France: “No less than 5 shells has burst beside me since I started to write”

Somewhere in France

My Dear Mother

Just a line to let you know that I am still alive and well. Hoping this finds all at home the same. I received all the parcels that you sent to me. None of them is opened at least I get all you send and many thanks for what you have sent me. Some day I may be able to repay you. We are up here in the trenches these last few days. I am writing this letter on the side of the trench. No less than 5 shells has burst beside me since I started to write. One may get used to rifle bullets and does, but you never can get used to the shells. They make such an awful noise. I hope all at home are well. Tell Jimmy that I will write a long letter as soon as we are relieve[d] for a rest. But thank him from me for the razor. And tell him I shall never forget him for it and to be good to yourself and to thank God for his bed every night he lies down for many a poor fellow out here would give their life for one night in bed. I have to stop now as I have to take my section up to the fire trench again. We were relieve[d] for a few hours. Write soon.
I remain your loving son John

Location information: from Major John George Brew’s account. This was the first week of action that the 9th Bn R.I.F. saw.