E. Wilkie, a personal friend of Charles.
I have not much to say, have not been able to find out much as yet only that a shell lobbed into the dressing station at the time killing the Padre as well. I felt so sorry as I missed Charlie as if he were a brother, do not worry God's Will be Done, it does not matter what becomes of the body the soul lives forever. I am in 13th Coy, 1st C.I.B N.Z.E.F. I am quite well. God be with you all till we meet again.
Harry Perkin, came from England and sayed at the Harris residence at Rangiora.
April 16th, 1918
Dear Mrs Harris
I received your letter a few days ago & which was written on the 21st of December last, & for which I was very pleased. First of all I must thank you for your kindness also Fannie for sending on the little parcel which I had received some time before your letter, & whilst I was in hospital in London. Dear Mrs Harris, you have my greatest sympathy in the loss you have sustained, & I was not aware until I received your letter that Charles had paid the supreme sacrifice it's very hard for you dear mothers, & I often think worse for us boys relatives than for ourselves, as you have such an anxious time at home. I well remember the 4th of October. Our Battalion came out of the line on the 3rd, & so we were then in reserve however we were back again on the 10th & over the top on the morning of the 12th of Oct, & this is a day one can never forget, it was the worst day that our boys ever had from N.Z. & we did not get a very good chance against our foes, as by some means our barrage was of a short duration & Fritz got a lot of our boys with his machine guns & also by sniping. The mud was undescribable & unless anyone saw it they would hardly believe it. I had the bad luck to fall in a shell hole in the dark the night we went in & nearly got drowned. I had to wait in my wet clothes all night & was dash glad to hop over next morning to chance my luck, as it was very miserable to be plastered in mud & all through a wet night to wait in a sap. The night like many more I have had seems long enough for 5 or 6 nights, & when the rum was issued next morning, anyone was very glad to get a tot. Well you mentioned on your letter anyone comes through some novel & trying experiences & I got through pretty well until about Feb 21st when a lot of us got caught in some mustard gas with the result that I was sent to a hospital in Bologna & was there a week after which I was sent to the 2nd London General Hospital at Chelsea. I was there a month & then sent to this convalescent home. I have been there nearly three weeks & must say that this is a very nice place. There are at present over 2,000 of us here & our food is pretty good & we have plenty of amusements. We have Y.M.C.A & Y.W.C.A also the church Army huts to go to & there are also other places for soldiers outside the camp. I was lucky to be sent over here now in the spring-time as it is a lovely time of the year & the country will soon look at its best, but still this last few hours the weather has changed & it's now raining very heavy & rather cold, but no doubt the rain will do a lot of good, it's an old saying that April showers bring forth May flowers. On your letter, you mentioned about lovely Devon & I love the old country, but I also love N.Z. now I have got used to it & I hope to go back again if I get through this war. I often think I would not mind losing an arm or leg, as long as I can get off with that. I often laugh over a little incident that happened to one of our chaps a few weeks before I left France. Six of us were carrying food to some outposts & one morning about six o'clock we were hurrying up when of Fritz was sending his bullets very close, with the result that the chap next to me got hit & by his actions I thought it must be pretty bad, so of course he laid down in a shell hole & I examined him but found the bullet had only grazed the skin. He made sure he had a 'Buckshee' as we call it, meaning one good enough for England. He swore when I told him it had just broken the skin, so you can just imagine how some poor chaps long to get over here, away from the roar & din of battle. Well dear Mrs Harris as I write this letter my thoughts go out to our boys in France & no doubt they are in for some grim work at the present, let us hope & pray that it will soon be over & peace reign in the place of all this bloodshed. I know for just at the present we are in a critical period, but we have confidence & must keep a brave heart. When I read your letter I thought what changes we get in what seems a short time, & fancy Nellie being married nearly two years, it seems such a short time since I was at Rangiora. Dave Sutherland I think is in Egypt as he went in the Mounteds. I was at Rangiora on my final leave. I expect as you say Granda is getting feeble, dear old man. Well Mrs Harris I was sorry to hear of Mr Holman's illness & no doubt he has had a bad time. I will send you a postcard of me & mates taken at Chelsea it is not very good as the sun was out, of course you will see me in front & now I will conclude with kind regards to you all & again thanking you.
From yours sincerely