Just got your parcel, at least the bull’s eyes and socks. Thanks awfully for them, the latter seem to be just the thing. We have just moved up into some new billets today just behind the trenches in a deserted and much shelled little village. We are living in a big house which must belong to quite a nut, as it is awfully nicely furnished, or was rather, but now is pretty well knocked about & has shell holes in it etc.
They started shelling this place just as we got in, but only sent about ½ a dozen which did no harm to us, but killed one man & wounded another man, French peasants, who were living in the local post office & were just getting things together preparatory to clearing out; awful bad luck. They must know troops are here, they are always somewhere in reserve, so they shell it pretty well every day. The church is full of holes, but not as bad as the last place we were at, which hardly had a stone left standing on another.
Lovely day today, & it’s fairly mild now; but I expect we shall get some more cold weather before long. There is’nt much going on here now I fancy, a good deal of promiscuous firing by both sides. We are only a few hundred yards behind the trenches, & we shall be here 3 days, & then go into the trenches for a bit.
By the way I met one of the Townsends a day or two ago, in the sappers, & I recognised him! Rather good for me; he asked how we all were, & said he remembered Dick very well. I’m not sure which one he was, & I forgot to ask his name. I saw him again today, passed him on the road marching; he is running a signal company, like Willis P.
I met a gunner today who said he thought the 28th Divn were at Dunkirk, rather a biff for yesterday’s rumour I told you about being near here! Also one Stephenson, the Divisional field cashier, from whom we draw our pay, is a cousin of Morton & Esmé’s. I met him the other day, & when I signed my name for my pay, I noticed he was Mr Stare-Stare; & afterwards I hear he asked another chap if I was one of a large family & his cousins knew me if I was! I haven’t seen him since, but when I do I’ll tackle him.
Must finish up now. How’s Paul, I haven’t heard from him for a long time. Love to all yr loving son
According to Drake-Brockman, the “deserted and much shelled little village” was Richebourg St Vaast