3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Sunday 20 May 1917 – need socks, changing horses

Lic’s school results ~ needs more socks ~ some mates learning signalling ~ changed horses a few times ~ pen ran dry, no water to make ink ~ wearing khaki shorts & puttees ~ not many chances to shave

Sunday 20 May 1917

Dear Lic!

How do? Quite well thank you? Good! Bad luck for getting 100% in Algebra & Arith & 98% in French. I didn’t get that letter of yours on my birthday but I had the ‘wishes’ all right & the cable 2 or 3 days before. Perhaps Mother is getting some ‘many happy returns’ from me now – cos it’s her birthday – almost 9 or 10 o’clock pm I expect but she won’t be in bed yet even if you & Joyce are.

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I’m glad you are going to send some socks soon cos I guess one of these pairs that I have will be worn out by the time yours arrives: one pair is that 3rd LH pair that you made for me with the black & white band in them. I hope Ruth doesn’t mind me giving her nice brown ones to Herb Groves! I guess she doesn’t anyway. He was pretty short at the time. I wish I was up with him in A Squadron; perhaps I’ll get there yet. Les Williams & Phil Prime are learning signalling now.

I don’t think I told you any more about my horses – ‘horses?’ did you say. Certainly cos I’ve had several. My little black one that I wrote about before & that I rode out 3 weeks ago, was taken into another troop the 2nd day & for a while I rode a tall old mare that has since gone to hospital (not through my ill-treatment though!). I didn’t call her anything at all. Then I was given a bonny little bay called ‘Lead Kindly Light’ & I liked Kindly very well. He got that name because he gives his rider a kindly jog all the way: but he was a slow walker & that makes you tired when there is a good way to go – so last week I changed him for ‘George’, a rather skinny horse, but a good walker & with plenty of go in him. He doesn’t like camels or motor cars & I s’pose he would also object to electric trams if they were here. He is black & I think I’ll like him all right. I’ll have to do what you did with Peggy [Lic’s cat] – give him 3 saucers full of milk!

A horse that I lead sometimes is called ‘Lofty’ – Mount Lofty on account of his height. He is a pack horse & carries about 8 picks & 14 or 16 shovels besides odd bags of small odds & ends & the other day on top of all I had a bag of wood; you’d have laughed to see the load.

I’m glad you & Joy & Mary Hartley & co still play tennis a bit: s’pose you will beat me when I come home. I don’t play here at all so will be very much out of trim. Two chaps just down here are sitting on our troop mule having a photo taken – his name is Jack & we carry water on him.

Any more bike exploits or punctures yet? Glad to hear by Mack’s letter that the boys have not yet all deserted you. ‘Good old Jeff’ must be quite a regular member now – good on Hurt R for showing up – despite his ‘cheek’ as he is pleased to call it. I hope he won’t lose it anyhow. I have not seen Wilf yet, out here. I believe his crowd are in for a spell. They went in just when we – or when I came out. Did I tell Dorc I had seen Stan Prince & several times had a yarn with him. I showed him those photos that Dorc sent & to Les Williams also.

You see my pen has run dry & I’m out in the paddock with no water to make more ink. You should see us now – running around in short khaki pants & putties which we had issued a week or more ago. We will be a bit brown when we finish here I reckon – with sun & dust. I had a shave the other day after a fortnight or more without. You should see all the beards that some of the chaps grow. I’d have brought my razor here if I had known how things are.

I’m glad Roll Ryan is going into camp. He would have gone long ago I know but for his mother who died a while ago & then the short staff state of the bank. Fancy Frank Kirk being in the Light Horse! I may see him here soon – tho I s’pose he will be in the 10th Regiment.

Kind regards back to Mrs Simons, Mr & Mrs Forrest & Mr Brooker, Mr Poore & Mr Ford & co & especially Bennie & Alex Airds & Mrs Tommy & maybe a few more.

‘Nuff sed’ for this time so hooroo.

Love from Spence

How is ‘Mary Mary quite contrary’ getting on Lic? Good Day!

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