15th February 1916
A long account from Arthur of the new Company arrangements – Arthur is in charge of “2”, whilst Dollie’s brothers Evie and Edouard have “3” and “4”. He has a billet, miles back from the Front, in the Hotel du Commerce at Airaines. The surrounding countryside is hilly and wooded – in complete contrast to the slag heaps of Loos, where they were stationed last. Alas Dollie’s present of a cigarette case has not turned up in the post yet and Arthur has broken a flask given to him by the Mater. However his new breeches have arrived, and some food parcels from Daisy for the men.
Arthur to Dollie
Billets, Tues 8am
… Good morning – God bless you…. I arrived here all right yesterday about midday. Found the boys here – they came up with the draft on Sunday & look very fit.
Well, dear, I’m going to continue this after breakfast. So I’ll bid you “au revoir”…
Hotel du Commerce, Tues. aft 3.15pm
This morning I wrote to catch the post at half-past 8. The arrangements have now been altered, & the post doesn’t go until about 5, so we have longer to catch the mail. I am so disappointed to-day, dear. I had hoped that by some chance your dear letter of Sunday might arrive, but alas there was no post to-day. I miss you awfully, far more than I feel I can say. God bless you & make you always happy. Do you remember it was this day last week that I had my further extension. How happy I was, for I treasure every moment in your company.
Though there was no mail to-day, there were some parcels waiting for me – chiefly papers – also my breeches from Hammonds & two food parcels for the men from Daisy, but the parcel with the cigarette case in it never materialised. But don’t worry about it dear. I can easily manage on the silver one you gave me – for I don’t smoke many cigarettes & my pockets are full. What has bored me rather more is the fact that the flask the Mater gave me dropped & the neck has broken off, glass & all – so I must buy a metal one out here.
As for our present arrangements, little one, they are very vague. Beresford won’t do anything definite until the CO returns. However in the meantime as a working arrangement, we have 4 Companies, Reeves has 1, I 2, Evie 3 & Edouard 4. I have with me Lloyd, Rice, Thomas who is fairly new & Davison who is quite new, Serj. Major Cooper & Q.M Serj Hunt – my old NCOs.
We are miles back from the front. Do you remember where I said I thought the place was near A- [Airaines]: it was right. They say we shall be here for 6 weeks or 2 months. The country – which is France proper – is such a change from our last place at Loos. Hilly & well-wooded with an abundance of streams. We are billeted in a very quiet old place, miles from anywhere, about 6 miles from railhead, whence I wrote.
I picked up the wagons all right. Brown the Quartermaster & I rode back. I reported to HQ then came on & had lunch. In the afternoon I was very busy getting settled down. After tea a concert party from the Battalion gave a show. They were awfully good, all things considered. I enclose the programme. The concert began at 6.30 & lasted over two hours, so that we didn’t get dinner until close on 9 & went to bed soon after.
This morning, dear, parade at 9 to 12 & again this afternoon from 2-3. The weather is very windy & showery. Thank God, I am very fit, but feel so lonely without you, dear. Your miniature helps awfully – thanks ever so much dear heart. I’m just living in the memories of the happy days we’ve had together & in the anticipation of the happy ones that DV we shall spend in the future together…