Once again the scribe attempts to scrib. We are touring again with our faces to the foe and attempting to get the “Push Smile” on once more, but the result is an awfully sickly kind of a grin. With three of four lots of reinforcements we are still only half strength. We marched about eight kilometers this morning and are about the same distance from the beginning of the front.
We have Church Parade in a few minutes, which makes two Church Services running – last Sunday and today – which is unusual.
We have had the service, a combined one, 23rd and 22nd together. Our chaplain took the first portion of the Service, the Rev. Bladen gave the sermon and spoke on “Helping the weaker brother”. Generals Birdwood, Legge, Gellibrand were present and at the close presented a number of medals, D.C.M.s and Military Medals. Jim Strain, a stretcher bearer, receiving on of the latter. He has done some fine work, and he has been mentioned three times, I think, once on the Peninsula on the occasion of the gas episode, once at Armentieres and again at Pozieres, so it is time he got his due. I'd never known of the Military Medal until now, it is a sort of second class D.C.M. And during a speech Genl. Birdwood said some flattering things re:Stretcher Bearers and Runners (dispatch carriers). The 23rd Band was also present and didn't do too badly. A band helps the singing wonderfully but it hurts to listen to a band. I'd much sooner be tooting. We marched past at the close and tomorrow we march in. There is to be a short song service followed by Communion at 6 o'clock, which I shall attend along with Ernie. A great cheering went up a little while ago, I thought perhaps the King was riding past again and then I thought peace had been declared but it turned out some reinforcements had arrived – six to our Battalion and one to our Company, so now we will be able to great things with those extra men, I don't think.
I do wish the peace would soon hurry up. You don't know how sick we all are of the whole business.
This morning while we were having a rest along the road about 10am, we were wondering what you were doing and decided that you would be just about to sing the Benediction in the good old church, and I tried to listen and hear it, but it was no use. Environment and everything is dead against imaginings. Occasionally we get a good night dream, but there is the inevitable awakening next morning.
I have just come in from Communion. We had a lovely little service beneath the trees, about twenty of us. Miss Upton's brother heard the singing and also came over, although he did not stay to Sacrament though I wanted him to. There is a lovely prayer in our Service Book for absent friends and loved ones. I'll make a copy of it and send it to you. I really haven't time tonight as it's getting dusk, and I want to write to Ettie, and , if I can manage it, to Dad also. So I must say Goodbye with much love to yourself, Dad and the kiddies. From your affectionate son, Charles.
P.S. I sent a cable home about ten days ago. This is in case you didn't receive it.