11th June 1916

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11th June 1916

An account of the final part of Arthur’s journey to St Amand, snatching sleep where he could – with a final tramp through the dark and wet to his old billets; today is Whit Sunday and Arthur has been to Mass, Communion and Confession; a bomb demonstration for the local Mayor; the officers win a rounders match against the NCOs; the battalion is engaged, day and night, in improving the new trenches begun in May, but they hope to be sent further back to Halloy for a week.

Arthur to Dollie

Whit Sunday even: 9.22pm

I’m just longing for to-morrow & news from you. I want to hear all about you & how you got on on Friday afternoon. Did you meet Elsie all right?

We had a long ending to a long journey. We reached D-ns [Doullens] about half-past 8 & B-m-s-n [?] – our destination by rail about an hour later. There was no mess cart there so we had to wait till midnight for a lorry. However we managed to get permission for the estaminet to open & there we had an omelette & coffee. Thence to a kind of waiting room – just a room in the village with a table, some chairs & 2 wire & wood beds. Since going on leave they had added 4 mattresses so we slept fairly comfortably for an hour and a half.

The lorry, dear, took another hour & a quarter to bring us along to S- [Souastre] about a mile from here. So out we tramped here in the wet & dark. I got in – we are at the same billet – unrolled my valise & got into my flea-bag. Jove, dear, it was ripping!

This morning I didn’t get up till ten: went to Mass & Communion & Confession at 11. Do you remember last Sunday & the rain & our sprint to the Underground!

After Mass I came back to lunch. Lloyd & Davison were away with half the Coy working – Thomas & Lidiard (my new sub) are away with the other half for two or three days also working. After lunch we paraded for inspection by the Lord Mayor at half-past one. We marched to a field near by where there was to be a demonstration with bombs. The Mayor was late & didn’t arrive until after 4: so the men were marched off & the demonstration begun before he arrived. We stopped to watch it. After tea we played the NCOs at rounders – an awful strenuous effort – & won 8-4.

Of local news, darling, there’s not heaps. Rochford is here! Page has gone to the Divisional School & Wilcox is going to the crowd at Hurdcott.   The battalion – or most of it – is out working day & night: but we go back on Thursday for a week – to H[alloy] – about half way to D-s.

… I found 3 of your dear letters here – I will return them to-morrow. You darling. Remember me to all …