20 Dec 1915 56th Field Coy
My dear Barbara
After writing you a long letter I got yours last night telling me about the £ 30; what a real kindness that is and I am so relieved to know that you are all right again for a bit. It has been a nightmare to me imagining your having to struggle this Xmas to arrange affairs.
Now you must get yourself all necessary clothing; thick warm stockings, boots, and warm blouses, not those pretty little muslin things; they will look quite as nice and keep you warm.
I got your parcel and it is very nice indeed and thank you so much for your thought, but really I do not require these things, though I am glad to be able to put my share into the general pool at the mess; I mean I do not want you to spend another penny on food for me; if I require anything I promise you I’ll let you know; in fact I will tell you that a tin or two of curry powder would be welcome. Tobacco I have enough of to last me two or three months; cigarettes I hardly smoke & so do not send me any, get yourself & the children what you require I shall be much happier. I hate having things & and knowing that the money could have been spent on you all. In fact in this kind of water-rat existence the fewer things one has the less trouble one has.
I am asking Rachael to get me a small lamp with glass chimneys; I don’t know what they are called but I am going to find out; you pump air into them and they give a brilliant white light; the evenings are so long and reading by candlelight is beastly, in fact in this dug -out artificial light is necessary all the time; our O. C. has one at the billet. Also I shall ask her to send me a small cooker & saucepan solid fuel to be used with it; I think they are called “Tommy’s friends” but I am not sure. If you have not cashed the £5 cheque on Cox’s destroy it & I will send you another as I am very much afraid I have overdrawn; also do not send the hot water bottle, as hot water is very hard to get and then only a cupful.
I go back to billets tomorrow & I am only glad for the opportunity of a bath (of sorts) as here one is not bothered in any way.
The Division are issuing special Xmas cards & I will try and get the children one each which should be kept for them as souvenirs; the drawing is done by Heath Robinson.
The bombardment is continuing spasmodically & today the Huns seem to be trying to search out our dug-outs, but so far have only injured one man.
22nd Well I returned last evening and after a good nights rest till 9 this morning had my hair cut (the first for three weeks) and then a hot bath & clean clothes; I had not had a bath for ten days and had not had my clothes off for a week. I now feel myself again but am not in love with either the work or the conditions. Even here in billets the quarters are a little tin partition at the back of the Mess Hut and through which all the winds of heaven blow. The 2nd in command, a boy of 21, has a comfortable hut to himself with a stove & two servants; nor does he go out to the trenches; it is a topsy turvy arrangement. However it is only for a short period thank Heaven and afterwards I shall be glad I did the whole business.
I shall have a week here in billets and then out again to the dug-out & the shells.
I sent the Division Xmas cards to the children today & hope they get them in time for Xmas day. I have had a beastly cold the whole time in the dug-out, congested throat, chest etc. but today after the rest feel another man.
There has been no letter from anybody for three days, so we think there must some hitch in the postal arrangements
I hear young Gerald has been home for his leave, but must have returned by now; I wonder if he is fed up.
It was very funny about Pat & the blue trousers, dear little soul.
Well my dear do write me a nice long letter again soon; I am so glad to get them. Much love to you all from