4 October 1915


Many happy returns of the day.  I hope this letter will not arrive many days too late.  I have not been able to get anything in the way of a present for you, & my original intention, which was to turn up for breakfast on the 6th has been frustrated by the indefinite stopping of all leave.  Our move is now complete & we are sitting in a clean trench farm-house in a district we have never seen before – never in fact have we been near it.  I got out of the trenches alright the other night & went down to spend the night in our transport lines. Very early the next morning I went off with Viccars the Staff Captain in a car & came down here to look about for billets.  These we found & then all the areas were suddenly changed so we had to search about for a new lot.  The car had to go back but we managed to steal a Ford ambulance & get about in that.  We found a Chateau for Brigade Headquarters & spent the night there.  It was a very comfortable spot with a hot bath amongst other luxuries. The next day the battalions turned up by train & I returned to the 5th.  I am now with D Coy. as their second in command, but it is quite possible that I shall get some special job as soon as the Brigade takes over a line of trenches again.  Major Bland has come back & is commanding the Company.  By the way I think you would possibly like to hear the history of your cake.  It came with the other parcels, & together with a letter for me was put in a dug-out to be sent up with the transport.  The whole line of dug-outs was heavily shelled & the parcel got broken open though the cake remained undamaged.  The Colonel’s servant therefore put the cake in one of the food baskets & yesterday on going to the H.Q. Mess I found them eating it !!!  A quarter of it had gone but I have got back the rest & shall enjoy it today.  This afternoon I intend to go for a short ride.  I have not been very fit lately & I think possibly a jog will do me good.  A letter came from Nairn yesterday enclosing a packet of these never–to–be- sufficiently-ridiculed broadsheets.  I have not looked at the selection but most of them are curious reading for a soldier.  Grey’s Elegy & “Vanity of Vanities” go cheek by jowl with a little bit of Dick Swiveller & Pericles Speech to the Athenians.


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