Original Letter

France

9th September 1917.

My Dearest Mary –

It is only a little after ten o’clock and I have had a few minutes to spare. First I shined my shoes and buttons – it’s quite true that one must shine at the front – and then had a wash – the second to-day. My wash basin is a German steel helmet and is a good basin. I had to make quite a long hike for water but I solved the problem yesterday by finding a huge tin can which will hold two days supply.

This is Sunday morning and I only realised it a few minutes ago Church parades don’t seem to reach as far as [the] front line or support lines and other signs of Sunday are non existent. The noise is about the same as other days. Just as soon as I sensed that it was Sunday I shined up.

There is a desolate waste all about us here although we are past the worst desolation. Here the grass and weeds have covered the most of the wreckage and there are no trees to speak of in our immediate vicinity. Trees more than anything, I think, register the ghastliness of it all. It is interesting though especially the stories about the place Last night I listened for two hours to an officer who had been through the Vimy business telling various incidents of that affair.

I had another letter last night and it was glorious. Your letters mean more to me now than ever before, I think. Here the mail bag containing Battalion Headquarters mail is handed direct to me. All I do with it is dig through and extract my own. After it is found some one else can post out the rest, I am off duty until that letter is read or devoured. And while reading it and afterwards I just naturally radiate joy. I like the little writing, Dear, but I love any writing of yours.

There isn’t anything much to tell about in the way of news [other] than the situation so far as concerns body parasites and food. There is lots of interesting stuff but I am not allowed to write it. Really though this has been a very pleasant tour especially since coming to this nice airy dugout. Last night I had a blanket over me. It was fine too as we did not bring over coats in. I was suspicious of that blanket and went carefully over my clothes this morning but pas un touche. The hammock suggestion is a good one, Dear, but I do not think I shall ask you to send me one at present. It is really quite comfortable yet and I do not need it. But later on I shall report to you. Now, Sweetheart, I must close. Have I told you how I love you today? It is a lot I assure you! All day long I think of you Dearest Maidie. You have all my love Your own Ross

War Diary

Weather- Misty forenoon- Bright & clean afternoon. ... Nothing unusual occurred. ... Work on the trench system was carried on by day and night. Eight Officers and 415 men employed.

View complete War Diary »

Photographs

the Vimy business: the Vimy business: the Vimy business: the Vimy business: the Vimy business: prise de Vimy: prise de Vimy: prise de Vimy: prise de Vimy: prise de Vimy: mail bag: dugout: dugout: dugout: dugout: dugout: dugout: dugout: dugout: dugout: dugout:

Map

  • Location: Anxious Trench
  • Battalion role: Support

View on larger map »