12 July 1916

Our people have gone out for a bit of rest and I have been left in for a day or two just to show the newcomers the way about the place. I shall not stay long as our new billets are said to be very good and I shall not be sorry to get a day or so of real comfort and cleanliness for a change; not that we have been at all badly off here, in fact for a “trench” headquarters it is almost exceptionally comfortable. For that reason and for others I don’t suppose we shall come back here again – we never stay very long in any place that we really like. The weather which has been really good since I last wrote now shows sign of breaking up again and I think we shall have rain again before tonight. It never seems able to be fine for very long in this benighted country – and as for calling it La Belle France – the whole thing’s absurd. The villagers of this place are beginning to drift back into it, and we have been having one or two rows in consequence. The South African gunners seem to get mixed up in most things and yesterday we had a free fight. The disputants seeing I was an officer both made a rush at me – one saying that the Frenchman had struck him first, while the native pointed out to me in bad French at the top of his voice – that he was an “allie, – no Bosch – and that the African, quell villain, had seized him by the “gorge” until he was nearly “nahpoo”. If I had not laughed all would have been well, but unfortunately I, as usual, saw the humour of the situation, which had not yet struck the combatants. The latter nearly went for me, and I almost put the whole boiling in “jug”, but managed to quieten then down just in time. Banwell’s wound has turned out more serious than we expected. He returned to duty of course after having a bit of plaster put on his foot and no one thought anything more about it. Now it has become septic, and he is “down” with a bit of temperature as well. I should not be surprised if he found himself in England almost before he knows where he is. J.C. Basser another O.M.T. has just joined us, I don’t know what sort of an officer he will make, I am afraid I never thought very much of him at school. However he is keen and means well; this is a most excellent training ground out here and one can learn a lot if one is keen enough to try. I have had a very long letter from D.B. Davies who has just been blessed with a second daughter, and is naturally very pleased with everything and everybody. M.T.S. seem to be doing very well in military matters. The Corps is very strong and very successful and manage to do a terrific amount of work. They are to have a camp somewhere this year but I am really not sure where or when for that matter. I do not think there is very much prospect of any leave yet for a very long time. Just at present the war is really going on and we can’t spare any time for weekend trips. Perhaps when we go into winter trenches somewhere in the neighbourhood of the Rhine, we shall get off for a day or two. Joking apart things are going jolly well and the news is good. However letters must contain only family and private affairs so we will leave the war alone. The strawberries here have come to nothing but the red currants have been a real success, as are also the mustard and cress & the green vegetables. It is a long time since we have been able to stock our mess with fruit and vegetables without adding a shiver to the mess bill.

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