26th July 1916
Arthur is disappointed today as there is little or no mail in from home. His days are filled with engineering works, bayonet fighting, instruction on the operation of the Lewis gun and practical experience with explosives. More praise for Prof Adkins: “Last night after Mess we had another lecture – on Russia and Romania. Prof Adkins who lectured is a cheery little soul & knows his subject from A to Z. What is more he has a very happy knack of being able to express himself clearly, forcibly & with interest”.
Arthur remembers happier times when the Agius family holidayed near Eastbourne. “It all seems years ago – Laura & Hugh [Burns] used to play tennis there, Connie & Harry [King] were just engaged, I think.”
Arthur to Dollie
… There was little or no mail to-day. I was disappointed. Please Heaven there will be a big mail to-morrow. Last night after Mess we had another lecture – on Russia and Romania. Prof Adkins who lectured is a cheery little soul & knows his subject from A to Z. What is more he has a very happy knack of being able to express himself clearly, forcibly & with interest.
This morning we were up for early parade. After breakfast, we had some lectures on Engineering: then we went up to the field & carried on with our digging. Then a brief talk on explosives and some practical experience.
It is the custom here at the end of the morning parade to march past the Commandant. Today the GOC 5th Division was with him. After lunch we had instruction in the Lewis Gun. Then I came back here to my billet: after this I am going up to do some bayonet fighting. To-night there is the usual mid week concert. That, darling, is all my news. I just carry on doing my work for all I’m worth, living each day for you, light of my eyes, the inspiration of all I think & do.
I hope you’re having a pleasant time at Eastbourne. Is Elsie looking better? Do you remember how thin she was once. I try & picture you in the house there – which end of town is it, up behind the meads somewhere. I’ve a fair remembrance of Eastbourne. The front & the pier which is at the end of Terminus Road, isn’t it? the station – bathing, walks to Beachy Head & the old lighthouse Birling Gap & the gallop over the downs. It all seems years ago – Laura & Hugh used to play tennis there, Connie & Harry were just engaged, I think.