Daily Archives: June 18, 2016

18 June 1916

Many thanks for your congratulations – your letter and the paper came at the same time. The list looks a tremendously long one, but actually there are very few to each unit, and as you doubtless saw there was no one else in the 5th. This is very hard luck on the poor wretches who have to spend all their time in the trenches and go unrewarded. I get my reward in having an easy time behind the line. The weather has now improved beyond all recognition. It is still cold for June but the sun at least condescends to shine fairly continuously and we have not felt any rain for the last forty eight hours. The trenches have dried up wonderfully well – and we can now get about them dry shod and consequently live there in comparative comfort. Three days ago they were so sticky that I left most of my rubber soles in one of the communication trenches. I had to conduct a Corps Staff Officer round the line, and naturally expected a cleanly dressed person with nice spurs etc. who would like to view things from the main road. What actually turned up was very different. A dirty looking villain in a filthy old overcoat and long waders who asked to see the worst trenches I could possibly show him. Of course I had to comply, and we waded about knee-deep in all sorts of horrible places until it was time for him to go home. Now that I have written all about this gentleman I am not sure that I did not tell you about him in my last letter. If so – please attribute my absent mindedness to pressure of work. This last is not as a matter of fact quite so oppressive as it was, but we still have plenty to do. The office has probably never done so much in all its little life before. Orders keep coming in followed by counter-orders. We hardly have time to comply with one lot before another frantic message comes cancelling them, and telling us to wait for another batch, which in their turn are cancelled by some more and so on ad infinitum. I have seen Lyttleton once or twice of late – his battery is within a very few minutes of where I am writing this. For a time he been battery commander but his C.O. who was away ill has now returned and he goes back to his old position. It is getting very near dinner time so I must bring this to a close as quick as I can and go and change. There are four visitors to dinner – the cook is ill, and the meat ration has gone to where we thought we were going – but didn’t owing to one of the many counter-orders. I thank goodness I am no longer Mess President – I handed over that job to Hacking – and hope he enjoys it more than I did.