25th June 1916 (Sunday – V Day)
A lively time of it for Arthur and his Company – with the deafening noise of the bombardment from behind, plus being strafed by the enemy from the front. In the midst of all this Arthur is trying to give Dollie some advice about the appointment of trustees, as they try to arrange their future finances and a wedding reception! From the relative safety of a cellar he is managing to catch up with paperwork “ – this is my sixth letter. I’ve written to the Maters, mine & yours, to Eugenie, to Tancred, & to a fellow about one of the casualties we had on the 14th. Energy eh? I saw Evie [Noel] this morning, he had on his bombproof waistcoat. So I thought I’d try mine on. It is most surprisingly light & comfortable, so I’ve been wearing it all day, to get used to it…”
Arthur to Dollie
France, Sunday even 8.30
… Sunday evening – and such a glorious evening – and a dear letter from you. You dear, God bless you. Your letters help & comfort one so much, especially when I’m tired or things seem hard.
What do you think about trustees, dear? I had thought that, unless the law requires it, two would be sufficient. If however the law wants more or if Auguste [Noel] prefers it, we can easily have two on each side. I am going to write to Joe [Agius] about my policy & can mention the matter to him. Personally I think it would be a good idea to ask Mr Gibson. I think he is only about 40. At any rate, he took up a temporary commission – so couldn’t have been very old.
About George G., darling mine. It is of course really your choice, and frankly I do not know very much about him. What sort of chap is he? I don’t mean to ask, whether he is honest(!) but has he much gumption? How old is he? You know best. The next question, about the reception? As you say, dear, it of course depends on the numbers & on what your Mother feels she’d like to fix up, doesn’t it? Personally I think I’d prefer it – you know how I feel – all that I want is just you.
The last 24 hours have been rather noisy. Our guns have been shelling night & day, and as we are just in front of a big battery, the noise is terrific. Its an awful shame, for it’s a ripping summer’s evening. The Hun has replied by strafing the village a bit. We fled into the cellar at 1am last night & have had recourse there 2 or 3 times to-day – though his shells have all be “overs”. Evie had 5 or 6 casualties last night in his company & the Lewis gunners another 6 or 7 to-day.
The padre came up this morning: we hoped to be able to get to Mass & Communion but the CO didn’t think it very safe. Perhaps just as well, for they’ve since put a couple of shells into the Church & driven the CO & his merry gang out of HQ (which was next to the Church) further down the road. Lively times, dear, in all truth.
I’ve been awfully good to-day darling mine – this is my sixth letter. I’ve written to the Maters, mine & yours, to Eugenie, to Tancred, & to a fellow about one of the casualties we had on the 14th. Energy eh? I saw Evie this morning, he had on his bombproof waistcoat. So I thought I’d try mine on. It is most surprisingly light & comfortable, so I’ve been wearing it all day, to get used to it…
By the way, dear one, do you think you could get me some more paper and envelopes please. One block of paper & a packet of envelopes. I’ll be awfully grateful … God bless you & keep you happy & well, now & always. Pray hard for me, as I know you do, as I do for you.