3 April 1916

I am afraid it is a very long time since I have written, work is my only excuse.  Of that there seems to have been even more than usual.  Viccars is proposing to go on leave the day after tomorrow, the Divisional Bomb Officer is on leave now – both their jobs are my job in their absence.  In addition to that there are our own little bomb worries & a court martial of which I have been a member in the last three days.   The General is due back the day that Viccars goes, I only hope he is not in too fierce a mood at having to return to this beautiful country.  Leave is not as a rule calculated to improve one’s outlook on this jolly old war.  At all events he will have had good weather, if you are having anything like what we have got here just now.  The sun today was really hot, & everything is drying up very quickly.  Another fortnight of this & with a good deal of labour our trenches may become almost habitable.  Tremendous excitement was caused this morning by the downfall of a Bosch aeroplane, the victim of one of our machines. It was a splendid piece of manoeuvring, & the whole affair occurred well behind our lines: I did not see it all myself though we heard a few m.gun shots fired somewhere high up & out of sight.  We all wish that it had been Lt Hantelman who is said to have brought down 13 Allied machines in his life; unfortunately it was not.  I suppose the last Zep. Raid was too far away for you to be worried at all by them.  I am very glad they managed to wing and finally capture one of them.  I see the Kaiser is reported to be against “frightfulness”; & also that he thinks it will not help to finish the war.  It is rather news to us that he wants the war to finish, it almost looks as if he were a little tired of it.  Everyone who comes back from leave says that all London is very optimistic, & everybody is in high spirits everywhere.  This must be quite a change because last time I was there it struck me as being rather a distressingly gloomy place. The trees & shrubs are just beginning to look really nice, while the hyacinths, violets, daffodils & auriculas in our front garden are most excellent.  The only things that are likely to prove a nuisance now are the dust which is fast collecting, & the lack of good drinking water which is of course always a bit of a bother.

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