24th May 1916
Arthur and Company are now out of the front line after five days “up”, having survived a period of shelling; they now hope to move even further back for a rest period; one of Arthur’s fellow officers has shell shock; leave has been delayed for a short while but Arthur expects to be home next week; the 2/3rds continue to supply extra men and officers – including this time some of brother Dickie’s lot; Dickie was due some home leave too but that has been cancelled; Dollie is anxious that Arthur’s leave will be cancelled, and they won’t be able to plan their wedding.
Arthur to Dollie
Billets, Wednes., 4.30pm
…I’m fearfully busy & so fed up; for I feel I want to give all my time to you & to write you a long letter, to tell you all my news & to thank you for all your dear letters.
Let me try & give you all my news, dear. We came out on Sunday after a spell of five days up. We were rather lucky – for the enemy shelled a bit as we came out but there were very few casualties – only two or three. We have come back rather farther 2 or 3 miles – than we were last time, and I believe we are to go further back in a few days time DV. At present we’re pretty busy: yesterday for example, dear, I was out on the go from 8.30 till lunch time & out again from 2 – 10.30 . This evening we are going out again.
- is in bad water. He had to come out on patrol with me one night – went “sick” instead: finally the CO had to get him evacuated under “shell shock” – which is of course an excuse. He had no shells near him.
Leave is going along pretty well: Davison went yesterday. But owing to the amount of work the Battalion is called on to do these few days, the leave of us seniors has been delayed a bit. However, darling, we shall be coming along DV next week: I don’t know whether I shall be with the first lot or the second. Anyway leave is now within a very measurable distance! I am simply dying to get home to you…
To-day we had another officer & 110 men from the 2 / 3. The boy’s name is Starling, I think. The men are a pretty good lot. There are some of Dick’s lot amongst them.
I’ve sent a card to Lilian Hoare, dear… It is very thoughtful & sweet of you. I was very proud and happy to do just as you told me. Dick writes pretty often – just little scraps of paper. He does not say why his leave was stopped – he’s a funny lad. I must try & write to him but really I don’t know where to turn for time. I’ve already been interrupted by an orderly from the CO “Please Sir, the CO would like to see you at once!” & off I have to go. He wanted to talk over some things. Beside all that I’ve been trying to pay out the Coy: we have had two shots at it: Lloyd paid out some yesterday & I did some more this afternoon. I’ll try & finish off the others to-morrow.
Well, little one, I’m afraid this has been a very disconnected letter. I’ve tried to be clear: but I’m really a we bit worried, for I can see that you are anxious & worried, dear, about leave and when you don’t hear regularly. Try little one, to keep up your brave heart. There are no indications, no rumours even that leave will be stopped as you fear… we’ll get things definitely fixed up & have a ripping time together…