I don’t think America will fight; in fact, I rather hope not, but breaking off relations is a tremendous slap in the face for the Huns. I don’t think she is going to give way on ‘the whole world against me’ tack. She is not ready to agree to the Allied terms, but we shall have to beat her land forces before she goes down. Another bright frosty day, not quite so cold last night. Attended Bde. boxing contest and gave away the medals. Personally I dislike watching two men slogging away at one another; it’s an excellent school for self control, but the looking on is too much like watching gladiatorial shows, and I hate it. Boys and light weights are all right, but heavy and welter weight contests are rather slogging contests. 9th did quite well; they should win silver bugle for best Bn. now. Glad you are not having it as hard as we are—anything from 20 degs to 27 degs. of frost every night. Went round the line; the 9th had a man badly hit this a.m., Hickey, was sniped looking over the parapet. They have had a quiet time, thank goodness.
20018 Private William Hickey was shot while looking over the parapet in the line west of Messines on 7 February 1917 and died of wounds later that day, aged 18; Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery.