I got another letter from you during the week, although I should have got two. There is one roaming about France somewhere. I was glad to hear Jim Wilkinson has joined up. It might shake him up a bit, he wants it badly enough. Doris Hocking seems to be always in trouble doesn't she? Her mater must have a lively time.
Judging by your letter, Bill must have a permanent job at Caulfield, and if he is wise, he'll stick there.
Things are still jogging along in these parts. We were marching out four evenings ago on our usual nightly work, when all of a sudden, we noticed our big captive balloon drifting along towards the German lines. I guessed something was wrong, but the general impression was that they were shifting her position. Anyhow, any doubts as to what the mater was were soon dispelled, for first of all a parcel was thrown out, then out jumped a man holding a parachute. He fell for a couple of hundred feet before the chute opened out. Then later on another chap did the same, and as the parachutes did their work well, they were in imminent danger of falling the other side of the German lines, and we could see them swing themselves around to try and make their fall faster. We don't know how they eventually got on, for the wind took them right over the other side of Armentieres. They must have taken a quarter of an hour to fall a mile. Then Fritz opened on our belated balloon with his artillery, but his shooting was rotten, to say the least of it, and the last we saw of it, it was floating out of range of his guns. Perhaps it will go on and on until it's back here again. There was no breeze to cause it to break away. I don't know how it happened. Perhaps that chap that was holding the string bent down to pull up his sock or tie his boot lace. First thing next morning though, we had another floating in its place. They must keep a box full of them handy.
That night we marched eight miles to our job. I don't know what their idea is at all, for the work itself, laying telephone wires underground, only takes a little over an hour to do. The sixteen mile march is the killer, but the next night we only had to do seven miles and hardly got there before a chap got it in the head. We had to take him over a mile to the nearest aid post. He was buried the next day, and in half an hours time we start again on our little stroll. They are making up for the easy time we had when we first arrived here. Seven miles there and seven miles back is too much.
Last Friday I was able to get to the Y.M.C.A. and heard Gipsy Smith. He's great – same build and stamp of a man as Mr. Dennis, but one of the clearest and most convincing speakers I have ever heard. There was close on two hundred soldiers there, and some mighty hard doers amongst them. You could have heard a pin drop. It seemed as if you must listen to every word. You couldn't let your thoughts wander if you were tired. He spoke on the words “He died that we might be forgiven. He died to make us good” and if there was any chap there that came away without feeling better for it, I don't know what he can be made of. He's speaking again next Friday, but I think we will be out working.
I got a letter from George Gordon, who is about here somewhere, and he enclosed a letter for me to read, which was sent to him from a chap at Nivens. He says”Mr. Goble had a letter from Charlie Tucker a few weeks ago. He has been under fire for some time and has had some very narrow escapes. Three or four times he has had to carry wounded soldiers away, and while they were taking them away from the firing line, they have been shot again. So he has been in the thick of it alright, but has escaped so far.” There now, what do think of that for a yarn? That's the dizzy limit isn't it? Goodness knows who starts these yarns. I'm sure I never told Mr. Goble that. They must think I'm an awful liar; for very few folks would believe that sort of thing.
Have you got your Anzac book yet? Yours was to be sent straight from London. I could only get one sent like that and had to have the others delivered to me. I don't know how much of my letters have been censored from Gallipoli, but if there was not too much crossed out, you will see and read many of the things I mentioned. (Please tell me when my letters get rubbed out in part.)