Friday, February 14, 2014

William Laurie Field's War - Part 3

The letters continue

Dec. 10th 1914 “It was kind of ---- to send me addressed envelopes, but we went a route march the other day when it was quite warm, had on our over-coats, full marching order, valises, extras and besides our fur jackets, and we came back to say the least of it, “warm,” and the envelopes in my pocket were, “stuck up.” The fur coats are splendid things, they are worth £3 a piece. Thick fur and full sleeves, we look like “Teddy Bears,” in them. The fur is long, about four inches and makes one look a foot bigger, so you can tell what fine things they are. I have never seen anything like them in England, unless it be on chauffeurs. They come down just below the tunic; I wish we could bring them home to England, but they are sure not to let us keep them. The fur they are made of is not common, some of them look lovely. Mine is grey and white, but some have dark brown, we could not possibly be cold in them, the only thing, will be carrying them. There have been no mails for two days, so have not heard from you for quite a long time. We are still here - but the weather, although muggy, seems to be getting cooler. Cannot send you a photograph of self in fur coat as there does not seem to be any photographers about here. I had a letter from “A,” she said that “B” was quite upset because the “Herts” had been chosen, and he supposed the War Office had forgotten that there was such a regiment as the Bucks and Oxon Territorials, but judging from what we have been through he need not be so keen, until the Spring. This game is not so bad in fine weather. I was speaking to a soldier to-day who had just left the trenches, and he told me they were up to their waists in water - they only came out last night and had been in a line captured from the Germans. One thing, they had only been in three days and then came back here. I believe that is the only possible way troops will be able to stand it at all, give them three or four days and then back in the warm and dry for a week or two. I believe we have got the troops and that is how we are going to beat the Germans, but of all the trying times out here, our two weeks in the trenches have been the most severe as regards weather. I expect we shall soon be “carol singing.” Most of our officers have had a few days leave to home, wish we had the chance. Would not home seem a treat, after roughing it for five months. We went on a small march to ---- two miles away, and I met a fellow in the Oxford and Bucks, from Wolverton, named Henson, they used to live lower down Church Street. He saw me first, and I wondered who it was calling out “Hullo Laurie,” we were pals directly with a vengeance, he said he had been out here since second week in August. We only had a quarter of an hour, so I could not say much but it seemed jolly nice. I expect by the time this arrives the “clogs” will have landed, if ever they do, they are Belgian, I got them from some ruins.”

“December 14th - I received your parcel this morning also letter and very nice too, we had an alarm this morning to get packed up at once and ready to move at any moment, of course, a lot of parcels arrived for our company and we had to demolish right and left because with our fur coats which take up a lot of room we cannot carry a stick more than we are able to pack. I put some chocs in my valise, but we had to eat the pudding and everything being upside down we had to eat it cold, it was very nice indeed but I wish we could have had it hot, but here we never know two minutes before hand when we shall be off. We are expecting the order any moment, as I write this. … Could you send me a few ---- tablets, we do miss sugar in our tea, and as it is always rank and having no sugar or milk, it is almost undrinkable. … Your letter made me feel quite happy and I did wish I was back with you all. … I have received all your letters and parcels and a letter from “R” in Canada. One thing, I have plenty of chocs to take with me into the trenches this time, when we go. We had nothing last time, nothing to eat, no smokes or anything, please send me some “Chairman” periodically, as I like that and although they issue tobacco, it is too rank for most of us. Matches too are wonderfully welcomed out here, French matches are not worth calling matches. … P.S. - We did not move after all. I had a fair sized piece of pudding left (in case), and had it hot, it was delicious, it (almost) made me feel I was at home. I don’t mind so much if we do not spend Christmas Day and Boxing Day in the trenches, but some poor fellows will have to, and it is as likely to be our Brigade as well as any other.” Wolverton Express 1914 Dec. 25th

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