April 5th Mon: Sniping frequent all night. Searchlights used on both flanks & our working parties much hampered (1). Damage to breastwork by shell fire made good. 10a trench again shelled in afternoon, also Wulverghem village. Casualties: 2nd Lieut F. Eglington & 9531 Pte W. Horton ‘B’ Coy wounded by shells. Heavy rain, much water in trenches.
Easter Monday. April 5th / 15
My Dear Mother,
Just a few lines to say I met Sydney on the night of Easter Sunday. The meeting came quite as a surprise, little did I know I should see him in such a place. I was one of the ration party making its way late at night over the country (1) ; we halted at some part of the line of trenches for rations & I came suddenly upon Sid.
We laughed We shared the remains of the parcel I kept in my valeise (sic) this morning. Sid looks very well.
It is raining this afternoon & I am writing this in the dugout. Well I have written to Mr Darling* & acknowledged Mr Hurst’s* parcel in the way of a letter. This is some of the note he sent me.
For the first time since confirmation I have missed Easter Communion dear Mother, yet circumstances could not be helped. I read the Collect & Epistle etc for Easter & part of the Communion service in this dugout.(2)
I remember your very kind letter last. Yes the soap was lovely. We have not yet finished the 1st parcel. Sid has some cigs left & there is some cocoa & oxo left. I did not come across the emery paper until later on for it was at the bottom of the box. Many, many thanks for it – greatly indebted to you for it will come in handy now the rain has rusted the bayonet. Hard up for a wash in these trenches. As for a change did you get my letter saying we could do with one change of shirt and pants – & if you like an under-vest.
I guess Basil is looking very much forward to his holiday in Manchester, what oh! Tell him to remember us to relatives there and hope he will return home the better for his stay there.
I saw a photo of a Captain Sidebottom of the Lancashire regiment reported killed or wounded. A.D. Jones* has promised it me. I hope to send it you later. Perhaps you knew him, I have heard you talk about those people at home.
Well I’ll close now. V. Evans* has come back too with Sid.
Best love to all. God be with you. Bertie.
PS Tell Ida we have been to the 2nd place she mentioned in her letter.
(1) Pte Bertie (night ration party) in danger of snipers. (2) Easter Day Collect. Book of Common Prayer. Thomas Cranmer, AD 1662: Almighty God, who through thine only begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life . . .
Epistle. Colossians 3.1. St Paul, AD 40: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set you affection on things above, not on things on earth. For you are dead. and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Gospel. St John 20.1: The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre and seett the stone taken away . . . (AD 90 -100).
NEXT POST: 8th April, 1915.