Original Letter

France

2nd November, 1917

My Dearest Maidie:-

The little move came along suddenly yesterday leaving me no chance to write or any thing. Nine o’clock last night found me – after a hard hike  in an old barn. A perfectly good dry barn, you know, but still a barn. We slept on grand heaps of straw and there never was sleep like it. We had nothing to worry us as we had out distanced the transport and we just eased those packs off and got our blankets spread on that straw and I went to sleep in a minute. I could carry less than I do and be more comfortable physically but I tried it on the first march and got ashamed of myself. So I salvaged a complete outfit – ammunition and all and now I carry everything the complete soldier requires and it makes a tidy pack. Generally we have our blankets carried but yesterday we carried one, rolled on top of the pack. It – mine – was a brand new one and it was as heavy as lead. I wonder if I could send my breeches down to you. There are so few occasions when I can wear them – they are too good for roughing it – as we generally are – and I hate to put them on the bum. They would just fit you. I wear the others excepting when way back.

This morning when I wakened it was daylight and I took stock of my surroundings. Last night it was too dark. My Dear, it’s a real barn but that part of a barn where they keep the extra plows and harrows. There is a huge pile of straw in the corner – where we slept – there are two or three wagons some harrows and lashings of hens. This is a real live honest-to-God farm far from Fritz and in good repair. For we are out on or “in” rest and it is very peaceful. This morning we had porridge for breakfast and we bought a mess tin of milk from the farmers wife. Here, we are welcome for the Battalion that was here before harvested all their beets for them and they are grateful. Its good to be here even if our bureau is in a barn where there are hens and harrows and probably worse – hens are generally crummy aren’t they. However that can’t dampen my enthusiasm any. We can be very comfortable here.

Since the above was written our mail has arrived and I got six letters. Six – think of that. Our mail has been absolutely disorganised lately. I got the one with the snapshot – My Dear, you are absolutely beautiful the picture proves it and I have had a perfectly beautiful time looking at it. Angel, I am mad about you. I got the letter saying that you had been freezing – it’s a hell of a war, isn’t it? I got one saying that you were ill and another saying that you were better. You see I have been getting one here and there but to-day caught everything up to date. It was glorious getting all those letters and to-day is a day of days. Poor little Baby, she has been ill. Why am I not there looking after you? That is my place – that is where every interest I have in the world lies and where am I? Philandering round France under a load of junk sleeping in queer places and eating comical meals. Isn’t war a silly thing.

Isn’t it the luck of the damned that it should be made legal for you to live in Rouen now? I can’t quite realise that it is possible. I think of the long lonely months there just marking time and then the wakening up and going after leave successfully. And then the absurdity of leaving just as everything was working around to the realisation we had both prayed for and dreamed of – well, it’s queer anyway.

Its awfully good of you all wanting to send another parcel of eats but it’s a lot of bother isn’t it? And Mrs Bachelor has the good heart and I could eat a cake alone and unaided but I think that they have lots of others to look after and I should not like to impose on them.

I have been wondering about getting a chap here to write to the little girl. What do you think of Jimmie Graham? Anyway please send me her address and I shall get someone, someone suitable even if I have to write myself. I am going to write Madame Grassal to-day or to-morrow. I should have done so long ago because I certainly owe a great deal to her and to her charming sister, Madame Netta.

I am not going to write any more just now, Sweetheart, as our barn isn’t so very warm. I want to tell you though that I love you madly, you beautiful wonderful Dearest and I shall never know a moments peace of mind until I am with you again.

Your own Ross

Operation Order

The 50th Battalion will move to the CAESTRE AREA to-day... Entrainment will be at BRANDHOEK SIDING... and detrainment at CAESTRE STATION... Battalion will fall in on Battalion Parade Ground and be ready to move off by 16.45 K.

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War Diary

Battalion ... marched to BRANDHOEK Station, there entrained for CAESTRE at 5.30 P.M. Left BRANDHOEK 6.15 P.M. and arrived CAESTRE at 8.35 P.M. being held up en route. Battalion accommodated in Tents and Billets.

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Photographs

Grassal: Madame Grassal: Rouen: Rouen: Rouen: Rouen: Rouen:

Map

  • Location: Caëstre
  • Battalion role: Unknown

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