February 19th, 1918

Dear Mum,

I suppose you got a bit of a surprise when I sent for the 20 pounds. I wouldn't have needed it only my pay book had been sent away for a month. I had about 30 pounds credit in the book but it was no good for my leave if I couldn't get at it. You have no idea of the prices of things over here, everything is about four or five times the price it was before the war. If you go for a feed you are lucky if you don't have more than 4 shillings  to pay & don't get too much then. I have had just as good meals in Melbourne for 9 pence or 1 shilling. Sugar is very scarce. We get sugar cards issued to us before we leave France. 1 1/7 OZ per day. The civilians get 1 OZ so you can see there isn't too many fancy dishes. We are a lot better of than the rest. This joint I am at you can get a pretty fair feed for a shilling but it is run at a big loss. The civilians are allowed 1 1/2 lbs per day so there is a slight difference. I have been over here 4 days now & Fritz has raided London the last three. He killed a few but nothing to speak of. The people do dive for the tube railway. It is about 100 feet under ground so they are pretty safe there. When I came over we were at Messines not very far from Ypres. It is pretty quiet there at present. Before that we were at Ypres where all the disturbance were. We had a pretty lively time there & so did everybody else. Especially Fritz. There was dead Fritz's everywhere & pity there hadn't been more. Our battalion took over 300 prisoners in 1 day in the Polygon Wood stunt & killed a lot more than that. I was left out of the first stunt but went in to hold the line & that's worse than the stunt we had any amount of casualties. You weren't safe miles back. All the tracks leading to the line were covered with dead men, mules, horses, timbers, guns & the lord knows what. It was one of the worst sights I have seen. Although one place on the Somme called Fritz's Folly was worse for the size of it. There were over a thousand dead Germans on a little over half an acre of ground & was one of the most beautiful sights seen in this war. Around Ypres the ground is a mass of shell holes. All the woods cut down with the shells. I never saw guns as thick as there. We had thousands of them. When they all started there was a nice row, the ground would shake like an earthquake. We  had a lot of 15 & 12 inch guns. The 15 inch has a shell a ton weight & is one of the best known things to dig a dam with. It beats all the scoops & bullocks. I have seen a lot of crying letters in the papers about the hardship they have had to put up with. We aren't too bad off although you have to be able to stand anything. A lot of the spoon-fed complain about the tucker. We are fed a lot better than I expected when I come away. Most of the complaints are coming from men that have seen no active service. There isn't much else to write about. I will write again shortly. Hoping everybody is well.

I remain your aff son,