My Darling Amy,
I hope this letter finds both you and the boys fit and well. I know that I said I would write every day, but it has just not been possible for the past couple of days, I hope you haven’t been worrying too much? We moved into a new position yesterday. I am now in a place called the Somme, It’s somewhere in the north of France. This morning I received two of your letters, dated the 3rd and 7th December in addition to the package you sent. Will you thank the boys for the lovely pictures that they drew and give them a kiss and cuddle from me, I only wish that I was there to do it myself. The socks and knitted scarf were also a much needed surprise, thank you, and the birthday cake looked wonderful. However, as I was dishing it out to the lads the blasted Hun decided to launch a gas attack on us. In my haste to put my gas respirator on I dropped the cake into a puddle of mud. I’m sorry, I know how much love and time went into making it, but on the bright side the cat sized rats seemed to enjoy it very much! The Battalion that we have relieved in this new position had only been here 24 hours, and they couldn’t wait to get out of here. Whilst doing the handover I was speaking with one of their N.C.O’s, he explained that the reason they were in such a hurry to leave was because of what they found whilst widening the trench. He said his boys had been vomiting whilst carrying out the task; it seems that bodies were being unearthed with every shovel full of dirt that they removed. For that reason I am thankful that it took us longer than expected to get here, as finding the contorted and broken bodies of men and boys would test the resolve of any man in this cemetery we call a battlefield. At lunchtime today I received orders saying that I am to take out a reconnaissance patrol tonight after dark, which I do not relish the thought of. I can already hear the Boche babbling on in their balderdash language from where I am sitting now. They cannot be any more...
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