see about letters. There was one from Roland as I expected. There was no time to read it then as mother wanted to go to the Cathedral. I don't know how I held it without opening it throughout the service. Mother was very impressed by the glorious singing & the crowd of soldiers. They had as hymn "The Son of God goes forth to war" which sounded grand. I went back to Oriel again for a few moments after the service, & then on to mother's rooms. At Oriel I heard that Miss Hughes may not be coming back, but whether because she [was?] ill or because she was going to nurse like Miss Wood they could not say. I urged mother to do all she could about my nursing, either at the Hospital in Buxton or elsewhere. In her rooms I read Roland's letter. He says he read my last two letters, which came a day after each other, by candelight, sitting on a little wooden bench outside his dug-out. He was writing on a warm summer day, with primroses on the grass beside him & a bee humming round them almost as though war did not exist. He was in the support trenches (which are the 2nd row) in a thick wood of tall thin trees, held by the British since November. It is a maze of small paths, huts & breastworks. His own dug out is about 180 to 200 yards behind the fire trenches. Half of his platoon is in the fire & half in the support trenches so he spends his time in between the two. He has his meals in the support trench, which is under cover but not free from exposure to fire, two of their men were hit by snipers as far back as the third line. A bullet whistled past his head as he was shaving just round the corner. Yesterday they had their first man killed -- shot through the head. The part of the line they are holding is very well known & too strong to be retaken by the Germans. His regiment may remain there two months. Every four days they are relieved by the 9th Worcesters & go back to billets some miles away. They went out last Wednesday evening. He says "It is very nice sitting here now. At present I can quite forget danger & war & death, & think only
Brittain, Vera, Diary, 25 April 1915
From Youth to Experience: Vera Brittain’s Work for Peace in Two World Wars
25 April 1915
McMaster University Libraries
Vera Brittain estate; McMaster University has a non-exclusive licence to publish this document.