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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Letter Home - 8th April, 1916

8th April, 1916

Dear Mother,

I came back from the gunnery course today. We came back by bus some 12 or 15 miles. On arrival at the Mess, I found a big pile of letters waiting for me and was glad to get all the home news. I see, Mum, you are asking who some of the people I mention in my letters are. Well, Captain Grant Suttie is in command of our battery. Kellagher, who was a lieutenant, has been promoted to acting Captain. Hoyland and Siggers are the same as myself – 2nd Lieutenants. The Colonel who commands the brigade is Colonel Keriviin: he has only been with us for about seven weeks. Pat Sanger I thought you would know – he travelled over in the boat with us and was at GGS [Geelong Grammar School] with us.

The course of 17 days is over and I was sorry it did not last a little longer as, although I learnt a lot, there was a lot of work I did not take in. We are supposed to be on rest now but, from what I can see of it, it is going to be harder work than one does in action, as we are to be at something each day. We are about 12 miles - or 14 - back from the front line, in a coal-mining town, but we are lucky in having a good Mess, although the billet is not quite so good.

I tried to get a postcard of the old French chateau we messed in at the school, but they had run out of them. It was a huge place, like a fort, with a moat and two huge towers connected by a two-storey building. It was dated 1704 and, as it had not been inhabited for some 15 years, you can imagine what it was like. I lived in the chateau all the time, in a small room, which was quite comfortable, except for the draught, which used almost to blow you through the door.

We had some good mornings in the riding school, going over the jumps, and, of course, we did a lot of tactical work and lectures. It was quite a sunny morning when we left at nine thirty a.m. and the ride on the top of the bus was quite interesting.

Well, Mum, I'm afraid there is no more news and there is not much in this letter.

Your affectionate son,


PS how nice it would be to be a boundary rider again!

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