9 July 1916

The weather here has improved during the last twenty four hours. Today has been quite fine and warm, and yesterday was by no means bad. Perhaps after all we shall get some decent weather this year; most of us had given up hope of seeing the sun again. The poor wretches in trenches are having a very thin time trying to prevent their trenches falling in – wading almost up to the waist in mud and water occasionally running the risk of being drowned in some unsuspected sump-hole, whose lid had floated several yards away down the trench. Fortunately for my comfort there is a most excellent sump-hole just outside my front door, otherwise I should long ago have been flooded out. My batman has orders to come and start bailing operations as soon as there is a heavy shower and by that means my life is preserved from actual destruction. He, by the way, has quite recovered from the effects of his rat-bite. I see that Chase’s name is amongst the list of killed – another of my contemporaries – he succeeded me as Head Monitor in 1914. I am surprised in a way that never got promoted, he had been out here a very long time, and should never have been anything but a hard worker. I had quite an amusing day today – finding one or two excellent places from which I could view the all unsuspecting Hun walking about where he imagined he was quite out of sight. It is rather curious in a way seeing these fellows so near really, and yet absolutely impossible to reach even with a bullet. I also saw one Bosch gentleman through his periscope. He had got a large mirror fixed up in the trench, and I could see all details of him quite distinctly. Of course he himself was standing well out of sight somewhere down in the bottom of his trench.

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