A chap gets the blues pretty often

The Royal Dugout

It seems no time since I wrote to last week, although the days drag the weeks pass quickly enough. There has been nothing doing since I wrote last except that Winter seems to have set in for its been some cold lately and wet a treat, and a chap gets the blues pretty often and want to get back home, but there is no leave in this business unless you stop something, and then of course there's the danger that it might be “final leave”. Our reinforcements are a long time coming and we are getting very short of men. Sickness has taken an awful lot away either to the field hospital here or sent away somewhere by ship and then of course there are the causalties which, thank goodness, only average one or two a day.

I don't know if the Turks have run out of shells but even Beachy Bill hardly fires a shot now, and I think that would keep her going if they posibly could, for it commands the landing at Anzac and as it is a very busy spot was always sure of getting a few chaps. We have not had a shell for three days now which is more than Abdul can say for he gets his pretty regularly (he's getting some now) real good ones, he gets mostly Lazy Bills (6 inch Howitzers) they are fired right up in the air and drop straight down on him, we can often follow their course now and again he gets a few Larry Lauders (9-2s) a present from a passing battleship. They are beauts we call them by that name on account of the noise they make when they go off. CRA-A-A-A-ACK

We are so short of men that the QuarterMasters staff have to come up to the firing line at night now and do their turn. Ernie amongst them, and now he says that soldiering is not what it is cracked up to be, he does two shifts of two hours each during the night but the weather is cold and its a freezing job but it is only till our reinforcements come.

I was laying in my bunk this morning when I heard a pick, pick going on...What oh? I thought the Turks have sapped under us and then I had visions of a ride through the air in the near future so I enquired of the possessor of the next door dug out and he said he had heard it and I'm looking around and found that is was some of our own fellows making their winter quarters in a communication trench not far away so I felt much happier. Anyhow we are right under the Turks trenches and he will get un unexpected rise shortly.

Yesterday, a bit to our right, we got the Turks napping we made a bit of a demonstration to which the Turks made no reply, so a few hundred chaps with fixed bayonettes went over to enquire the reason and captured two lines of trenches. The Turks got on the scene too late of course we did not have it all our own way but their supports were not ready so their trenches are ours now, also some prisoners.

I have been making my place waterproof as much as possible lately. I have some galvinised iron and sides of biscuit tins in parts and have heaped earth on top so most of the rain will stop outside and all around the strip I sleep on I have made a trench so that if the water does ooze out too quickly it wont swamp me. I have got a really good dug out and I don't mind facing a winter here if I am sure of us stopping in this place but the chances are that after blowing Abdul up we'll go and capture what is left of him and his trenches and then I'll have to dig another hole, but whats the good of meeting trouble half way.

We have given up experimenting with cookery now and limit ourselves to three dishes porridge (ground biscuits) when we can get condensed milk, pancakes and boiled onions thickened with flour. We are having onions tonight, they are our favourite dish here and go just the thing, the flour thickening improving them wonderfully.

If you know of any dishes we can make out of the few ingredients at our disposal trot them along. We have flour, onions, bully beef, pepper and salt to work on, but now the cooks do not treat us too badly for we have fresh meat nearly everyday and we have had bread issued every day this week so we are not too badly treated. Still I'd give a pair of my old boots to be home for Christmas dinner. Fancy putting in Christmas here, it will be lovely, but its a comfort to know that the first five years are the worst.

I went over to see Ralph a few nights agao and he looked splendid, the best I have ever seen him although he said he had not been too good lately but was feeling just the thing, then. I have not seen Dorey, the twenty third are still at __________ (*censored).

Harry Ivory is in the Field hospital here with gastritis. I had a letter from Sister Ricketts a couple of days ago and she said that Alf Osborne was here somewhere. I would like to find out where. She also said she would like to be here too but I'm a fraid its hardly the place for ladies, although in France, some of the nurses are pretty close up, but here every place is within range.

I had a letter from Miss Hey and a parcel containing a lovely pair of socks and some paper and envelopes. Aunty Effie wrote to me a couple of mails ago and said that she was sending me a scarf but I'm afraid its gone somewhere else, on the whole I'm very lucky with regards my parcels for hers is the only one that has gone astray, most of the fellows complain about non delivery of parcels.

Wish I was home for the Anniversary, today is Henley Day, I think. Well you will go being a soldier. I hope you are well and there is not the slightest reason to worry over me.

With love.

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