August 24, 1918

24th letter

Dear Mother:-

It seems as though every time I tried to write a letter something interfered. I have given the car gas, oil and water and made one trip already this morning, and now just as I was starting a man comes in and wants me to go again. Well, I'll write this in installments.

[ An hour later. ]

That sozo came up and said there was a hurry call for hospitals and when I got down there I had to wait for a captain whom I took to buy some food for the officers mess, Incidentally, we ring in on that so I haven't any kick coming.

Most likely Betty has gotten the postal which I wrote and promised to tell you all about a little excursion to the front lines. Last time I was at post I thought I was only about a mile from the lines, but on the last day I was there I discovered it was just a quarter of that. There is a road which we use that runs parallel to the line and not more than a couple of hundred yards away. I walked over to that and then found one Italian who would go on up with me. We walked up to the support trenches which has very good well made dugouts, and then down a communication trench to the first lines. From there we went out to the edge of the river and could look across from one side to the Austrian trenches not more than 25 or 30 yards away.

There was nothing at all going on as I went up when I could get off and it happened to be between 12 and 2 They always call the war off for those two hours on account of the heat. Later in the afternoon there is spasmodic rifle fire and the Italian batteries keep throwing occasional shells over all day. The Austrians strafe the roads and other pet places about 8 or 9 A.M. usually and again in the afternoon or evening, or both, but they often lay off a long time in between. They must be pretty sleepy in the morning as it always seemed as though the afternoon shrapnel shots came nearer than the morning ones.

After these four days I went back to camp and covered more miles there in 12 hours than at post in four days. The first night I was up until 3:30, the second about the same, the third 12, and the last night my front spring collapsed about 9:30 so I got in early. I also had a puncture or a blow out at the rate of one a day for three days.

Right now I am out at one big concentration post Portegrandi [hand lettered], have been here about 24 hours and done some running. Up till midnight last night I had done 370 kilometers. I didn't begin until about 9 A.M. and then an hour comes out for lunch and one for supper. That is pretty good going when men have to be unloaded and loaded and waited for.

About a week ago an American Army section moved in at our furthest back distributing hospital. I asked about Jack Chisholm, as these boys came from Allentown, but none of them knew him. They are a fine bunch and when we come down to the hospital at meal time they ask us to eat with them if their officers aren't around to interfere. I got a wonderful supper down there two days ago and hope I can get there for breakfast some morning as that is the meal they don't have here. It’s just about lunch time so I'll finish off before I have to end with a thud. I have only had two letters from you although the first came about four weeks ago. Thank Betty for her last long letter of July 17th. It was a very complete history and much appreciated. Enough for now. Must eat what is called lunch.