Very many thanks for your letter which I got yesterday. Yes please send along more hair wash, it will make my hair grow I’m sure.
It is bitterly cold nowadays, but I keep nice & warm & have heaps of warm things, thanks to your efforts; & the men have all they want so we are all quite happy; in fact we could’nt wear or carry any more in our kit even if we wanted to.
I hope your concert is a success; it’s coming off today is’nt it. Have you got when we wind up the watch on the Rhine yet. I’m sure that you appeal to tommy audiences; send me a copy when it comes out. Guy Mainwairing and I have just been bawling it out in the 1st Bn: mess (an old ruined pub!) I should think the Germans must have heard us! Yesterday afternoon they shelled us for an hour, most uncomfortable I assure you, but they did’nt do much damage. And they’ve begun again this morning & are at it now.
Yesterday was a simply gorgeous day, ripping & cold & clear. Four of our aeroplanes were up all day practically, & all the morning the Germans were firing at them & it got quite cloudy with the smoke from bursting shells up in the sky. One feller flew round & round, & each time he went over the German lines he got about 50 shells at him, to say nothing of rifles & maxims. But he was’nt hit at all, & after a bit the Germans stopped firing altogether, they either got fed up, or had no ammunition left. It was a wonderful sight. I tried to take some photographs of it but I don’t suppose they will come out. I have sent my other ones to Calais to be developed, & will send them along when they are done. By the way please send me 3 more packs of films will you, I’ll tell you the size etc etc in a minute-
It is colder than ever today, a very cold wind in addition- We are going back for a bit of a rest tomorrow, about time too as we have been in the trenches or in reserve continually since Jan 20th, & one must have a few days off occasionally. Up here one has to be either in the trenches, or just behind in constant readiness in case of necessity. I hear the Guards are relieving us, so I suppose all the Lords & Dukes will be paying us a call soon.
You seem to have had great times on your birthday- Glad Babs liked my messages, give ‘em to her again will you & I hope she’s all right again. So the Saxon story is the buzz is’nt it. I’m afraid I haven’t got any more to tell you. The Saxons are still opposite us here I think, & occasionally yell out good morning & things like that.
I am sending you a receipt for some insurance money; you might ask mother to keep it will you; thanks.
So glad you went and called on the Holdens; that ought to make the car a snip whenever you want it.
I’m sorry this is such a dull letter but there is absolutely no news to tell you. Things are fairly quiet here, bar the shelling which is very unpleasant while it lasts; they’ve stopped now, but will begin again I expect about tea time; they generally do. Tons of love
Drake-Brockman’s narration of where they were is a little confused at the end of February. It seems that they “occupied some houses behind [the line] in the Rue de l’Epinette as reserve for three days” but it’s not clear either which three days, probably the 25th to the 28th, or indeed which Rue de L’Epinette, I have assumed it’s the one near Festubert.
When We Wind Up The Watch On The Rhine (including links to audio):