widow, they have a record of the number & location of the grave, none of our fellows were at the funeral as we were in the trenches at the time, but we made inquiries & know where the grave is, all of us from Vernon are going to subscribe & put up a stone instead of the wooden cross that is on the grave now. It will comfort Mrs Rendall to know that her husband had a Christian burial & that the grave will be looked after. She has the heartfelt sympathy of all of us here.