Source: Per Facebook post by Allan Miller at the Essex and Kent Scottish Facebook Page.
“Somewhere in France,
Monday 19 October, 1917.
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Shaw:
Having a few minutes to myself this evening, so I thought I would drop you a few lines. I am well and also the rest of the other boys who are in the 186th Battalion, and hope this finds you in the best of health. I have been in France for about two months and a half, but so far I don’t mind it, outside of a few times when the shells were bursting a little too close to be comfortable and especially in the wee hours of the morning when everything is nice and quiet, and all at 0nce one side or the other opens up, then for a few minutes thrill seems to run up and down a person’s back, that seems to be the worst thing for me I think.
The weather has been very wet, it has been raining about everyday for about a month except for the last couple of days, and the last time in the line it rained and rained all the time, the mud was between one and two feet thick, but they tell me it has got worse since we have come out on rest. I used to think that the mud on Queen Street was bad, but to compare this mud and Tilbury mud would seem like a pavement walk for when we go back and forward of the trenches there are so many shell holes and mud that we can hardly navigate as we step on the side of one of the shell holes and slip in another, and have an awful time to get out as things are so slippery. I met Charlie and Louis Reaume a month or so ago, they were both well and Sonny is still the same old Sonny as ever, full of fun and cheerfulness, we all had supper of bread, jam and cake, as they had received a box on that day which came in awful nice for a little celebration of our own on our meeting day.
I must close for the present as I have to make my bed and hit the hay for the night, trusting that this finds you well.
Yours sincerely Phil.
Digbate Camp, Shornecliffe, England.”