France: Meets Rev. Paton of Downshire Road, Newry.
B. E. Force Somewhere in France
My Dear Mother
Just a few lines to say that I received your parcel all right. Many thanks for what you sent to me. I was most thankful for the cigarettes which you sent for to tell the truth I had nothing to smoke for a couple of days. I may as well tell you I am back in hospital again. I came out of it too soon and it seems that the splinters was not all out. So it broke out again and I had to go back. But its only a rest camp that I am in now. And only about half a mile from where the Regt is lying so anything that comes for me J. McCollough keeps them for me and sends them up. But somehow I missed that letter that you said you wrote on last Monday. I think he must have sent it by post so it would take it much longer coming. But I do not want you to be uneasy about me, as I will soon be alright. I was not going to tell you about it, only I thought that perhaps Jack would be writing home and telling you about it and that you would think it worse then what it was.
I just got your letter the other day telling me of the death of William Brown. It must have been very sudden for I never heard of him been ill. You see the reason I was so long in getting the letter I was just into hospital at the time and they did not know where I was so it was posted back again and got over the most part of France before I got it back again. Well that will be changes there. I thought be tooked quite all right the time I was home on leave but a short time makes a long of changes. But what can we expect but changes. There has been a lot since we came away 9 months ago. But the changes will only start when this war is over and the ones that is left live to get home. It is then that the ones that have fallen will be missed. But its all the fortunes of war and it will be a bad war indeed if all is killed. Someone will be left to tell the tale.
Well how is Jimmy getting on. He might take half an hour on Sunday and write to me a line. I suppose it is all the day he has. How does the Daylight Saving Bill affect him. It must be very hard rising at 5 oâ€™clock when the clock says it is 6. It is starting with us today so I do not know how we will like it. I suppose they want to give us an extra hour at the Germans.
I suppose Annie is getting on all right. I had not a letter from her for long time. I think long when I do not hear from youse. I must soon write to her and to Jimmy too but there is not much to write about. Ask her if she remembers one 13th July that we came home from the Pass in J. Garvey car though Glenanne. That a man called Willie Whiteside and a wee child came home with us. Well I met him the other day. He is in the R. E. and he was asking me if I remembered it, and how my sister was getting on. He was saying that we would hardly be home for this 13th and I was of the same opinion.
I do not think I was ever telling you about meeting the Rev. Paton of Downshire Road, Newry out here. It was after I came out of hospital. We were lying at a place called the Mound Keep on the railroad that runs between Paris and Berlin. It was on a Sat afternoon and Sgt Gordon and I was sitting outside our dugout when this Chaplain came along and he stopped to speak to some of our Officers and I saw him always looking over to where Willie and I was sitting. So when he turned to come away he came over to where we were sitting. Of course we arose and saluted him.
And then he said to me Corpl have I ever saw you any place before, so I said I do not remember having met you before Sir. And then he asked me what part of Ireland I was from. So I told him. And he asked what I worked at when I was at home. So I told him that I had lived with the Rev. Meeke for a number of years. So then he said he knew that he had seen me before, and asked me did I not remember having met him on one occasion he was coming to preach in Kingsmills. But still I could not remember him. So he told me he was Paton of the Downshire Road. So then it came back to my memory. He came to preach one Friday before the Communion. So I told him then that I remembered it. So he was preaching to us the next day (Sunday) and when he had finished he came over and told me he would write to Mr Meeke and tell him he had seen me.
Well I think I have told you about all the news. Only that all the chaps of the North Irish Horse is up this part of the line. But I have never yet saw any of them. When we are in one village they are in another, so that is how we miss them. Harry Whiteside is a Sgt Major now, and Willie Lockart is still a Sgt. The Newtown [Hamilton] fellows are two villages from us. I think I must draw to a close. Hoping this may find yourself and all at home in your usual good health.
As I remain
Your Loving Son