3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Monday 22 October 1917 – getting ready to move, hope we will travel fast

Still at the beach ~ getting ready to move ~ evening song service ~ letters sent and received


Monday 22 October 1917

Dear Mackadoo

It’s somewhere around your turn or Lic’s – not sure which so here goes for a little while if possible amongst the mix up of picking up preparatory to moving. We haven’t left Beachopolis yet – but ‘Boomerangita’ has gone – for I don’t know how long – good & all probably. Shorts & putties & all surplus stuff handed in – not carrying much away from here. But with a bit of luck will keep warm as we are taking 2 blankets – for the present at any rate – besides our coat etc. I’m able to pack on my singlets and most of my socks without exceeding the bulk & weight limit.

It’s Monday today – so it was Sunday yesterday. By the way, I wrote to Dorc last week – also to Ruth as addressed to the ‘Gunyah’: ’spose she’ll get it before she goes home for Xmas – I dunno. Told about getting parcels – one from home – one from Perth Bap & Xmas cake from Ruth. I just repeat so much in case the other letters go for a swim you see.

It’s ridiculously early to say ‘A Merry Xmas’ – but in case another time is too late – as Benny says – ‘The complaints of the season’ – & a Merry Xmas to us all me dears – & a merrier one next year! But this one won’t be too bad I’m thinking – we’ll see.

Don’t know whether I’ll have any opportunity of sending the cable that is now due, which I wrote about last month: I’d send it now any day if I could – I may have a chance.

Yesterday morning – although I had a good pair of riding pants I didn’t go to church parade – cos I was on ‘stables’ so I’ve ‘nutted’ it for now for about 4 or 5 weeks. Went last night tho to the song service: had some strange joker on the goanna [piano] & he banged it well for the hymns which were sung well. Then Chap Bates gave a sort of lecture on his experience in England & France where he was for 11 or 12 months until his recent arrival here. He spoke well & was very interesting – especially in telling of some of the doings & places in France. A hymn – Abide with me & God Save finished the evening pretty late – we came home to bed.

Nothing here to write about so I’ll have another look at your letters which I have left & see what is there to answer: must get rid of all old letters if possible.

Same evening – just there I had to get to work & haven’t had any time to finish this afternoon & tonight at teatime we got a few more letters! Good – one from Mother (no 54) written on 30th August – also the photo & scrap paper & writing block separate York ch. platform looks A1 with its Ridder-decorations etc. My thanks to Ted Black for the picture. Thank you likewise for the writing paper – it’s just what I’ll want very shortly most likely: small & easy to carry. Have been able to get a bit of YM paper & pads at the canteen while we have been down here but I don’t know when we’ll see either of those institutions again: good luck I hope we will travel so fast that they won’t catch us for a long time – would do me – I reckon we could do without canteen stuff etc for a week or two if it was for something worthwhile – good old bully & biscuits instead I s’pose.

Besides Mother’s letter I had one from each Donie & Stuart Rowe. Donie’s was dated 2.9.17 & told me about their visit on the Saturday night of Dorc’s birthday – which Mother mentioned in anticipation. Donie said Dorc’s watch was a ‘goldie’ & very ‘quiessketir’ – good.

Lots of people dying – Mrs J Walter didn’t live long after Mr W. She looked worse than he did when I was up there last year. Rotten luck Chuc [?] Edson getting knocked! & Dr Gault & Kath Boyling. I saw a photo in a recent paper & a para relating to Capt Harley Armitage: he was evidently getting on extra well: bad luck isn’t it? Better that tho than waiting to be pushed to the war. That’s where those at home get hit the worst again. But never never worry. We’ll soon be home again.

Glad Mother was able ‘to see’ young Hooey – his speculation will soon be a fact I think – hurrah – we’ll win too. Mother mentioned Col Fulton whom I once told you was going home. Well he left us & was going – but he didn’t & now has a staff job in Cairo.

