56th Field Coy R.E.
9th. Dec 1915
My dearest Barbara
I am somewhat in the doleful dumps tonight; the rain it raineth every day and the mud gets deeper & deeper, and worst of all no letter from you or anybody yet.
I know you have written, and so I have written off to the Base Post Office asking them to see if there are any letters for me addressed only B.E.F. without the number of the Field Coy.
The gunfire was terrible all yesterday & last night & today the Huns replied; another officer and I were up within a mile or so of the trenches when high explosive shells began to come over & land about us, the nearest being about 400 yards off; some then landed in a village where we had been 5 minutes before looking for an old stove in the ruined houses. I thought my number was up, but we cut up through some woods and got away; unfortunately we have a large gun battery concealed near our camp & they shell the Huns constantly, & once this place is discovered this camp will be shelled by the enemy. I hope it does not occur one cold rainy night. I go up to the trenches next Tuesday for seven days to live in a dug-outs, pray for me then; in the meantime I am doing odd jobs about the camp looking after the horse lines etc.
The new O.C. seems a very nice fellow & constantly treats me with every consideration; he is 35 & I think is appalled at my age; yet I could run him, jump him, or ride him to a standstill, as he has been in W. Africa poor chap & is shaky with malaria.
I hope this will reach you in time for Dickie’s Birthday; wish him many happy returns of the day for me and kiss him also & also believe that I am kissing you my dear & remembering that day when I got your telegram saying that you were well & that he had been born.
Did you see poor Hughes, the man who was chosen instead of myself for France & went off first, has been killed; his poor widow of a fortnight. This is one of the Regular Field Coys & has a very good reputation, so I ought to be honoured, except that I know these things are pure chance, & also army reputations are earned by all sorts of things. Well goodbye old girl much love to you & to my sweet babes
your loving husband