27 June 1916

We are still here in rest but I think that today is probably the last day. Tomorrow, all being well, we shall shift up somewhat nearer the line again. But for the weather this little place would be very nice indeed, but the constant showers, very heavy showers they are too, turn all the roads, fields, and everything else into rivers and lakes of liquid mud. The trenches too have of late become very uncomfortable. Please thank Mary for her letter, I am sorry to hear that the cow has a horrid “corf”. Her handwriting has improved tremendously since the last letter – she must be becoming quite learned now I suppose. Certainly the signature at the end of the letter was very wonderful. Toller has at last got a command – he certainly has had to wait long enough, and thoroughly deserves it. He goes today to take charge of some Highland Territorial Battalion. He will not have to transfer but will simply be attending so we shall not have the pleasure of seeing him in kilts or anything of that sort. We gave him a farewell dinner last night – with a very full mess indeed – everyone was present and we sat down 38. As I probably told you the mess room consists of a large tarpaulin stretched over a light frame-work. At eight o’clock punctually it started to rain – then to pour, and finally to come down in bathfuls. In a few minutes the roof was dripping in almost every place and we had to feed in overcoats. This however was the only misfortune and it was not sufficient to damp the enthusiasm of the mess. The Colonel made a most admirable little speech and Toller replied – he is I think a little sad at having to go. We then sang all the Scotch songs we could think of – by way of honour to the new Colonel – and many others that were not Scotch, and finally ended up by somewhere near midnight with “Auld Lang Syne”. Toller’s going just now is really rather serious because there is no one to take his place as second in command, or rather I should say, that if the C.O. were to be hors de combat, there is no one who could take command of the battalion, and one wants a second in C. who can do that. It is very probable that within a week or so the Brigadier will send me back to Command a Company – it is hardly fair to keep away a Captain from the regiment, when there are so few left of those who originally formed the mess, in the old Luton Days. Personally I should not be at all sorry to return. I spent yesterday afternoon looking for J.D. Fry – my shooting XIII Secretary for one year – who wrote me a note to say that he was somewhere in the neighbourhood. As a matter of fact I failed to find him, and could not even discover where his regiment was: however I daresay I shall run into him and them in a day or two. It is most remarkable how small the army seems to be – one is always running into all sorts and kinds of people that one knows. Last night was far too wet for star-gazing so I had to bring my bed inside and sleep in Hacking’s room again. It was as well that I did because it poured very hard at intervals during the early hours of the morning. It is now going on in just the same way: we get spells of sunshine, and then one after another these heavy black clouds come rolling up – shower tons of water on to us, and then roll on again to do the same , we hope, or worse to the Bosch. Every evening it looks as though it wanted to clear up, and as if we should have a fine spell, but it always comes on again the next day – and we have quite given up hope of any real improvement. Tonight the local padre is coming to dinner as the guest of the Brigadier who is billeted at the vicarage. This is always rather an amusing performance as the padre can never talk English and the General has to air his French – which he is always very willing to do. Whether or no he is understood is another matter, but everybody is always pleased, and the success of the entente cordiale doubly assured by the display of camaraderie between the two nations.

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