Such crowded hovels A and B Coys.’ officers and men are in, it’s hard to use anything. Weather still fine, I’m glad to say, but this p.m. is dark and looks like snow. The trenches are depressing, badly made in the first instance, and this snow and rain has brought a lot of the parapet down, and made it bulge everywhere. The whole parapet has to be demolished and built up again. In addition the floor of all the Trenches has to be scraped and cleaned every day. Tho’ men are working day and night, nothing seems to be done. We have about 1,000 yards of front; a 2nd line, which is badly fallen in, and two long communication trenches to keep up. Three men’s dug-outs, each holding a platoon, at each end of the line. I mean that there are six of these dug-outs altogether, and each group of three holds a platoon. These are very good, the others very bad: small, dilapidated, leaky and wretched. We are all covered with mud, but I insist on the men shaving, and they do.

Our guns strafed the Huns severely this a.m. No reply. and our M.G. harried the village and their transport, and made it shift, and the drivers shout and curse, last night. They fire a few whizz-bangs over bits of our line every day. No damage so far. I don’t think they are a very enterprising lot opposite here. There are various places they might harry us. Don’t send any more mitts, either to me or for men till I let you know. No, they’ve decided on reducing the cheese ration.

I do not think much of the discipline of the regulars in these parts. Many drunk in the town nightly, and their sanitary discipline nil. The 1st R.I.F. [Royal Irish Fusiliers] are now in the line next to us, with 18th R. Irish on the other side. Lambton, the 4th Div. Gen. has not been near us so far. Hull, the Brig. [Brigadier General] of the 10th Brig. [Brigade] to whom we were attached till they were relieved from the trenches yesterday, was very nice. We’re all right for food, and doing well here in the way of food. Our store is in the dug-out. Will not change today. It is rather chilly.

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