29 July 1915

Ouderdom

There are just a few moments before the post box is cleared so I thought I would scribble you a line or two.  First of all I hope all is well at home, I have not heard for three whole days which I know is not long but longer that the customary interval.  Since my last letter I have done two fatigues, first yesterday afternoon a bath party to Poperinghe, miles away.  While there I seized the opportunity & had a bath myself, very hot & simply filled with carbolic, a truly excellent tub.  Literally also a tub – large, round & very deep, at one end of the schoolroom of a large monastery place.  Two thirds of the room were devoted to other tubs for the men – thirty could bath at a time the other third was filled by only one officer’s bath.  The men got their bath, & a clean change of clothing, all done by one army arrangement, they almost have to undress by numbers.

Today we have been digging etc. My party of 50 men was engaged on building shell-proof dug-out, headquarters for some General & his staff.  Sumptuous palaces they are compared to our water-logged little hutches in the trenches.  Match-boarded, real windows, doors, ceilings, fireplaces, passages & a roof of layers — corrugated iron, sandbags, brick, concrete then turf.  It, I mean the roof is said to be absolutely proof against shrapnel & the smaller high explosives.  In the case of crumps & Jack Johnsons it is hoped that the concrete layer will burst the shell, & that only the nose– cap & a few pieces will penetrate to the interior.  In the ordinary dug-out a large shell simply tears through the roof & bursts inside, doing as you might imagine a lot of damage.

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