July 2nd, 1916.

Dear Mum,

We arrived here this morning per train. We were 60 hours in the train, 3 nights & days & she was going all the time but about 2 hours per day & we were also 10 days on the boat, but we spent 3 in Alexandria & 2 in Malta. We landed in Marseilles & went right across France per train through a lot of big towns I forget the names of. We went through Lyon (Much bigger than Melbourne.) & through the suburbs of Paris. You should see Paris from the train. We also went through Amiens, another big town (The Germans got past here.) I saw about 300 locomotive engines lined up at the workshops at Amiens, so you can guess what sort of place it is. You couldn't imagine a more beautiful country than France. Little villages and all built of stone & red tiled roofs, flowers & fancy trees all around, every place the same & all green with grapevines, fruit, vegetables, grass & all kinds of crop. No wonder the French think a lot of their country. You would often see old buildings (Old castles etc.) perched away upon a rock with flowers & trees all around it & a pretty little village below it. Looks splendid. Marseilles is a very pretty place built around Port St Jean. They had to cut the rocks to build the buildings in. It is one of the main seaports of southern France. It is not as big as Melbourne. I enjoyed the trip all the way although you had to sleep sitting down. It doesn't get dark here till half past 9 of a night & it's daylight at 4 so we didn't miss much of the light. The women, old men & boys look after the farming & near every sort of work as all the others are at the war. It seems so different to Melbourne. There's hardly any men to be seen in the streets. Everybody is spotlessly clean & tidy & well dressed. I never saw a kiddy without boots & spick & span & some of them must have a hard time of it while the war is on. They are fine looking people & soldiers look very smart. We are only 12 miles from the firing line & you could hear them blazing away last night. I suppose we will be sent there in a few days. It looks very different from Egypt. We got a pretty rough time there for the last couple of months. We went out in the trenches most of the time, Digging trenches per day & sentry at night & the heat something awful. The water was very scarce too. It had to be brought out on camels. I am glad to be out of the hole. I haven't seen Herb or Don, they would probably be gone to England. I don't stand much chance of seeing them over here. I had a letter from  Snowy. I notice he quickly lost those beautiful stripes of his over here. I didn't think they would last long. T. Grub lost his too. If he had the sort of job you say he has he oughtn't get hurt, he's pretty cold footed. All the survey camp have enlisted. Kelly should have been in England about 2 months ago.

July 3: We could see them having a go at the front lines last night, could see the aeroplanes and the shells bursting all around. Pat is writing so I will close.

Hoping everybody is well. 

I remain your aff son, 


PS: I had a letter written before we left Egypt, but we weren't let post them