4 October 1917

Just a line or two during a spare five minutes to wish you many happy returns of the day – if this arrives in time – and at the same time to reassure you. I am afraid newspapers are apt to be very misleading and there are other troops from the Northern Midlands besides those in this Division.  We are living in the most peaceful trenches, and the atmosphere is one of complete calm – as a rule. At all events we have not been making any ferocious attacks. I hope you have not been caused any needless anxiety. I am gradually getting very much attached to the new C.O. – he is obviously a very fine man, and what is particularly admirable is his attitude towards the people above. He knows his place exactly but is never afraid to stand up for his rights and the rights of his Battalion, and consequently is always out to get the best he possibly can for the men. He usually succeeds. The knee has had a great deal to do during the last six days, round the line twice every 24 hours and wandering about all sorts of curious places in the dark. It has stood it very well and I think the only thing which worries it at all is the horrible dampness of underground life.   I wake sometimes very stiff in the mornings.  Six hours sleep a day is all I need and all I get – and fortunately for me the C.O. doesn’t mind my getting out & about it when he isn’t wanting me in the orderly room. The padre came round trenches with me last night – he is curiously devoid of any fear at all. I don’t think he likes shells and bombs and things but he certainly never shows his dislike for them, He has a considerable influence on the men.

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