26 August 1915

In my last two epistles I neglected to tell you that during our last tour in the trenches something happened.  Appearing in the trench one morning I noticed that one or two men were staring somewhat hard at me, as though something were the matter.  Hastily returning to my mirror I discovered that one side of my face was distinctly swollen, & later in the day I started toothache.  A visit to the Doctor produced the statement to the effect that there must be an abscess hovering about somewhere.  He also gave me the cheerful information that my teeth were in a thoroughly bad condition & that sometime soon I must go & see a dentist.  The nearest is at our clearing hospital  in the Monastery on top of a hill known as the Mont des Chats, a fine place with good air & a good view, but rather a long way off.  Thither I rode yesterday afternoon, a long ride & somewhat detrimental to the seat of my breeches – also it was very hot.  The dentist was quite a cheery little fellow & proceeded to overhaul me.  I shall have to spend a week at the Hospital, shall probably go during our six days in support dug-outs, because then I shall be least wanted.  At present we are fairly short of officers.  Knighton is still away & has developed water on the knee, Jeffries has suddenly got colic & is in a very weak state.  The result – Coy in hands of Mould & everything a hopeless muddle.  We have just had a new pattern of smoke-helmet issued, & when clothed look more than ever like a group of blood-thirsty inquisitors.  Two glass windows, a breathing tube, & a complete covering for one’s head.  The fumes of the thing itself are almost enough to suffocate, inoculate, & asphyxiate the innocent wearer.   This afternoon we are being inspected by our new Brigadier.  We do not at present know what is his particular fancy, bootlaces or beards, packs or respirators.  The result of course is that we are making a rather hopeless attempt to get everything perfect which is not very easy.  After today we shall doubtless know what it is that has to be particularly extra special for him.  Possibly long hair will be found fault with; as our barber has been wounded this seems very probable.  Personally I have had mine done by a bomb-thrower who has the instruments & is not a bad amateur.  In fact he has not made at all a bad job of my cranium.  I see from yesterday’s paper that the 10th Middlesex are not at the Dardanelles, that is the regiment that has Foote, Fisher, Gifford, Coleman & heaps of other O.M.T.s in it, I wonder how they are getting on.

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