I got your letter of 27th July yesterday. I am glad you liked the ANZAC book. We were told when it was published that it was only available to soldiers. It’s interesting to those who have been to the place. All the pictures are familiar to us. In many places the bit of wit would be lost on any but those who saw the customs and would make it much dryer otherwise. Poor Hill 60. Nothing more of any use can be done in respect to it but pray for those who are still there. That’s where I first saw blood shed and it flowed to the tune of hundreds of lives per minute. But it is past.
A Battalion at rest is true to life. The scenery over there is good, but it seems too flat in the pictures. Poor W.Salmon had bad luck. It shows how easy it is for a man to be killed. G.Low got wounded recently in the legs, but he has his life which is a lot to get out with. I met R. Hore recently. He is doing well and looking well. We have seen some more of France. It is an interesting country but it has been put to pretty bad use. We are very lucky to be able to settle disputes away from our own home. The country that has been fought in gets very badly smashed up. Villages become brick dust. Hardly a brick is left intact.
It is starting to get cold. We expect it will get very cold in Winter. The Spring is very fine but rather too wet to be comfortable. At this business anyhow, wet makes it pretty miserable. We have recently been given a blanket. Before we only had our great coat, oil sheet or ground sheet for a bed which means we had to sleep in our full dress and we can’t keep anywhere clean and parasites, lice – wretched beasts are with everyone. They are many times worse than fleas and thrive on filth. Imagine having to go over a week without being able to take any clothes off. When we get back from the line we can get a bath of some kind . Sometimes we get real food and a bath of some kind. Often we stand in the air and use a sponge with water from a water bottle. Better than none, but a bath’s a real luxury. Of course we get a lot more time out of the line than we spend in – about three times- standing time in villages where we can buy tinned fruits, biscuits etc. and there are YMCA huts all over the place. It is strange that in this country that is almost covered in fruit we can’t buy it fresh except at heavy prices 5d for a pear, 3d for and orange. The tinned stuff is good, especially with a tin of condensed milk- a favourite meal after a shift of fairly rough food. We don’t like the Belgians. The general opinion is a pretty poor one.
Love to all, STID