Dear Mum, Dad and Jack:
Here I am back again after three days of scheming around the country and believe even if it is an Army camp there is no place like home. These huts looked pretty good last night. This scheme was supposed to last until tomorrow, but they finished it last night and we got home about three this morning. It is not like the Army to finish it early and we can’t figure it out. For two days and nights it really rained and did we get wet, just the same as jumping in the river. I slept in a haystack two nights…. One day we started marching at four o’clock and never stopped until ten at night and it was really raining so you can imagine how wet it was. I had the bicycle so didn’t have sore feet, but we went about sixteen miles and it isn’t good walking that far in wet boots and socks. Some of the boys really had bad feet.
I was quite fortunate but if you want to try something tough try riding a bike in a blackout and it was black. Not a light is allowed to be shown so I really had my hands full. You see when they march like that I ride ahead to the crossroads and stop all traffic until the boys cross, ride a mile or so back and tell any stragglers where to go to catch up again and different things. When we are not marching I am with the Major all the time in his jeep. When in action I am called a runner; it is a job with a lot of responsibility. I have to know where every platoon in the Coy is and how to get there to take messages, etc. Here I do clerking and on schemes or in action I am the Major’s runner. I know what is going on all the time though and it makes it darn interesting. I was in the jeep tearing back and forth with the “boss” and his driver when the other fellows were holding a position. Every time we stopped for an hour or more we had to dig in. Every man must have a slit trench six feet in length, four feet deep and two feet wide. We have to dig that in less than an hour—rain or shine, day or night.
We had an enemy this time and it was Limey troops. We really had them going. We would attack and they would withdraw then they would counterattack and that kept up. Officers from other regiments umpire the schemes and cause the casualties, etc.… When a man is picked out for a casualty, a tag is put on him and the stretcher-bearers come and get him and take him to the ambulance and then to hospital. It is all done as realistic as possible. If you get caught in enemy territory they can capture you, search you and hold you prisoner until you escape or are exchanged.
It is a wonder everybody hasn’t got a bad cold but most of us escaped O.K. I haven’t caught one yet anyway. There are rumours of another seven-day scheme starting Tuesday, but have nothing definite on it yet. Boy, I sure hope not, everyone will die of cold and rain if we have to sleep out for seven days. It never went that long in this country without raining and if there is a scheme it will rain seven days.
Well, I just got word that we go to the ranges again tomorrow, but it is only for the day. They really got the urge for pushing us around lately. The orderly room staff is not supposed to go—only on something compulsory—but lately they have been playing the devil with us. I will certainly be glad when Nov. 5th comes along and I can go on leave.
I am out of smokes again and it isn’t good. If some don’t come soon I am going to get mad and stop smoking. Did I hear you say, Oh yeah! I know there are lots on the way, but they take so darn long to get over. I guess the boys in Italy have the priority but it is only right.…
How is Jack doing in school? Does he like it as much as ever? I would like to see a picture of him, I bet he grew a lot since I last saw him. I put quite a little weight on too since I got this job, it doesn’t all wear away by doing battle drill and marching….
The best in the world to you all,
Lots of Love,