27th December 1915
Christmas is over, for Arthur and his men have moved and are now in “reserve” – in wooden huts, a mile and a half nearer the front than their previous billets in Sailly; the weather is miserable – stormy, with wind and rain; an encouraging Christmas letter from the CO of the 23rd Londons. Back home, friend Elsie and her beau are no longer an item.
Arthur to Dollie
Billets (of sorts), Mon. even. 9pm
We have moved again for we are now supposed to be “in” again. However for two or three days we shall be in reserve. I am just a wee bit anxious about you, lover mine, for I haven’t had a letter from you the past two days, but I expect that the Christmas rush & the wild weather are responsible for that. Rosa sent a thing of Kiplings: “If”, also a booklet. I must write & thank her.
Yesterday I was a bit busy. I went to Mass at 11, at 12 the CO of the 23rd had a pow-wow. Sammy & Abbott came – Lloyd also turned up & Lewis went off. They have found some job for him. Then we had to fix things up for our move this morning. We left this morning just before 9. We are only about a mile & a half nearer up. We marched here independently, dear, got the men settled down into huts. We have a room in a house near the church. The church & most of the village are pretty well battered about. Ochs has gone off in charge of a working party.
The weather is very boisterous, very stormy with wind & rain. That, little one, is all my news, I think …First, dear heart, I enclose an old photo that Rice has just given me – of the summer days, Lewis, Rice, Lloyd & myself. Rather a characteristic attitude, isn’t it, dear. Next, a letter from the CO to me. I wrote in & wished him a happy Christmas. This was his answer!
I was awfully sorry to hear about Elsie. We know what a glorious & unspeakable joy love is, don’t we, dear. My heart goes out in sympathy for those who have never known it, & especially for her, poor girl, who loves & has lost…