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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Letter Home (to his older sister, Mildred or 'Mim', from Bertie) - 23rd April, 1917

Dear Mim,
I have two letters from you. The last is the 14th inst. We have moved again. Had no chance to see Jack, worse luck. I was sorry to hear two days before we left Vimy of Jack Russell being killed. I was over at their brigade to see Chetty and their Brigade Major told me about it. He had bad luck to be hit direct by a shell. I feel very sorry for the family. Jack was worshipped in his battery.

Well, the Vimy show was a great success. We were hauled out just as it was getting interesting and pushed in somewhere else.Have seen Nevett since we have been here and he is looking splendid.

We had awful weather the four days we were on the move.The night before we startted it snowed and got frightfully cold, then turned to rain and blew a hurricane. Of course, we had no cover and got beautifully wet. The horses had an awful time.We were camped in an open field with a new sown crop and of course it soon was nothing but mud. Anyway, when we got to this position we did not waste much time in digging a Mess. Our first night here it snowed like fun but you soon forget it. The last four days have been fine and bright. Our poor airmen have had an awful time. It makes my blood boil to see that they tell the people at home that we have the supremacy of the air. On our front alone the Hun brings down far more than he should, just through having faster machines. He sets them on fire with a machine gun bullet and to see our men jumping out is cruel. We sometimes get a Hun machine but not often. He is too cunning and only chases our old busses. If our men in our fighters had as stout hearts as our men in our slow machines it would not be so bad. Half an hour ago the Huns attacked and set on fire one of our machines, which was among ten others of ours and then got away unhurt.

We had a merry day yesterday. The Hun kept us out of our position for five hours but hurt none of us. There is one thing the Hun hates and that is guns we capture from him firing his own gas shells back at him, This fairly makes him wild.

Well I have been writing this for three days so I expect it is very muddled. I got your letter last night about the cable. It is rather unsatisfactory but perhaps we will hear something later. Kid, I am enclosing a cheque for five pounds. Will you send me some Kolynos toothpaste and a pair of medium sized nickel pliers. I got mine at the Army and Navy store (top floor). I am also sending a watch to you for a new glass. I would like an unbreakable, if possible, composition.

Well, cheerio,

from B.

A bottle of fountain pen ink and still one more thing: a Stuart refill for an electric torch.

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