6th January 1916
Letters from Dollie and a parcel from home; new billets in a miner’s colony at Corons (Les Brebis); Arthur is settled with a dear old couple who “cannot do enough for me” and for once has a very comfortable bed; French soldiers and a squadron of aeroplanes; poor Dollie is having trouble with her teeth again!
Arthur to Dollie
In billets, Thurs even: 6.50pm
… Thanks awfully, dear, for your letters, of the 2nd, 3rd & 4th. I got one yesterday just before we moved, with a parcel from the Mater. A letter from Miss Crozier turned up later & to-day your other two came. God bless you for them. Also one from Duncan (of Stibbard Gibson, Solicitors, 21 Leadenhall St.) – Gibson is apparently at Salonika.
We moved yesterday, after waiting for orders until about half-past one, at 3.30pm. We had about a couple of hours march to do. When we reached here the billeting wasn’t quite done. However we managed to settle down. We are billeted in Corons – that is a miners colony – a little village of miners cottages set out in a square round a church, managers house &c – the whole in a walled enclosure. There are 10 –20 men in each cottage. I am with a dear old couple who come from Longuenesse near Tatinghem. They cannot do enough for me. I’ve a bed very comfortable. Lloyd has a bed in my room. We mess downstairs & have a sitting room two doors down. Not at all bad. I am feeling disgracefully slack! Lewis came in to-day. He is looking very fit. The weather is very boisterous & cloudy, but it hasn’t rained for a couple of days DG.
Yesterday we saw a squadron of sixteen aeroplanes – rather a wonderful sight. They seemed so extraordinarily alive. There are a lot of French soldiers here – awfully quaint in their steel helmets – which are much more artistic than ours. Though you should see me in mine – rather a fashionable shape!
Now, darling, you’ve got to buck up. It’s rotten luck that both the Mater should be unfit & that your teeth should again trouble you … Please God by now both your Mater is absolutely fit again & your teeth, little one, no longer trouble you… Don’t worry about me, dear. I am comfortable and reasonably safe …
Coron (miners colony) at Les Brebis
23rd London Regiment War Diary for Jan 1916