Aug. 25, 1916
Thanks for your letter of July 29th. I received it about four days ago. It seems so strange to receive letters a month old. All the mail over here is very irregular. It seems funny after being here a couple of weeks to receive letters from home asking if I had reached England and how I liked London.
So far I haven’t had even a weekend pass. The colonel won’t grant a six day leave until everyone had taken their course in musketry and entrenching. Out of a possible 170 I only made 88 and all my old fault as I had a good Le Enfold to shoot with. Most of shooting was done with fixed bayonets. One queer thing was to see most of the fellows making the highest shooting in their rapid fire. I started out all right but seemed to become worse instead of better. Our last practise was at a range about two miles beyond. We got back to camp at about 8 P.M. that night.
Well at this last range we were dished out fifteen rounds apiece. We were then lined up (one squad at a time) and at a signal, having loaded our rifles advanced on our targets having previously loaded. When the dummies bobbed up we “flopped” and judging our own distance fired as many shots as possible at them. When the dummies disappeared we got up and continued our advance. When ever the dummies bobbed up we flopped down and shot at them. As we had on a full pack at the time we were perspiring like bulls by the time it was over.
It was quite realistic also because while we were advancing in open formation there were a couple of war-planes overhead practising with machine guns at a flying target. This is how they did it. One plane towed a cone shaped target on a small rope about eighty feet behind it. Another ‘plane would chase it and after firing twenty or more shots would land at an air-shed nearby while another plane took its place. They did this all afternoon. You can imagine old man that the conditions at the time were not unlike those in many cases at the front. As I sweated freely I took particular care at the last appearance of the dummies.............(page missing)
[Editor’s note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]