down here we can poke out our tongues to Fritz with impunity

GERMAN DUGOUT, 24th AUGUST 1916

Dear Mother,

We are well into it again but at present our company is resting preparatory to a bit of a stunt tonight. We are camped in one of Fritz's old trenches and his lovely dugouts come in very handy indeed. We are about thirty feet under and thirteen of us are camped in a three roomed affair. My word, Fritz must have lived in fine style. The biggest shell made would not reach us down here. We've had a few 12 inches around, but beyond making our back teeth rattle, whilst down here we can poke out our tongues to Fritz with impunity, but of course we feel otherwise inclined when out amongst them.

I've just received your welcome epistle of July 4th, am glad your got the Anzac book O.K. I did order two, but later on we found out that they would only send one for us, but I bought five others – Auntie Effie, Ettie, Sr. Ricketts, Miss Couch, Amy, Mr. Carey. At least Ernie and I between us sent most of them. I've received Lester's drawing of Abdul and think it is magnificent. Aren't I proud that we've a prodigy in the family? He will make a name for us someday.

Electric light, eh! “Some dog” as you say, but really Mother, where are you learning such dreadful expressions from? Not me this time, so that's something I can't be blamed for, but it is an exceedingly handy installation, and if carefully watched, can be very much cheaper than gas. We've had electric light here at one time, but on account of the stirring times recently in these parts, it hardly works like it used to.

If I get through tonight's stunt we are going back for a rest. There are very few of us “old heads” left now. We have had our 11th reinforcements and are still less than 50% full strength.

I have really no news to tell you. I'm sorry to hear that you haven't been well and hope that with the warmer weather you will be alright again. It's so unusual for you to be sick, and thank goodness, I take after you. I've only paraded sick twice, and they were for Rheumatiz (how do you spell it?) so that's not a bad record. I've been bruised from shells at times, but no bleed. Once I was stunned, but except for a bit of a headache, was soon all serene again.

I will now close hoping in a few days I will be able to send another cable home to say I'm O.K. or nothing worse than a Blighty.

With much love to all, Les, Oll, Mabel, Bill, Dad and yourself.

I remain, your affectionate son, Charles

In case Aunty Lottie is still there, please give her my love and tell her I received her letter and will answer it as soon as poss, hoping Uncle Alex and all are quite well and enjoying the trip.

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