Dear Hilda,

I have written to nearly all the members of our family during the 10 days I have been in this village so must not forget your dear old self.  Especially as I have received two letters from you.  I am occupying a billet in a French place half farm and half estaminet and have a rough wooden bed in the past which used to be this estaminet.  The shelves are still here and there is the usual stove for supplying warmth during the wintry evenings.  However ? been sold in the way of drink here for the past four years and the room was used by four Hun officers during that period.  Huns have a crude way of making themselves comfortable.  They just took all the beds in a place and tumbled the people out to sleep on hard floors.  Where they wanted a fire they made the French collect fuel for them.  My batman a Scotchman named McKinlay does all that is required in that line.  He pinches coal from unauthorized places and makes a fire and brings me my breakfast to me in bed and washes my pajamas and shirts etc and generally coddles me up in such a way that I’m sure I don’t know how I will manage when I get to a place where I have to do without such a luxury as a batman.  In return he gets out of parades gets the same food as I do and gets about 20 francs a day so that we are both satisfied.  I think I will have to get married when I return.

Did I tell you I bought a camera?  It is an Insignette ? which uses films.  All that is necessary is to take the photos and send the reels of films away to be developed.  I spent the afternoon taking photos.  I took a photo of a mined crossroad and a  dud shell by the grass and a chateau in wood which was used as a French prisoner of war compound today.  I expect to be formally presented with my military cross ribbon shortly by the Corps Commander General Hobbs which means that I shall have to walk to some place about 6 kilometers away to get it.  I don’t know when I will get the medal itself, probably not till I go home as I don’t think I will be able to get it from George Rex.  Mrs Hookham wrote today and seemed very down hearted in the mouth because I told her I probably would not have a chance of visiting her.  Poor old dear she thinks I am a real duck.

Your affectionate

Walter 9.12.18