I really don't feel a scrap like writing.
FRANCE, SOMME, SUNDAY 13th. AUGUST, 1916
I have not been able to write to you for the last two Sundays, but now that we are out for a few days spell, things are a bit more on the road to normal again.
Please let me know if you got my 27th, 28th and 29th letters, also a few postcards. I've got four of your letters to answer up to the 26th June.
That was a strange mistake about Alf Osbourne wasn't it? What crowd is Jim Wilkinson with? I think you told me once but I must have lost his address. A bit rough on poor old Ray Jordan isn't it? I don't remember her well – we were a couple of “doers” I'm afraid at “Miss Palmerston's Academy'. I wish I was a kid again, then I wouldn't be here. I'm no hero.
Cyril, as you will know long before this, has been wounded. I went to his Battalion and made enquiries but they said that he only got slight wounds and that he did splendid work and was to be recommended, so that might mean, and very likely shall, a D.C.M. And also Ernie has been recommended – so the Tuckers are making a name for themselves. Poor old Norm Allan is gone, also the chap that took his place – Charlie McKinnon – Ararat and Stan Fletcher got wounded in the left eye, right arm and both hands. My word, modern war is no joke. It;s just awful. There will be many a sad home in Australia at the present time.
We were inspected by the King a couple of days ago. He hasn't altered much since we last saw him in Park Street off St. Kilda Road that time. He certainly looks older, but not to any extent. We must have looked a lot of artists, for we have not seen our packs or belongings for a good fortnight, and thus no razors, soap or no “nothink” and we were pretty much ragged.
Bob and Dory are still in the best of health and spirits. Dory is Platoon Sergeant now, so is doing fine isn't he?
I have been given a transfer from Headquarters to one of the Companies but at present, I don't know which one I've been allotted to. I tried for a couple of stripes but only got one and am very disappointed indeed – plenty of toil and no extra cash. I thought I was a cert for two but, of course, pride cometh before a fall.
Ernie also has a “Bucksheesh” stripe. The band of course is done for. Only five of us came through the last scruff. Of course, we could have kept on as Stretcher Bearers but it's not much of a job and you can't rise at it, and I think I have been a Private long enough. I didn't mind whilst we had the Band although that only ran a Sergeant and L. Corporal and I'd been promised the L. Corp. job, but it never materialised, but what's the odds. There's no pay and little thanks to it.
We've had a very nice Sunday, a Church service in between two cornfields, followed by Communion. It's great to get a real Sunday occasionally, and what we call a real Sunday in the Army isn't an atom compared to the old Sundays at home, but of course, one never learns to appreciate things until he loses them.
I had a letter from Aunty Lottie yesterday – fancy her making the trip to Victoria. I guess you'll be glad to see her. I forget if she said that Uncle Alex would be going or not.
I really don't feel a scrap like writing. I've got the blues a bit. Dopey, the fellows call it. The 22nd now is a vastly different battalion to the one that left Australia. I must write to Norm Allan's folks too. So I'll say goodbye with love to all. From your affectionate son, Charles.