Henry Tod continues to be out of the line.
I have your letters of 21st and 24th March and am glad to see you are all keeping so well, considering the severe weather. I note you are putting in some strenuous work on the garden and would like to pop over and see how you are carrying on. [I believe his family was farming in Alberta at the time.]
We are still enjoying our rest and from my letter to Andy [Henry’s brother] a few days ago you would get an idea of what we are doing. I am enjoying this rest much more than the last one for some reason or other and suppose a nice comfortable billet has something to do with it. We are not overworked and as I can always get a horse, I cannot complain of much at the moment.
The weather has taken a turn for the worse and today we had a heavy hailstorm. Last night I got lost in the dark riding home from a village some little distance away. I thought I knew the way better than the horse did and when we came to a cross-roads we had a bit of an argument. I insisted on going my way and the result was we came to a different village altogether. I felt very cheap when we had to go back to the cross-roads and take his way and I wondered how he could go straight to his table door in the dark.
We have another week or so before we resume our acquaintance with the trenches. Our thoughts had again been turned to the possibility of leave in our due turn, but this has been stopped all through the First Army of which we form a significant portion. The reason we do not know and can only conjecture. Rumour as usual is busy and some big movement on either side is predicted, but our ignorance on these matters is profound.
I peaked ahead to Henry’s next letter home and there’s an indication he’s near the Hohenzollern Redoubt. The redoubt was near Auchez-les-mines at the northern tip of France near the Belgian border. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia about action in March/April 1916. The number of mines blown is horrendous. We’ll read more soon.
“Following the British attacks of 2–18 March, the German units at the Hohenzollern Redoubt were considerably reinforced. The new German garrison of the redoubt remained doubled for several days and a high level of alert maintained until the end of the month, when the possibility of another British attack was considered to have ended. On 19 March 1916, the British exploded another mine at the redoubt and the Germans sprung two mines in the Quarries on 24 March. British mines were blown on 26 and 27 March, 5, 13, 20, 21 and 22 April 1916; German mines were exploded on 31 March, on 2, 8, 11, 12 and 23 April 1916. Each explosion was followed by infantry attacks and consolidation of the mine lips, which were costly to both sides and turned more areas of no man’s land into crater fields. The British 12th Division was eventually relieved on 26 April 1916 and missed the German gas attacks at Hulluch which began the next day, from an area close to the Hohenzollern Redoubt. Engagements continued until the summer, when the British and Commonwealth forces moved their focus south, in preparation of the Battle of the Somme (1 July – 18 November 1916).”
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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.