My dear Mum & Dad,
Very many thanks for the Birthday parcel, which reached me safely on Friday last – a day too late for the Mail; & considering the journey it was in quite decent condition & the chocolates even were not melted. The pipe is awfully nice & the cheese, though it sweated right through the box, was none the worse for it.
Today (Monday 28th) we have had a pretty severe earthquake, & I am afraid we shall have news of serious damage somewhere or other not far from here. It happened at 12.15 (noon) & didn’t take many seconds to get everyone out of the Bungalows which were shaking like leaves though built of stone & the noise, which seemed to come from the centre of the earth resembled 20 express trains going over a bridge. “C” Company walls are very much split, some of the window-frames fallen in, & “D” Company cook-house chimney stack fell & the Orderly Room walls have large cracks in them. This is a Hell of a Country isnt it, there was an earthquake here only 13 years ago (April 1903). Most of the fellows here said it made them feel sea-sick, & it makes your knees feel as though you have done a 10 mile climb up hill.
We seem a bit at a stand-still on the West Front now don’t we & I see that the Germans are doing all they can to prevent us advancing before next Spring, and that, I suppose is how this wretched War will continue to drag on, each year hoping that the next one will see a great Offensive during the Summer that will finish the job.
I understand that our men who went home “Time ex” have come out to the 2/4th Dorsets at Dalhousie, but I haven’t heard from any of them yet; I also heard that Archie Baker was prevented coming by an attack of Ague – lucky wasn’t he, if that is true.
I much hope that “Jacky Wee” is now much better, please give my love to the Apps Family in case I don’t have time to write to them.
I am most pleased to say that they have now commenced fitting new teeth, 10 men at a time at Naini Tal, & Dick went there yesterday where he will remain for a fortnight. A couple of months or more ago I asked Doff if Charlie could send me some No. 7 fish-hooks, & she replied some time back that “she was glad I had asked C. to send some hooks” but I never received them, so, if he sent them I suppose they “went West”. If he hasn’t yet sent any please ask him not to trouble as of course it would be much too late. I am sorry I didn’t get them as I shall soon be going to Naini Tal & there is some fine fishing there. I see from the Denture Chart that I am to have 11 teeth, which with the 19 good ones of my own ( I have had all bad ones removed) will make a complete set of 30. I shall be “Some dawg” then, what?
I am sorry that Dick & I weren’t in the same batch for Naini Tal, but amongst 10 of us I guess I shall have 6 or 7 pals when I go whichever Companies they belong to because anyone in the Orderly Room soon gets to know almost every man in the Battalion.
I am sending you a photo of the 1/4th Wilts Corporals & no doubt you will pick out a good many you know. I am between George Brown & Bob Knight in the row in front of the Colonel, Adjutant, & Sergt Major.
I hope you are in the very best of health “as it leaves me at present.”
I shall be glad when there is a Moon for the nights are awful. Burton & I & Dick went to the Football Match at Ranikhet on Thursday & got back alright as far as Dick’s Bungalow, but after leaving him both of us went over the khud-side & landed on the stones below. Harry Burton had a nasty fall as he landed on his chest & hurt his ribs.
I landed on the left side of my “back-side” & left elbow & a drop of embrocation soon put that right. This is a dangerous country at night, & not so many railways as there were at Kailana.
Best love & kisses to you both & to the cats.
Ever your loving