15th March 1916
Another long march (15 miles) yesterday for Arthur and the men – the weather has been so glorious they are beginning to get sunburnt; the post has caught up with the brigade and Arthur reads his latest batch of letters from Dollie that evening, in the still and cool of a local wood; the new billets are crowded and quite dirty so this morning has been spent clearing up and finding room for “C” Company in the next village.
Arthur to Dollie:
Billets, France, Wednes. 5pm
…Yesterday your two dear letters of Friday & Saturday reached me. I was feeling very hot & tired. I wandered into the woods: it was just in the cool of the evening – about half-an-hour before sunset. The whole world was still, except for the birds, whose singing only seemed to accentuate the stillness in the air. I sat down on a bank there, under the great trees… So I read your two dear letters …
Yesterday we were on trek again. It was a glorious day – very hot and the sun was on our backs the whole time. We are all beginning to get sunburnt! It was a long march – we covered a good 15 miles. Our way lay across two ridges, two valleys & so up again on to another ridge where we are now.
Both valleys lie low & the hills on each side are very steep – it was a hot “pull-up”. The streams in each valley run west to the sea. In the valley at our foot here runs the stream that comes out at E-, where we were when we came from Malta in January ’15. It rises only a few miles higher up. The country here is great rolling hills – the valleys deep and well-watered, & everywhere woods – each wood concealing one or more villages.
This village is a tiny & dirty place, so much so that we have had to billet C Coy (Evie’s) in the next village & have spent all the morning trying to clean up.
Darling, the man has just been in to get the post. It leaves at 6. So I must end here…