15 May 1917

Archive Ref: IE IJA /J2/83_Letter to his Father_(135)
T.O.P./Please tell Jennie that the Dr I spoke of was not Dr Alley, he is in a different regiment

B.E.Force

France

15/5/17

My dearest Father

Thank you ever so much for your most recent letter just received. I cannot tell you how eagerly I look forward to their arrival, but at the same time I should be much more content if did not write so often, for I know you have a good deal of correspondence ( not to speak of the Penny Bank) and though you may not believe it–you are not as young as you were!I have absolutely no news to send you this week. As far as we are concerned there might be no war goings on things are so quiet. Here the gunners on both sides seem to have caught the epidemic of peace and for the past few days have scarcely fired a shot, to which state of affairs no one objects.F, Brown + I have taken advantage of our whole brigade being out of the trenches for the past fortnight to arrange Month of May devotions for the men. We have rosary, hymns, short sermons and benedictions every evening followed by more hymns as the“boys”like to hear their own voices Unfortunately “work parties”is the order of the day and night at present so many cannot come ,but all the same we have had a big church full each evening

 Click HERE to view enlarged images

One result of the devotions has been the conversion of the black sheep of the regiment.A man very many years away from his duty, a hard-morose character upon whom I had failed many times to make any impression.I saw it was useless to argue with him, so at the beginning of the month I handed him over to the Blessed Virgin as a hopeless case, which she alone could deal. Last evening I met him and thought I would try once more to make him see the awful danger he was running  of losing his soul. It was all no use the devil had his prey too tightly held to shake him off like that. Then a thought struck me:“Look”I said,“this is the month of May you surely wont refuse our Blessed Lady”The poor fellow fell on his knees + there + then made his confession. I gave him Holy Communion and now he is a changed man as happy as a lark. After that I think there is some hope  of Mai’s conversion for judging by her own account she is in a bad way!

Being like George Washington incapable  of a lie, I must admit that I have failed miserably to get drunk? – I mean sick- and the bill of health continues
A.I. With heaps of love Ever Dearest Father Very loving son
Willie