10 June 1917
My dear Father
After a big strafe there is usually a considerable slackening off of work also of behind the line artillery activity. This occasion is no exception; there has been a notable diminution of both. For which we may be truly thankful.
Everybody is enormously pleased at the course of events. The whole Army went in with tail right up: a general notion that there would be no hitch pervaded everybody. And expectation was fully realised. Our own fellows went in like a crowd to a football match. And I was with a battalion of another Division who were just leaving the support position to go up and over: they were in such a holiday mood that they were ready to go over the top every day till further notice and twice on Sundays. It is a magnificent change from the state of affairs at the Somme, when men went up with a good heart but in the almost certain knowledge that it was going to be sheer slaughter.
I wonder whether you heard the mines. Here, strangely enough, one could only detect a faint rumble above the crash of guns. But the earth rocked most mightily for a full half minute. All through this war I have noticed similar curiosities about sound at close quarters. A bombardment is generally more audible at twenty miles than at two.
Glad to hear good reports of garden and orchard. Perhaps with great luck, I might be able to pick a plum or two or a few apples this y ear. It depends on the regularity with which they carry on with leave I should like to see the pool garden. Are there any of those low growing yellow flowers that you had there and that I admired so much?
So Kath and Jack have fixed on the Bedford Park house. They were still awaiting a reply to their offer when Kath wrote to me last. It ought to be a very convenient district, I shall appreciate its advantage over Sydenham in its nearness (comparative) to Edgware if I get another dose of leave.
The talk is all of a coming Russian offensive. Some people are dubious, but I believe it will come and that it will produce marked effects. Another Galician drive would let Cadorna through to Trieste if it did nothing else. The chief danger would be a German counterstroke by amphibious operations towards Riga; but I doubt whether there is much margin to spare for German counterstrokes now.
Aunt Lottie sent me a local paper with an account of the Folkestone raid. All parts of the town seem to have had a dose. What a pity that no scheme for warning had been set up in readiness. Casualties from air-raids will never be very great if people are under the best available cover. Except the machines come over by hundreds. The succeeding raid was well handled. But they won’t always go home via the Dunkirk squadrons. They will infringe Dutch neutrality.
Hope to receive that further letter from Boo soon. I have been very much interested in his accounts of affairs out there. When are they going to give Boo a decoration? He has earned one by now surely. Perhaps they will dole him out an MC or something in the list of Mesopotamian honours that is announced to appear soon.
Love to all from