MONDAY, JULY 17th

I’m so grieved for Willie Hughes. He was one of the best in the Battalion. He had written to the S. Maj. [Regimental Sergeant Major] he was all right. Cheery to the end, a gallant fellow. Dull heavy weather, very close, occasional heat drops. There are heaps of small streams about here, and water is plentiful for the first time. Such a pretty country; wooded and with hedges, and undulating. Very good billets, comfy, have straw. Few people can realize the horror of war who haven’t seen it on this large scale, and what it entails; the dead lying unburied; the awful state of everything really in the fighting zone. Mercifully they can’t. We seem to be doing well, if only we could get Thiepval. Captures of guns and Hows., excellent news. I cannot understand why Mrs. Charlie hasn’t had a notification from W.O. [War Office] I must try and verify my report at Bde. office. Am trying to find out about Harry Frazer. A letter from old Gosford today, urged to write by his wife, I’m sure. I’ve just answered it. I got your letters the 3rd day, much quicker. There’s a lot of new staff work going on. I’m so saddened I cannot even strafe them. Padre writes to relations day and night. Young Burnett has lost his leg, but writes cheerfully. They are wonderful fellows. Pratt’s just come in to take me out to see a range. The Gen. (N.) has softened since just before the Push. I asked Gosford to set inquiries on foot re prisoners. Please tell me any discrepancies that come to your notice, and they can be put right. It’s so hard to avoid errors in dealing with large numbers.

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