Thanks for your jake letter. You always make me laugh - har- har (almost bang!) I have not received two letters a week from you old sport so know the mail must get stalled sometimes. I got the letters from Paul Lake when I was in Chereton, England. Most likely I forgot to mention receiving them so do so now.
It was jake of you to bag the job at Dempsters. It seems funny you should speak of cutting the tops of mangels for that is exactly what all the farmers here are doing. They turn the whole bally family into it here and they decapitate the wretched mangels like sixty.
Isn't it a joke about Mr. Batch joining up. I'll bet the quartermaster sweated trying to fit him out with a suit. But for the love of mike keep where you are I can do the stunt for the rest of the family. It is deuce of muddy here and inclined to be rainy. Also there is lots of rats. Keep away you ass!
We are about 8 miles from the firing line here so can hear the guns quite plainly, the place we put up at is within easy range. The most war-like stuff you see here is fighting in the air. You see a British airman being shelled like the deuce. He doesn't seem to give a hoot for any shelling and often flies right into the shrapnel smoke. I'll bet they don't hit many of the aeroplanes. The other morning some of our fellows saw a fight between two enemy machines. The fight took place thousands of feet above our abode. I don't know how it worked out.
Another thing you see here is 6 or 7 even more aeroplanes all in a flock just like geese. You also see these observation balloons here. The bally things are tied to the ground with a wire cable. The observer sits in a sort of basket, shoots up thousands of feet, is anchored and calmly makes his observations. We saw one of these balloons get a deuce of a shelling the other day. Nothing happened although the bally thing was simply surrounded by bursting shells.
I saw a funny little engine like this the other day (sketch of two engines one behind the other) both halves work to-gether and make a deuce of a row.
With best of love, your loving brother,
[Editor’s note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]