Monday, February 24, 2014

William Laurie Field's War - Part 9

The first signs of Spring.
“Thank you very much for the parcel which was very nice. It’s always a joy to receive parcels, and the milk is A1, as tea is not extra without milk. … What a treat it is to be in a large town. I seemed to enjoy myself to perfection, by merely walking about the streets, looking in the shops, and mixing with the crowd of people. It hardly seems possible the Germans are only (the next few lines have been censored). We went to a cafĂ© this afternoon, and had a good meal. We had two eggs, bread and butter and cakes, just as in England, and I spent one of the happiest hours since I have been in France. … We are billeted in one of the best places we have struck as yet, we are in a girls’ school, but there are no girls here now. We are in what evidently is their sleeping quarters. Little divisions about 4 square yards, partitioned off and a curtain opposite the wall; we have four soldiers in each. We are on the bare floor; there is also a cupboard in each compartment, which we use for our day’s rations. I don’t expect we shall stay here long, too good to last any length of time.”

“March 5th I am glad to say we have given in our fur coats, as they are so heavy to carry all the while, and going through the trenches is awfully fatiguing - one gets caught up here and there. We used to have to go through a communication trench nearly a mile long before getting into the trenches proper. Previously we used to go round by the road, but one fellow was killed by a stray bullet, so we had to dig a trench after that, to save going round. Every day we were not in the trenches proper, we had to come right up and improve or dig deeper, and when we came away this communication trench was about eight feet deep, from the top of the parapet, and naturally as safe as a house - even from shrapnel shells, still I would often have rather risked going round by the road, because marching in full pack along a trench, is downright hard work. … I am glad we are resting, because I think we deserve it, but I expect things will become a little more exciting when the better weather comes. I hope we drive the bounders back, but when you are right away from shells, etc., and talk about it, everything seems quite O.K., and you feel quite brave, but get back again with shells bursting all around you - well, you soon begin to feel a little different. I am so glad you send cocoa always in your parcels, we can make our cocoa in the trenches, and the best of it is, it need not boil like making tea. You guessed about right where we had been. I have been out here four months now, and had not been home for a month before I came out. What a long time it seems.” Wolverton Express 1915 Mar. 12th

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