5th September 1915
More welcome post from home and the “Fusilier Whisper” from Dick in Khartoum; a quiet day – Mass & Communion and breakfast with the Padre; a walk North with Beresford, away from the all too familiar scenery of the south – though Arthur’s spirits fall when they return to billets; Beresford has visited the graves of their friends killed at Neuve Chapelle and had the site tidied up; Arthur is in a reflective and sombre mood.
Arthur to Dollie
In billets, Sunday even, 8.30pm
… Many thanks for your dear letter of Thursday, also for the note by Corp Jewson. You dear – heaps of thanks. I also received the Illustrated London News – very much appreciated. Dick sent me copies of the “Fusilier Whisper” – a fortnightly paper that they run out there – its very amusing.
To-day it’s been very quiet. This morning I went to Mass & Communion at half-past 8 in La Gorgue, then to brekker with the Padre. The weather was rather overcast, but later it cleared & grew quite warm. The old “home” wind is still blowing from the N.W.
On coming up here I met Beresford. He and I went for a walk. We are on two hours notice – so we couldn’t go far. We struck N. into new ground. I’m so sick of the country S.E. & W. after 9 months. We walked N. for about ¾ of an hour, until we could see the only hills that lie near our lines. Mont Cassel, Mont des Chabs & Mont Kemmel – the last only 6 or 7 miles away just across the Belgian frontier. I hated turning back. With every pace Northwards or Westwards one’s spirits seem to rise. However time pressed. We were back just before 1.
After lunch, dear, I have to confess that I started going through my kit and ended – asleep! But I enjoyed it. That occupied the afternoon until tea. After tea (and some birthday cake chez Sammy) I returned & finished off my things. The others of the Company are distributed between working parties and dinner at Estaires. Some of them were in the Gazette & they were baptising their second “star”….
There is no further news, dear heart. You’ll be glad to hear – have I told you before, darling – that Beresford managed to get up to Harry’s grave. It was beginning to get a bit overgrown, so he has fenced it in with wooden battens. He has done the same to Bertie Mathieson’s & the others. I am glad.
If it wasn’t for you, sweet heart mine, life would be awfully hard to bear out here. There is an unvarying monotony of danger, dirt, long march & reliefs, rest (or so called rest) chiefly working parties at night – another march & relief, dander & dirt & so on endlessly…