18 Feb 1916
My dear Mother
A postcard from me should have reached you by now. I wrote one directly I arrived, but I had not time to write more than one letter. I joined the battalion at the place where I expected to; their arrangements had worked out exactly to time-table. I found that they had had rather a rough time since I left. The newspaper reports of artillery activity in recent weeks were not without justification. In particular an aeroplane bomb had caused considerable havoc in the Section - killing one man and wounding two badly. Corporals Banks and Pattison were also just touched - the merest of scratches however, not enough to keep them away from duty. That was lucky, for if they had had to go to hospital we should have been left very short of NCOs - I being away also.
I arrived in the evening of Wednesday and found that we were fixed up in the same old billet that we had three months ago. Old Mme Delvart hailed me with great cordiality and they seemed thoroughly glad to see us there again. Alas! Our stay there was short. Next morning came a Medical Officer to say that one of the men who had been in the billet previously had been found to be suffering from an infectious disease. So out we had to go double quick and move into another billet with all our traps. And billets are not apt to be very good when the cream has been skimmed off a town by troops that are established there before one sets out to search. However we are not fixed up so badly now. We four (four now that Craig has left us) have a small room at the back of a house kept by an old dame who is absolutely enthusiastic in her efforts to make us comfortable. She has a son at the war and makes that her excuse for doing many little kindnesses for us. Refuses (most flatly) to take payment for anything. Sends us in coffee (some of the best I ever tasted) night and morning, and soup (equally excellent soup) at dinner every day. This battalion has a very good reputation wherever it goes for orderliness and friendly behaviour and it stands us in good stead. Often and often we have been able to get billets in places where other troops are sternly refused; on the score of our good reputation. This was a case in point. Madame started by that there was "pas de logement", went on by saying that she could have no truck with soldiers of any kind, and finally, on noticing our badge, conceded that she had "un petit place pour des soldats très gentils". Evidently we have proved ourselves to be très gentils.
I have already written one letter and the others are getting impatient with me. They accuse me of writing love letters - untrue this time I am afraid, for I have not had time this evening.
I am anxiously waiting for letters to come now. Perhaps I may get one tomorrow.
Love to all from