Jan 1 /17
My Dear Ones at Home
I know that you will be worrying because you have not heard from me for a few days
But where we are now it is almost impossible to write. I am lying on a wet blanket in a dug-out. It is wet wet wet & cold cold cold. Water is dripping on me & all around me - drip, drip, drip. It is impossible to keep dry - outside or in, & so I have just made up my mind to keep wet - to grin & bear it.
Since coming into the trenches we have had to work all the time - day & night - Hard wet, dirty work in the mud and wet Up at six o'clock in the morning & work till twelve at night.
We have had no fighting. Except for artillery duels & a little machine gun & rifle fire it is very quiet. I have never fired a shot yet.
On 'Xmas eve I rec'd a nice big parcel from the Westbourne Red Cross Society. It had a variety of all kinds of eatables and was in good condition A few days afterward I rec'd a parcel of eats that Mrs Mac. had packed & sent from Wpg. and also a dandy parcel from Mrs Frank Pecover, No 3. Oakington Road. They also sent me such a nice letter. Nellie Pecover, Franks sister also wrote from No. 2 Oakington Road. She had sent me a parcel, but I did not receive it. I have not yet rec'd the parcel of candy nor the one of eats from home. On 'Xmas day I lay in the dug-out sick all day with a bilious attack.
At night we were called out to carry wire to the front line, or rather out into No-Man's land for wire entanglements I felt pretty tough but had to let go. Every man had to carry a bale of barbed wire for about two miles thro' the muddy trenches.
I had just scrambled over the parapet with my wire, when Fritz started to fire - 'whizz bangs' - 'sausages' 'fishtails' (all high explosives) shrapnel machine gun & rifle & bombs. The men crawled back into the trench, & for two hours we crouched there in the water, not daring to move. Great shells exploded all around us, & blow clouds of mud over us. Shrapnel exploded above & we could hear it striking the ground around us & all the time the rifle & machine guns fire whistled above our heads. The noise was terrific and the ground shook like an earthquake whenever a big shell exploded. The whole field was lit up like day, by the great flares that were sent up continually. Our artillery was not long in opening up, and for two hours the fight continued & then died down as suddenly as it commenced.
I crouched down as low as I could get & hugged the side of the trench. Argyle was a few yards in front of me. I did not feel afraid. I looked up into the sky and could see the Christmas Star shining calm & peaceful Then I knew who was watching me, and was not afraid
It was a strange 'Xmas day - and night and one that I will never forget.
After the scrap was over we had to work the rest of the night repairing trenches that had been blown in. On 'Xmas eve I had carried sand bags from 6 P.M. till 3 A.M. & so was naturally pretty tired by the end of 'Xmas night.
I have not had a wash nor a shave now for over a week, & my clothes are covered with mud, & wet. Altho' it rains continually, water for washing or drinking is very scarce.
They will be calling us for some new fatigue work in a few minutes, so I must close.
I will try to write again at least once a week.
Do not worry about me. None of us worry about ourselves, but go along & make the best of it. Put your trust in God, and He will answer your prayers
Your loving boy
Pte W. M. Pecover
I received mother's letter with money enclosed.