January 19th 1914 (sic)
Just a line to thank you for your letters and all your good wishes. Hope you are not finding the hospital work too much for you. Though I write very seldom, yet I often think of you, doing your “little bit” for the Empire – it’s probably as valuable, though perhaps not so interesting as some of ours over here in France.
We have been indulging in a week’s rest in a town, but are off again very shortly to the trenches. Rumour, “that lying jade”, has it that we may get some leave in a few weeks’ time, but we cannot put much confidence in any report not actually official. Rumours – the air is full of them and they help to vary the monotony of life in barracks.
You may have heard from Mother that I am taking a commission in the London Scottish, in the battalion in which I have been since leaving England, ie the 1st Battalion; in consequence of this I shall probably get leave in any case to get my equipment. During our last spell in the trenches we have had the same miserable weather and dirty conditions, although of all the troops in our vicinity we had the best position, situated as we were on rising ground dominating flat country, which was crossed with sheets of water in parts.
I am very fit and well – getting fat slowly, as we do not get as much exercise as previously. Unfortunately what we do get is all lumped together – a march of 20 miles, say, in order to arrive at some point in good time. We had “truce of God” near our positions on Xmas Day, though there was little firing between the trenches.
Your affectionate brother