6 October 1918

Many happy returns of today, meant to write on 2nd but could not.   A table, a tent, and a candle – no great noises outside – fingernails which do not look as though mustard & cress might at any moment sprout up, and , above all, a chin not in the least like sand-paper, or a hearth-rug.  It is true it is cold weather for tents, and there isn’t a house within miles, and none of the ordinary comforts are available, but sill we feel quite respectable.   For the moment fighting is over.   We have had three battles since the day I started to go home on leave, and heard rumours of coming war and so returned – way back on the 22nd.  About our first I have told you, and the second is now history, or at least in the Daily Mail.  Our part in it was important and the result excellent – casualties very slight except for the most unreplaceable Padre.  He is a terrible loss as he did so much for us.  Our third & last battle was also very successful though as a Btn we were only in support, had none of the fun & got most uncomfortably shelled.   In this we had bad luck as we had our officers hit – not as a rule badly but still we lost one or two.  First the Colonel got one in the arm.   As Burnett had gone to England on a course this put me in command.  Then Petch got one in the leg – then others.  So until some of them return we are quite short.  Who we shall get to Command us I don’t know.  Col. Wood ought to be back very soon – and it is just possible that they may leave me in charge until he comes, I hope they will.   If we have some one new I shall have to stay on until he gets settled in, so leave is still a little distant.  In any case with Burnett away, and Griffiths wounded I am almost certain to be 2nd in Command until Christmas, so you may yet see me coming on leave as a full blooded Major!   Ashdowne is my Adjutant at present and will I think do very well.   The real help though at Btn. HQ. is the Doctor – little Jack – a true philosopher and friend unruffled by shells and war alarms and just the man for a very young C.O. taking over a Btn on the night of a battle and expecting to be counter-attacked.   Someday I shall be able to tell you all my experiences, there is a lot to tell but I cannot tell it in a letter.  What they will do with us now I don’t know – perhaps a rest – perhaps not.

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