Letter 12 - Oliver still awaiting a Posting...

A note from the Editors:

In this letter Oliver Oliver explains the letter numbering system he has started using.  A wise move for such a prolific writer sending mail regularly home from France, it has made putting the later letters in chronological order much easier for us!

(We will keep up our numbering system in the post titles, which start from the first letter we have, not from when Oliver is posted to France.)

Franked 9 AUG 17
Mrs Chas. E. Pearson,

No1AD Officers Pool Mess
B.E.F. France
Letter No 4

Dear Mother
I have not as yet been shifted from here & am very sore because they have sent away three junior pilots to me. I hope to be sent away almost anytime to-day or to-morrow but cannot tell.

I am in future always going to number my letters as above & then you will know if any don’t arrive. I got the tip from one of the men whose letter I censored his was 178 but I hope not to get so far before I begin again after some leave.

Concerning censoring letters I had a hard mornings work at it two days ago. It was a dry job as a whole but some of them were very amuseing indeed. All conditions of men were revealed in their letters. The anxious father the love sick youth the devil may care, & the gentleman of education in the ranks. The love sick were of course the funnyest. I never read a love letter before but I know if I were the girl & had such bilge sent me I should have serious doubts as to the fellows sanity & should think twice befor marrying him. Some were quite poetic. One at some length, about a sheet, described his candle being blown out by the draft at night & how her image hung in the shimmering light etc etc

Yesterday being Sunday & a fine day there was a military band in the town gardens down below here. I & my pals still left went down to see the people. The band was very good & you really did see the people of ------------- which you don’t on any other day. They were very funny to watch with their funny manner & much kissing.

There were very few pretty ones though not even the same proportion as there would be in the same crowd of English girls. The mess is very overcrowded at present as the flow of pilots has not ceased because of the bad weather but the from here has ----- because of it. It has cleared up now & was sunny & nice. Yesterday I went for a stroll over a bit of waste ground & never saw so many peacock butterflies befor also many other sorts two not known to me & above all I saw my first swallow tail on the wing. He didn’t stay long but I could see him well. How I wished I had had a net or better still that Jim could be here. On good days the place must be swarmed out with bugs of all sorts including above all flys & smells.

I hope you are all well & happy. Pass my letters round for all as I shall not be able to write to everyone. I shall have quite a coin collection for Betty soon as we get allsorts. Belgian Swiss Portuguese as well as French but they clutch at English it being the most valuable. With much love from
Oliver xxx

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