we have always been a very lucky battalion – hope it keeps up

FRANCE, SOMME 21st. JULY 1916

Just a few lines in answer to your welcome epistles of 15th and 21st May. I haven't been able to get away my last few lines to you, so will include this in the same envelope. Glad you saw Captain Craig, he's a real bonza, one of the best. We were very sorry to lose him indeed.

There is not much news. We march about from place to place, rarely staying more than two nights in one village. We are in reserve and keep shifting to where we might be wanted but so far we haven't got into it, although some of the First Division are in. There is terrific fighting down here. We were very lucky at Armentieres, for a couple of days after the New Zealanders took over from us, they got heavily attacked and eventually lost for a while the Salieut where I spent ten of the worst days of my soldier's life. They lost a lot of men with gas, shells and hand to hand fighting. We expected them to attack us several times whilst we were in, for we got some very heavy bombardments, you bet. I had my “shootin' iron” pretty handy, with one already in the funnel and more in the tin box, also some “mills” which are worse than an 18 pounder shell.

The 4th Division also got badly mauled at Fleurbaix, where we were at first when arrived in France and an old Colonel of ours was killed – Col. Norris. He came to us out in the desert, but was taken away again after only being about six weeks with us, but we have always been a very lucky battalion – hope it keeps up.

I will close now, hoping we will be able to get our mail away soon and hoping all are well.

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