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Dear Josephine,

I have not received any letters back from home today. In fact, now I come to think of it, it’s been almost two weeks since I have received anything from back home. Regardless, I still write back with high optimism that my family receive some of my letters. I hope that my mother and father are well. I dreamt about them last night. I could see them sleeping and wishing me a safe trip home. It frightens me to think I may die out here and them being totally oblivious still wishing me a safe trip home.

Today is the day before we go over the top. I’m dreading it, dying or making it through, either way it’s the thought of coming that close to death, treading over the decaying bodies or passing the wounded on the field of battle. Another terrifying thing is the step onto the creaky mud splattered ladders in which many men before me have used to their inevitable death. I cant help but think, why do we have to carry on fighting? We have lost a tremendous amount of men. It has now become a slugging match and my thoughts are clouded about what we are actually fighting for. It is total lunacy, and really the inane tactics we are using are to suit the British officers pride. They aren’t beneficial to the war in any way.

The weather has taken a turn for the worse today. The rain is unbearable it’s turning the trenches into large putrid bathing pools. The mud that lines the walls of the trenches is now sloppy and drips upon the men along side me. Some of the men so I have been told have drown in the mud, simply because they have been to weak to fight the mud’s grasp within these dreadful trenches . It’s getting beyond belief now, I don’t know if I can stand much more. I hate to admit it but the last few days I have been so terrified and upset that I have cried into the depths of my hands. I cant take these conditions before me any more. My feet ache, my boots are filled with thick mud and my jacket is saturated along with my lice ridden trousers.

I consider myself lucky compared to some of the other men I have spoken to. Some have lost their socks, helmets and kit to the over whelming mud. I genuinely feel sorry for the men and more so their families, however I am in no position to help. I crave the day we all have a hot meal. I’m grateful for the bully beef and biscuits we are given however, we really do need hot food. It would help so many of us, the cold really does get the better of you out here. The weather doesn’t help me or my fellow comrades in times like these either every part of our bodies aches. My hands, my feet basically everything throbs with agonizing pain. My ears are terribly sore, from the constant drone of machine gun and shell fire.

Some men, many of them I had spoken to have been killed or have been severely injured. Some of the men have been shot by officer command. They act totally out of character, panicking at the very slightest thing, running from the battle field this invariably sentenced them to a Court Marshall for ” cowardice” personally I think this is going unrecognised, it maybe some kind of illness I don’t know but many men are suffering from it and it frightens me to think that it may happen to me.

As the night draws in now, so does my time. There are only a few hours left until I sleep, well of what I can call sleep. So I finish with a note of optimism that I am sure like the brave hearted men around me share. I am going to try my hardest, fight with courage and make it through this. If I do not make it through I hope the letters I have sent you, you cherish and always remember me by as I will in my heart always remember you .