18 May 1917
I haven’t actually got the last letters beside me so can’t remember the questions I ought to answer – anyway I don’t think there were many – thank you so much for the letters & V’s and Em’s when she comes back in case I don’t write myself – also Aunt Sophys and the delightful box I got from Corris – however I hope to be able to write myself. At present our guns have all gone to the workshops for slight repairs. So we have nothing to do. We might be having a fine time only for army red tape. (and red tabs). Our artillery group got us a fine billet in a town near – and we moved in and were in palatial luxury & comfort for a day – with a more or less civilized town to walk about it and buy things – and bands to listen to <and real parks to stroll about in> and every-thing – but it was only for a day – I certainly find it very hard to keep my patience when talking to these chaps who sit in comfortable offices miles behind the line, with red tabs on, they never even hear a shell – they do the work of an office boy at 15/- a week – and yet you’ve got to stand and listen respectfully while in a thoroughly ill bred & ungentlemanly manner they rack up some finnicking order which prevents men who have done several months hard day & night work and have no prospect of rest for months to come, from getting a few days peace out of range of the guns – in billets which nobody wants to use and which at present simply stand empty.
Stuff had been coming over pretty thick and the batteries all round had been getting pretty heavy casualties, and going back didn’t seem to me fair to the