3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Sunday 22 July 1917 – dust & rattle about but we’re not in it

Always read mail twice before burial or cremation ~ Mother’s recruiting day and procession ~ alright here – a chap wouldn’t mind if the job was finished but we don’t have the mind or time to worry ~ crops at home spoiled by mice & rain ~ end of Vaughan Government in SA ~ dust & rattle about but our troop is not in it – I’m a bit disappointed


Sunday 22 July 1917

Dear Mother

Thought while I was at it I’d answer up your letters just received – tho I have made notes & have kept a few back numbers for some mails past in the hope of reviewing them. But somehow I don’t: they are always read twice early in the go – & usually – might say always – read over again before burial or cremation or whatever may be the nature of the final ending. I don’t miss much even if I don’t manage to remark about it all.

Just while I think of it – I don’t know if I ever remarked about your recruiting day & procession. I’m glad you were in it cos now you know how it feels to be in it – tho merely walking up a street is nothing in itself. But my word I felt a gawk the first time I marched up Rundle Street – & the people (I was going to say asses but they meant it well I know) clapped – I guess I took it too seriously then. Afterwards I rather enjoyed it & it was fun to see ’em all – & to yell back occasionally – especially in the train where we could let off our surplus steam.

I guess Mrs Dyer at Keller isn’t too happy about old Roy getting away, after all their trouble over Norm’s disappearance. It’s bad luck too for them because he was the man on the farm, & looked after everything & worked like a good ’un himself. But he was so keen on going to the war long ago & was so mad because he was rejected over a trifle: I hope I’ll see him anyway before long: it’s time Frank Kirk was somewhere about too.

We are all right here anyway – I hope you don’t bother over much: we don’t honestly – only of course a chap wouldn’t mind either if the job was finished. But we haven’t the mind or the time to worry – & altho you hear a bit of growling always yet everyone is at least settled down to it. I know it’s worse for you all at home than for us here: so you see how really good it must be for us! QED.

But that’s apart from the subject. Father was saying he was at the market & a cow there brought £29.15/-. That’s a dickens of a price: looks to me as if he were there ‘after buying one ’ov ’em’ – is our little cow going dry? I was asking after her health the other day in Father’s letter. I have seen pictures of the mice-riddled wheat stacks: they are terribly wasted no doubt & the recent heavy rains will keep up the spoiling trick: it’s bad luck after such good seasons & when the country needs the money & other people the wheat to feed on.

I saw by the Gyppo Mail the other day that the Vaughan Government was out at last & Mr Peake [Archibald Henry Peake, Premier of South Australia 1917-1920 (Liberal)] was to get to work again! Political matters all over the country lately have been in a pretty rotten state I reckon. Bad luck for poor old ‘Crawford V’ [Crawford Vaughan, Premier of South Australia 1915-1917 (Labor)] to get the sack because now he may be spared perhaps for the war – as the country will not be able to keep him as its ‘one & only man’. He reckoned up to date that he couldn’t be spared – wonder what he thinks now. If that was his real reason for not enlisting be4 he ought to get in pretty lively now.


There is a bit of dust & rattle about this morning – more than usual but our troop is not in it: on a job behind, a good job too – but I’m a bit disappointed all the same.

I hope the Hallidays came along all right as you expected & that Dorc got home in time to see them. Have you got your new coat yet I wonder – no doubt Lic will tell me all about it. (Boom – plonk) Glad you liked the cushion cover & other things I sent: you seem to have a good idea of about where we live these days – but my word it would be fun to show you how – at times.

Bob Taylor seems to be a good while before getting away – good luck to him anyhow. I guess Mrs Taylor isn’t sorry. Do you remember Hunt East – at whose white wedding I assisted? Well he went into camp soon after that wedding & Dorothy Wellie told me in the letter I had the other day that he has not gone from WA yet. His other ‘white’ groom has since gone into camp & is now at the war: but of course we should be at it – & anyhow he (Hunt) is married & now possesses a son & ‘air’ so I guess he isn’t in a hurry to leave home.

I notice that you have sent Frank a photo & Dorc is going to write – so am I someday – good. But I had a letter from Dave on Saturday night – from France. He wonders if he can hear from me? So do I – seeing that he didn’t give me his number – or full address but I’ll send a letter along to try its luck.

I haven’t heard lately from Hal & I owe him a letter – so Dorc’s note re military things in India was enlightening. I guess the best thing for Hal to do is to try to get in the AMC [Army Medical Corps] but in any case to go. It’s a mix up all right. I wish Keith Steward would get in – he wants to go you know & only stays on a/c of his mother. It’s bad luck for her no doubt – but she ought to consider him: he will have a long time to be sorry if he does not go at all. I’ll enclose Dave’s letter & finish off on the back of it.

[Written on the reverse]

I just tell you whom I had letters from – this mail. Ev Paynter, Donie, Stella Rowe, Teddie Black, Miss Ashton, Agnes Halliday (in answer to one I wrote the first week out), Dot McLennan – ditto – Coz Dave, Ruby Howard, & nos 32, 33 & 34 from home, including all of you – that means.

The ‘Bap’ hasn’t come to light yet – but plenty of time for papers – so that’s a batch to answer isn’t it? If I could send a letter like Dave now it would be all right & Ev wouldn’t need to growl perhaps. She ought to be here in this nice comfortable pleasant ‘holy land’ where we are quite safe – you know we have 10 chances where they have only one in France – it’s so dangerous over there they say – dear! dear! I do hope I won’t be sent to that horrid place.

Well that’s nothing – here’s an end to this prattle – soo hooroo

Goodbye the noo

Love from Spence