22nd June

Posted: October 26, 2016 by saraherhodes in 1916

We have had yet another move. In fact we will be on the move all the time now, every few days.

Last Monday I went to a grenade school for the day. Had a motor ride of several miles, and saw all sorts of bombs and grenades – threw a few myself. When I got back at night I found that the whole Division had moved on. I had to interview Brigade and Divisional head quarters and career all over the country. The result was a motor lorry to take myself and a few men up to the Battalion. After driving for a couple of hours we managed to pick up the others. They were in a town about five miles off the firing line. It is a pretty little town. I am billeted in a house in a fine little room to myself. It is on the ground floor with a window looking out into the street. I have quite an abundance of furniture and am very comfortable. We hold our company mess in another house, presided over by a fussy little woman who does all our cooking. She runs round the table chatting away in French and laughing and giggling to herself. She is quite a source of amusement to us all.

It seems a peculiar thing to walk into a house and take possession. However, it is quite comfortable and very nice after crowded camp life.

Last night I had my first taste of being under fire in France. I took a party of about 20 men up to within a kilometre (5/8 mile) of the firing line. We had to do some digging. After we had been going some time they started an artillery duel. Most of our men I had were quite raw, and it shook their nerves somewhat. Some of them were very funny. However, nothing went very close to us except stray bullets, and we came out of it alright. We were working till about 2 am., and I got to bed at 4.

Before long we expect to move right up to the line or very close to it. Some of the shells that come over are quite an awkward size. I have a few of the 10th. They are right ahead of us. Yesterday I saw a couple of Officers, and Davidson and Colbey. They are all looking well.

Gas is a very frequent thing here. We all have masks. Yesterday we were tested in it by walking through trenches with gas spraying over us. It is nasty stuff. They use several sorts of gas. One kind makes the eyes run with tears, and smart like fun.

Some of the Belgians are causing a lot of trouble with their espionage. The inhabitants here live almost in the firing line. They go about their work as if nothing unusual was occurring. Some of them get knocked out, but they don’t seem to mind. I saw the place where O’Leary won his V.C. last night. It is about three miles from here. It seems funny to think that all this country was in the hands of the Germans at one time. From now on you must expect scrappy letters, as I expect we will be pretty busy. Jonah is O.K.

With goodbye to you all,
lots of  love,
Yours truly,
Lance.

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