32507/9th Batt Y &L
12 Platoon L.G.S.
I have received your long letter and tin of salmon which was very good. I was sorry to hear the bad news about Uncle and Jack Bonser. I did not know he was died but I heard he was wounded very bad. I was glad... (turn over)... to hear that you and Kate went to the funeral it was the least you could do. I am also pleased Mrs Higgins liked the letter which I wrote. We are on that part of the line you seen in the paper and it is quite true except for the long march after but they left the rum bottle out which they never forget to take .... (new page..) ... Their is five or six parts of the river they have to cross before they get to the other side it is very wide and the farthest away from the enemy I have been when in the front line. I have not had the job yet but might get it any time a fighting patrol mostly as a lewis gun and three or four of the team...(turn over ...) with them our batt as had no luck yet, mostly get spotted. I was pleased you found Willie and Connie alright, but we can except (expect?) dad being bad I think he has been very lucky I hope he gets better. I hope the war is finished before you have to come out their are plenty of younger men.
Write as soon as possible.
With Love from
This is a strange letter that doesn't quite make sense. I've indicated the ends of pages so that the reader can make their own judgement as to any interpretation. I wonder whether there's a page missing or the rum bottle that was "left out" has something to with it. I hope the latter!
According to the Battalion's War Diary, Harry was in the front line when he wrote this. I suspect it was a bit calmer than the front line in Flanders.
A Milestone. Yesterday, 28th January, Harry's blog recorded its millionth page load! While not too exceptional in WWW terms, it is way beyond anything I imagined when I started publishing the letters.
Note for the enthusiast. "B.E.F. Italy" (British Expeditionary Force - Italy) has just changed to "I.E.F." (Italian Expeditionary Force) in Harry's letters' address. I gather this was an "official" change to reflect the involvement of the other allied armies. I've seen quite a discussion on one of the forums! BL