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Friday, 27 May 2011

Letter Home - 27th May, 1916

Dear Father,
I got your letter in London before leaving. I hope there is not going to be another drought - it seems to be a very dry autumn. I had a very nice six days at home, but it always seems like a weekend, though I suppose I am lucky to get anything at all. There seem to be crowds of people in London, lots of whom I know. I saw a good deal of both the John Manifolds and the Rutledges and as you know Forster is a Major now and has command of the Australian squadron. What a splendid chance he had! I hope he won't lose his head. John seems to be working very hard and does not look very stout, but he will worry over the work, which is only natural as it always seems an impossible task at the beginning. Barbara is fairly well and young John in excellent form, but I think Nan looks very thin. Mildred seems very happy with her darling husband, as she calls him, and they are an amusing pair - so much for the family. I also saw Freyda in town. She does not look very bright - very thin, I thought. Aunt May is very well and has got much stouter since I last saw her. Aunt Lil seemed well but had just come out of hospital after getting rid of measles. I met Alec Russell in town and had a good chat with him about his part of the world in the south. I lunched with them and saw poor Joan. She looks very thin and ill, poor thing. She must have had a rotten time of it. Mrs Russell seemed in good form but I did not see Mr. I went to a theatre nearly every night in London but could not get to the very popular ones as they were booked up and I believe you have to get your seats a week or so beforehand. So that explains London in war time.The night before leaving London I met Reggie Brown, who does not look too well but the climate does not seem to suit him. On coming out on Wednesday I met the CO at Folkestone, he had his leave extended as he was not feeling very strong. We travelled out together and spent the day in Folkestone as the boat did not sail until five. I was very unlucky as I was grabbed by the RTO on both sides to look after men and take them to rest camps. At Boulogne we had to take them miles up a very steep hill about an hour's march and one of my poor troop fainted on the hill and died. The whole business was rather a nuisance as had to take them up to the rest camp, come back for the night and be there in the morning about eleven thirty. Well, we left Boulogne at midday and reached our destination where we expected horses to be awaiting us at seven thirty but, alas, there was no one to meet us. We tramped halfway and got a bus and found on arrival at the Mess that the battery had departed, having left on Sunday. Friday, we walked miles, hunting for them, and eventually found them in action on a nasty spot. The poor old second division had been called up with about two hours' notice, when they were supposed to be on four weeks' rest.

Bee will have told you all about it. Our experiences, I believe, were much the same. We had two minor casualties and had one ammunition wagon blown up. However, all was peace and quietness when we eventually found them at about four.

Tell Mum I am on duty at the guns tonight and there is a great wind up about an attack, which is all rot.

With best love


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