It is Mothers Day and my thoughts are with you as always, I wish that I could be with you on this special day instead of being here in this hell hole which Belgium has become.
I miss you little Delson and Christopher so very much and I pray for the day that this war comes to an end, please pass my love on to my two baby brothers and kiss them for me, mum.
We arrived at the front line just over a week ago and the smell was so bad that many of the men were sick, to describe the smell would be an impossible task but some of the causes will give you an idea of just how bad it is.
Raw sewage from the open cess pit, body odour from men who haven’t had a decent wash for weeks, dead bodies rotting in shallow graves and laying out in the open in no mans land, the smell of exploded bombs and the odour of Mustard gas which lingers for a few days after the attack, stagnant mud cigarette smoke and cooking smells all add to the unpleasantness of the trenches.
They say that we will get used to the smell over time but it feels like it will never leave us at the moment.
The smell attracts rats they are everywhere you look and they seem to be unafraid to show themselves, there is so much waste here that the rats are thriving and some of them are as big as Mildred our cat.
I shaved my head and my pubic hair yesterday because my hair was crawling with lice most of the men have been scratching and itching almost since the day we got here. These lice’s are small insects which feed off the blood of their victims.Their bites cause intense itching which leads to blisters, boils, and trench fever(similar to typhus).
The rain is a constant companion flooding the trenches and turning the floor into mud it is so bad that some of the men are getting sores on their feet and can hardly walk with the pain.
Sleep his so hard to come by with the constant booming and banging of the shells from both sides, my bed is a bunk which has been placed in a dug out section of the trench, a mud roof a mud floor and the constant theat of a stray shell keep me awake at night.
I am scared my darling Emily, my life is under constant threat, bullets randomly fired at us, shells exploding every minute of the day, men are dying all around me if not from a stray bullet or shell they are falling with fever and disease.
Four of the boys in my squad have died already they went through basic training with me and i considered them good friends, my best friend John shot himself in the foot just to get out of here and away from the trenches, he will be treated in a field hospital and sent home.
We are going over the top tonight climbing out of the trench and attacking the enemy trenches
A and B sqaud went last night and most of them were killed or wounded before they even got 10 yards out of the trench, it is barbaric and a futile waste of human life but the powers that be seem to think that it is the way forward and keep sending those poor men and boys to their deaths.
I will close now and pray that this is not the last letter that I will ever send to you my darling, I long to be back at home with you and the children.