Now for the old letters. Did Joyce get those 3 letters which you wrote her – & enjoy them? P’raps I’ll hear about ’em sometime. Bad luck Joy! Eh Mack – you said the songs you liked best at the Bach S concert were Daybreak, Moonlight & The silent land – those 3 titles are rather aptly descriptive of this country – daybreak & moonlight are often very beautiful here & at night – away from the sea – back from the distant boom of the big poppers you couldn’t have a more silent land: & the big [illegible] only serve to emphasise the silence.

How is the old tennis court this season? Bad luck it rained after all Ray’s, Joy’s & Lic’s work lining it. How are you going with the school’s collection for soldiers fund? Not a bad idea giving old Mrs Harding a birthday party & a bit of cheers. The phonograph idea was good fun. I’ll hear that record please later on!

Charlie Teague was lucky with his wound – it might have been worse. Glad he is getting on all right. I hope you have had the big sphinx photos before now – ’spect so.

Mother says I ought to see you reading my letters! I do too – don’t worry – but square the dink – you ought to see me reading yours. They take a chap home & all round to see his pals & I do have a bonzar time: never mind about soldiering! Finish when letters are here. It’s a good thing to have a change of scenery now & again – I never forget when I’m hearing a yarn or reading a letter to put in either an imaginary or the proper setting. Thinking of the details & so on that are not always mentioned is half the fun. Is that any relation to pschychology Dorc? How do you spell it?

Say Good Day to the Jarretts & Stoz [?] Willsie & Hartleys please when you see them. How is Clarrie’s Roy getting on? Talking about chaps going home – perhaps you have seen the name of Major Lewis: he was a major of this squadron when Major Dick was a Captain – Major L was commonly called ‘Buff’ or ‘Old Buff’. He was wounded about all over last January at Rafa & should now be dead according to all reasonable rules & regulations – but he lived & went home by same boat as young Hovey I guess – left Cairo last July I think. Buff was a nephew of our old Harry Lewis (23/3) & must have been just as tough a piece of goods as Harry is. He is a member of the firm of B S & L [Bagot, Shakes & Lewis Ltd, stock and station agent].

I wonder how the strikers are living now – they are interesting sort of cusses these days aren’t they? Mother said Mrs Percy Clark was hoping to join her hubbie in India – is he back there then? I thought he got the sack from the job. Perhaps I’ll be told about it in the letters that are still coming.

That was interesting Father shifting all those old Egyptians! Bet when we meet each other in ten years time we of the Gyppoland will greet each other with ‘Sahita’ – instead of Good day & ‘how much Sar Keni?’ instead of ‘what is the time?’ etc etc. Did I tell Father I had recently seen George Hodby – friend of Trebilcocks – & he gets his letters alright now. I haven’ seen any dandelions in this country – don’t think they live here. Only couch grass grows at present – but later or again of course next year – if we are still in the land of grapes & glory we’ll see plenty of green stuff- weeds etc again.

I can’t yet be sure whether you had my 2nd edition of Cairo doings – think you must have tho. I see by Father’s letter that he has had the trolly painted – good – then carting stumps – great things to knock off all the paint again – but not as bad perhaps under Port Road conditions as in the old Balak paddocks. Glad to know that Uncle Ern is better.

3 knocks on the wall Lic – good – & did Wooders win the basketball premiership? How are the exams? Top this term? You & Ray & Joy can have a good competition for place every term. Wish I had some of your 2 course dinners! Fried liver & bacon – jam roly poly or currant puddings. Wait till I come home! How about learning apple pies too. I reckon 3rd course (eating it) as you say is pretty good too. Good portrait of Peggy! Meow ow -ow -ow! Write to Ray & Joyce soon. Got their letters all right too & Auda’s picture of ‘what’ll happen next Xmas!’ Perhaps!

Tuesday papers just come & my Sept 1st Observer – good luck.

Hooroo for now. See you later. Love to ye all.