Wednesday, December 11, 2013

France, 7th February 1917

My Dear Mother,
I have just returned from a three week course at a M. Gun school and came back yesterday to find your parcels and letters awaiting me. The [illegible] was very welcome although you must not think that we are not well clothed or fed either.
Enclosed is a diary of a days work which gives you some idea of our life when things are quiet.
One of our chaps is a bit of an artist, enclosed is his latest poetical effort "The Greasy Cook". Doubt whether this will pass the censor. I'll write at greater length in another letter.
Love to all, Rawei

[Enclosed note- Diary of a day's work]


As near as I can give it this is a record of yesterday's events. It gives you a fair idea of the routine we carry on in trench warfare. Sometimes things are more exciting- when there is something doing.


Arrived back from a school of instruction yesterday after a three weeks course consequently do not feel very keen when one of the chaps wakes me up at 5 am. However get up, put on fur coat, muffler, sheepskin gloves and climb up the ladder out of the concrete dugout. It's still dark, the ground is still white with snow and it's still freezing hard; but about a pint of hot tea puts a brighter complexion on things so we proceed to business and together with two of the gun team, the gun, 1000 rounds & a clinometer set out to give some of Fritz's tramlines and crossroads and early morning strafe. Out of our trench along a hedge into a trench and out of it we go, through what is left of a farm house, and here we are in another trench. Then there is a matter of aiming marks and degrees of elevation our indirect fire commences or should, but the gun is just about frozen by this time and has to be coaxed before she will go properly. The firing finished we pack up and go home again. By this time it is 6.30 am and I have put in a morning report to our section officer who luckily is bivied close handy. Wake him up report all O.K. then return to wake the cook and help him to prepare breakfast- porridge, bacon, bread, tea- stir the porridge for him and incidentally keep myself warm.
After breakfast we clean out our dugout and by [illegible] two of the six bunks in it make sleeping accommodation for nine. Put down a wooden floor, the cement is altogether too cold to sleep on. Timber for the purpose is very hard to get but we are seldom at a loss for material and...
[censored-half of page cut off] possible but as the ground is as hard as iron it does not give us any immediate prospect of work.
Leek stew and rice custard. Draw the sections rum, issue it. Have some hot cocoa and go to bed about 10.30 after a quiet day.
The place we are in is one of the quietest about the [half a page missing] well out of range of the Minnenwerfers and he has not put a shell within a hundred yards of us since we came here so that we are having just as quiet a time as if we were three or four miles back.

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