3 July 1916

3 July 1916

My Sweetheart & Wife,

How are you keeping, both in health & spirits? Well & happy I hope. But I would so like to go home & make sure. I would just give anything to see that look of love & joy spring to your dear eyes again as it used to do in those short but sweet days, so many age-long months ago. Still memory is fresh & green of all that happy time, which God send may soon be recommenced where it was broken off & continued through many years to come. I still recall your every look & motion, tone & expression, and I wonder if you are still the same as my fancy pictures you or has the stress of this anxious time changed you even as it has changed me. I wonder, and yet one thing has not & cannot change, however harshly Time may deal with us. My love for you is still the same. It is the clear bright star of promise shinning through the blackest clouds of war, helping and guiding me onward & ever onward, until some time, how soon we do not know, the storm cloud will roll away and we two will meet again in the morn of a day of love & peace & in the happiness of that longed for time forget the darkness of the night, then past. God grant that it will be soon.

We are still hanging about the old address but for a short time are out of reach of all except the longest range guns of the enemy. The Push has started in the South and also, we hear, in the north. Soon we may be into it here. There is every prospect of driving the Huns back all along the line when we are all in and once we get them properly going, we'll keep them at it. It seems strangely quiet here after a spell in the trenches, where there was a raid on our front every night with its attendant bombardment and retaliation.
The Germans didn’t cause us many casualties with their shells compared with the number fired but it is very trying on the nerves of the men who have to sit still and take it all without the power of effective reply. Well anyway, it will make us all appreciate home when we get back, and I, for one will require a great deal of shifting to make me leave it again. My mail is still arriving very irregularly. It is almost a month since I have had a letter from anyone. Your last letter was date April 16 while the latest mail delivered here was posted on May 11th in Melbourne very nearly a month later. Still I can look forward to quite a large ## when it does come, but the waiting is not easy especially as your health left much to be desired when I last heard from you and I can't altogether banish a trace of anxiety as to your welfare. You mentioned in one of your letters that Mr Watts had obtained my address several times but I think he must be getting very absent minded as I have not heard from him. Have you heard anything about Dave Watts at all. Hope he is still alright and that his wife is not feeling it too keenly. Does the Fellowship & the tennis club still exisit?
It is hard to imagine how our young men can stay at home. Do they know that there’s a war on? In France here one never sees a man married or single but he is in uniform. Every family has lost some of its members and some, all their menfolk. One thinks of what France is doing and compares it with our own effort. Australia has no reason to be proud of the result. One thing the men who can but won’t, can rest assured of, is the hearty contempt of the real men in the trenches. You should hear the bitter comments of our lads when they read of the recruiting results. When they see it in the illustrated papers the crowds of apparently fit men still in mufti. What will happen when this two hundred odd thousand return home, after their long and intimate acquaintance with pain and death? I wonder whether the crowds of shirkers will welcome them home & I wonder what their response their welcome will get.
I haven’t heard from Bert or Vernie for quite a long while now and don’t know whether they are in France or not.
Well, Sweatheart it's about time to stop now. In another few months I’ll be cabling the date of my return and the time will pass surely howevr slowly. Until then, Darling, we must live in hope & trust in God's Eternal Will. With all my fondest love & prayers that He will keep you ever in His care.
For ever and only
Your Devoted Husband Viv





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