It is marvellous how some of our old boys correspond with us, despite the many distractions provided by the war and the need to keep in touch with their families.
This is the eighth time Capt. Charlie Childe has appeared on these pages. He has been out of the front line, but expects to return to the action very shortly. This period of ‘rest’ has given him and his colleagues time to enjoy Frank Sidgwick‘s Narrative Macaronic Verse:
9/3/16. “Thanks very much for the books of poems. I have lent them to two or three fellows and they liked them, especially Sidgwick’s collection in the small blue book…”
Charlie has been in reserve, but stationed near to a gun battery, which was very inconsiderately shelled:
“One old fellow was rather shaken and got behind a wall; he might just as well put up an umbrella.
From then onwards they put over 70 shells at 3-minute intervals – big 8-inch howitzers. Practically every shot got into the battery position – a farm and garden about the size of the School House grounds. That is wonderful shooting at a range of at least six miles, when you consider that all the German gunners could see was their own gun and probably a hedge in front.
They did not hit any of the guns as it happened, only filled the place with big holes and knocked a piece off the house. There was a sausage-balloon up behind their lines, so there must have been an enthusiastic Fritz up there spotting for his battery.”
Despite this, Charlie seems to have enjoyed this period of ‘rest.’
“This is quite a good place on the whole. We can get a good dinner and baths, and there are plenty of shops where we can get anything we want. I don’t think it will last much longer though, as it is about our turn to be in the line again.”