4106 20th Batallion 2nd Division

C/o- 17th AIFBEF France

Dear Mother,

I received a letter from you dated May 18th, it seems to have been a stray one which has come in from somewhere or other as it is about 2 months since it was written.  I’m just about tired of this camp now as we have been here 6 weeks.  I reckon we have learned more in that time than for all the time previous.  We learned all the latest methods of killing and there is no doubt that we are all feeling very fit.  Also I nearly went to the firing line last week with the drafts of detail men but no one dropped out from the bunch so I was not needed.  The Frenchies are harvesting their hay crops now and I can’t say that oats or wheat grow any better here than in NSW.  They grow a fair amount of sugar beet here and as it requires a lot of attention it is a common sight to see all the members of the family who are left out among the plants weeding them with handfuls.  They get right down to their knees to it, men, women & children.  The fields look wonderful and other crops of cereals.  There are fences at all and no hedges except on the main road and all the plots run into one another.  It seems to me to be a bit of a puzzle how the farmers know who owns which.  The country is undulating and there are no peaks on the hills at all as they have all been flattened out with the pick and shovel to make the land suitable for cultivation. There is one thing about the French potatoes, they are new at present and are beautifully flowery and not waxy like Australian new spuds are.  The French people that is the peasants are great eaters of the British army bully-beef and the children sneak into the camp and beg it from us.  It is a common sight to see a pinafore full of bully-beef and at Gendarmes chasing them with a stick.  They always seem to beat the Gendarmes though the Aussies seem to have struck up a great companionship with the Scotsman over here.  Everywhere one looks one can see parties of Scotsman in their sports dresses with Australians.  I think it is because Australians are famous for the amount of money they always have together with the ?  They can see free beer spread and that accounts for it.  The Scots have no time for the Tommies and neither have the Australians as a rule.  Would you please divide 30 shillings for the girls as a little present from me when you are drawing again.  Please it is possible that I may receive your parcels but I believe it would better to send them to Aunt Clare, that is if there is not obstacle in the road such as cheap rates for soldiers etc.  Aunt Clara often sends me parcels that are very nice.  Don’t send any sox, whenever you send me chocolate the parcels are very nice, tin fruit, chocolates etc, soap.  Don’t send anything to perish at all as they may be four months on the road.

Love from Walter to all.