We are now a good many miles behind the firing line having a spell after three months in the trenches.
Since coming out of the trenches a few days ago we have travelled a good two hundred miles by rail and road for the most part through land that we passed on our way into the trenches the first time. The place is now a picture. Despite the lack of men to work the land it all seems to be in crop and everywhere old men, women, and occasionally French soldiers are busy harvesting.
The fields and roads are all unfenced here and one can march for days along the roads without seeing a fence except in the villages which lie along the roads every mile or so. Even the smallest village has a big stone church and at most of the crossroads there is a crucifix or wayside shrine of some sort. The spires of these churches jut up above the trees which line the roads and surround the villages and so make excellent marks for artillery fire.
I do not know whether I told you before but I was made a lance corporal two months ago. Not very rapid progress for nearly two years in the army but I had to start again when I joined the machine gun.
We are training hard while out here. Today we were to have taken part in some field operations but rain stopped that so we did a ten mile march before midday and are now in our barn writing, sleeping, playing cards.
Well, I hope this finds you all in good health.
Love to all,
Your affectionate son,