19th March 1916 (St Joseph’s)
An exhausted Arthur has finally found time to write after a very busy two days; yesterday there was a Divisional demonstration of a “Flammenwerfer” which was captured from the Germans at Hooge; leave is open so “this morning at 4 Lloyd left – he is to be married on Tues or Wednes – LUCKY CHAP!” and brother Alfred is to be best man.
Arthur to Dollie
Billets, France, Sunday even. 9.10pm
I’ve had two awfully full days. I know you will understand how it was that I couldn’t write yesterday & how it is so late to-night, even now I have not finished. Two dear letters of yours arrived to-day, God bless you for them. They are such a help & comfort. But let me give you my news first, dear & if I cannot finish all to-night, I’ll put this in an envelope & catch to-morrow’s post.
Yesterday morning there was a demonstration of a Flammenwerfer. The Corps & Divisional Commanders were there & officers & NCOs from all the Division. The flammenwerfer (which is an instrument for projecting fire) was captured from the Germans at Hooge when they used it against us. It is a most fearsome thing dear, for it projects a great deal of flame about 20 or 30 yards, accompanied by clouds of dense black smoke. However its bark is worse than its bite – for it does not do any harm if one crouches down in a trench.
We got back just in time for lunch. Immediately after lunch (at 2) we were on battalion parade till just before 5. So back to tea – then a pow-wow at 6. Last night leave was re-opened & the Division, in the goodness of its heart, gave us the whole allotment, as we are so much behind hand. So this morning at 4 Lloyd left – he is to be married on Tues or Wednes – LUCKY CHAP! He expects Alfred to be his best man – so you will be able to get our news as to our corps, division & where we are &c.
Last night I went to Confession & this morning at 8 to Mass & Communion. The CO left for 10 days leave to-day at 12 noon. This afternoon we were out on a staff ride & another pow-wow at 6. We have another long day in front of us to-morrow. I’m awfully tired, little darling of my heart, & can scarcely keep my eyes open, So I’m sure you’ll know if I say Goodnight. God bless you…