3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Monday 25 June 1917 – swimming, beach church service, visit to 9th Coy

Mail from home delayed ~ staying at the seaside ~ plenty of swimming, not too much work ~ on beer guard tonight ~ dark chestnut horse ~ church service held on the beach with piano from YMCA ~ singsong round the piano ~ visited 9th Company & had a yarn with a few friends there

Monday eve
25 June 1917

Dear Dorc

I haven’t any record of having written to you for over a month so I don’t know whether I’ve missed – or not put it down! It’s your or Mack’s I think anyway – & as I have one down to Mack some time (?) ago, here goes to you. Bad luck – ! Well – bad luck anyway cos the mail is still missing – rumours say that it’s coming via America. I can’t see the sense of that or of the rumour that it’s been drowned. I know it’s a week overdue – but I guess it will turn up & give us a surprise one of these days.

letter19170622

I posted to Lick on Saturday night in a green envelope – just in case you don’t get it (tho of course you will) you’ll take note of the fact that we are ‘staying at the seaside’ for the good of our health for a short time. I hope the time will string out indefinitely – till the finish of the war cos it’s about pretty ‘kright here. Plenty of swims (average 3 a day up to date for a week), not too much work, a nice cosy nest at night in the sand & lulled to sleep by the old Mediterranean Sea, tho I have to do a picket occasionally of course – tonight I’m on beer guard – they’ll need to watch the bottle now won’t they?

The sea is just nice & rough tonight & there will be a good sunset across the waters directly. I must try & get another swim cos I’ve had only two today. Yesterday – Sunday – had not much to do through the day – except swim & look after the horses. I have another horse up here of course – not a bad one either – rode her this morning, a dark chestnut with a stripe down her face & if a wounded chap stops away for good I’ll most likely have her ‘for better for worse’ – haven’t a name for her yet – but I rather fancy ‘Jinny’ will do.

By the way A Squadron is going all right. ‘Mood’ wants to get up here now. Last night I had an enjoyable time: best Sunday night I’ve spent out with the Regiment. We marched down along the beach at 6.30pm for church which was held on the beach within 100 yards of the sea: had a piano (first I’ve seen or heard for 2 months) from YMCA tent nearby & a chap played the hymns well. A communion service was held immediately after for all who cared to stay & about 35/40 stayed I s’pose.

I don’t know the minister’s name but he is is an old South African war chaplain & he has only been here a short time I believe. He seems a jolly decent old sort & not one-eyed. Think he is Church of England but he doesn’t let that worry him or others. After the communion services we went over to the YM – took the piano into the light of a couple of kero lamps & had a good hour’s sing-song & a few little words from the old padre. There were a good many at the sing-song & the old hymns were sung well and heartily – best I’ve heard for a good while. The piano helped a lot of course, especially as it was decently played. Then about a mile walk back along the beach in the moonlight with 2 or 3 chaps I know & I was ready to hop into bed & slept tight. (I hope I won’t sleep ‘tight’ tonight – wot you say?) No danger.

I didn’t tell Lic anything about my doings of yesterday (Sunday) week. They were quite exciting – not to say interesting. I had to put in for a few days leave to ride out to the 9th & Coy to see Wilf & Jimmy Cowan & all the rest. Well about 10.30am I got away & by dinner time had found our old familiar country – near the waddy – soon found the right crowd – but to my sorrow learned that they were nearly all out on a long day patrol. But Wilf had been on guard the previous night & so I saw his old head in a bivvie & went up behind & pulled his hair by way of salutation & then we had a yarn!

I told him as I left the old boat that wet Saturday afternoon last November that I’d see him over here – & so I have done. He was away for several weeks in hospital – a bit ill with gastritis or something – not too bad; & he saw a bit of Cairo while down there & missed the April ‘scrap’ when old ‘Jaick’ was wounded – & now he is all right, looks well & says he is doing all right – so that’s not too bad.

We went across and had a yarn to Harry Schwartz who used to board at Mrs Taylor’s at Two Wells with me – & was our footie Capt the first year. He is in the signallers. I told about Bob Taylor going etc. You might tell Mrs Taylor sometime that I have seen him & he is well & as contented as most soldiers are. Then Wilf & I rode over to see Ken Gilmour but found him not at home! In fact he had just been promoted from Sgt to a Lieut! – in M Guns – & he was away at Zeitoun school near Cairo for a week or so. My word Mr & Mrs Gilmour & Jean will be pleased at Ken’s success. He started as a Private you know. Course I had a pretty good day & enjoyed seeing old Wilf again. I missed all the rest I went to see, but may have another chance soon.

It’s time for me to get ready for guard. I think I’ll post this straight away now – so Hooroo my ickle Sec. You’re doing a’right! Certainly! Love to all of ys.

Spence

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