Dear Emmie

I am now sitting on some straw in the loft of a barn just waiting for church-parade. Of course there are no C of E churches here so I suppose we will have an open air service. I am going to H.C. this morning at 12 o’cl it will be the first time since I left Colchester. I met C.Gibbs last night he is stationed at another village about three miles from here. They are having a much easier time than we are; our first parade is 6.45 in the morning and another one at 9 o’cl until 12.30: I do not attend the latter one as I am on S.B. course but I think it is a long time for men who are out of the line for a rest. There is also a parade from 2 till 3.30 in the afternoon for organised games. For some reason or other church parade is washed out so I will proceed with this letter. I would like you to send me some “ink tablets” s’il vous plait. This is a sample of only one in a pen. I think two would make a better colour but “beggars can’t be choosers”. I had this one given to me. I would like to know the general opinion of this last affair we cannot get a paper here. This is rather an old fashioned town they have a town crier and the shepherds blow horns to collect their sheep like we have bugle calls to fall in etc: Women and girls wear no head-gear; sometimes they tie a kerchief round their heads which looks like a monks hat. They mostly wear clogs which doesn’t improve their walk at all. My friend has a job in the orderly room and he has a lot of work to do which keeps till 10 and 4 o’cl at night. Our food is fair and the tea the cooks make is farely good but being in tin cans it does not taste so good as it would out of china cups. I am sorry to say that H.C. has been washed out I suppose the clergyman has been unable to come. I was offered a lance-corporal’s stripe the other day but I refused it so as I could go on S.B. I have not heard from you yet but I hope to have a letter by Monday. It is very cold here but I dare say it will turn warmer soon. I broke the glass of my watch the other day but soon had it replaced at a watch-makers in the village. I will let you hear from me as often as I can but we have no post box and sometimes we miss the corporal when he comes round for letters. I have spoken to some of the boys of the 52nd who have been up the line and one would think that they had been on a beanfeast to hear them talk. One boy was hit in the arm and also the first and second finger if is right hand and he still stuck to his machine gun and when I saw him he hadn’t had any medical aid: his fingers were nearly better but his arm was a bit sore with a bit of shrapnel in it.

My address is W.M.19073 A Coy. 3 Plat 9th R.S.Rt B.E.F. France. Please write often; I will every day of I can but I think that is rather imposs. Field cards are issued to us about four a week but I have not seen a blue envelope yet. Well my dear I must conclude now and “Que dieu vous lénisse”

With Fondest Love

From Yours Ever

Will xx

P.S. Please remember me to Ma & Pa.

[Transcriber's note: Letter is incorrectly dated 14th May. Should be 14th April].

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