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David to May  June 27th 1917

We are billeted in huts again, but such huts that with a small stretch of imagination you might think you were in a most fashionable hotel in the heart of London. They are divided off into rooms, mine being about 6 feet by 8. It is furnished in the most costly, not to say luxurious style, the furniture consisting of a small table covered with a piece of brown paper by way of a doyley, (isn’t that the word) a cane chair, (it stands or rather reclines on three legs so that you have to sit against the wall to make up for the fourth) a handsome and charming set of bookshelves, (made out of ration boxes) two other small shelves and about two dozen nails driven in in a beautiful pattern all round the room.

There is no carpet on the floor, but it is most smoothly   [censored]   the cracks in the walls and everywhere else it can and doesn’t by any means confine itself to the floor.

The partitions are decorated with sundry pairs of breeches, coats, haversacks, towels etc. etc. and my valise is stretched down the centre of the floor, so that you can fall over it at any moment.

This morning we were to have gone out to do some shooting but somebody else had got the range so that we couldn’t. Instead we did physical drill for a while, and then I started my platoon playing various things.

We first of all had a relay race, half the platoon against the other half. Then I started them on each other’s backs one against the other the idea being for each pair to pull the other down. After that we had. “Sergeant Major Murphy says” which is a game in which you drill the men, prefacing each command with “Sergeant Major Murphy says __                ” upon which the men act on the command, but if you give a command without this they stand still. Of course you catch a number both ways and they fall out until you only have about 2 or 3 remaining.

It is all rather good fun and the men thoroughly enjoy it. After that we had bayonet fighting and then some practice in fire control. Must stop now.



June 27th 1917

My Dearest,

I have been obedient again, (obedience is so ingrained now that I can’t help myself) and have carried out your instructions to the letter and written to Maud.

I offered her my heartfelt congratulations, telling her at the same time that you had told me to do so. You did, didn’t you?


Just got your letter (23rd). I am glad you didn’t go up on Saturday, but you don’t seem to take a holiday for all that.

Thanks very much for buying those things for me. I wish you would keep the receipt for me. It doesn’t matter about the dividends going to Balham as I have asked Mum to open all letters for me and she pays all these things into my London County Bank account.

It is good of you to take all the trouble you do with those socks and to allow for the Belgian method of washing them. You will have to be thanked very thoroughly tonight.