Drummer WM. 19013, 9th Ryl, Sx. Regt, B.E.F, France

Dear Emmie

I received your letter of the 4th inst on the 10th and this is about the first chance I have had of answering it. I am now at Tournai (perhaps) enjoying myself. I went to the pictures with C Gibbs last night and saw “The heart of a lion” Charlie had a touch of the flu but that didn’t stop him from coming out. I am billeted just for these four days at the back of Charlies’ building so we are quite near. Charlie had the same thing happen to him when he was in gas as I had when training in Blighty. A piece of paper got under the air inlet valve and he couldn’t breathe and as he pulled the chemical box out of the bag his mask came off and it’s lucky for him that he is still alive to tell the tail. Of course it is a crime to be gassed like that but I don’t suppose the censor (if there is one) will know or want to know who “Charlie” is. I will send you my nib in the next letter and then you can change it tout l’suit. Ca ne fait sien means “it does not matter” or litterally “This is nothing”. If we get told off by our superiors we say “ca ne fait sien” in a free and easy style. Rather a funny word to use is “razzle” what would you think I meant if I said “I am going down town on the razzle tonight” it sounds a funny word to me but perhaps it is common now in Blighty. French towns are alright as far as looking at the architecture is concerned but there is always a possibility of someone suddenly seizing your hat and disappearing in a doorway with it. This is a rather queer, but in parts a common custom: But if one is informed of the “parts” he can keep wide of them. I have not had it happen to me yet and I don’t suppose it ever will. There is only one thing to do if such a thing happens and that is to go in after it and be careful how you go. Of course you must know what these houses are, cafes generally or to all appearance from the outside but pas bon inside. Well I don’t suppose you want to know anything of this sort so I will change the subject. I had a good day at Lille and heard a jolly good concert party there. An English one, men and women and all civvies. They sang all first class stuff. We were back at Saintegnies again by 10PM otherwise known as 22 o’cl and the next morn at 09.30 we were off to this place. I will close now as a chum of mine has been waiting for about half hour for me so “two to loo” hoping you are in the pink of condition.

from Your Ever Loving Will xxx


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