3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Tuesday 12 December 1917 – new boots, fresh meat, recent casualties

New pair of boots ~ hoping for leave but a long way from Cairo ~ meat pie for tea, first fresh meat for some time ~ recent casualties, Tom Hogarth & Allan Rogers ~ not far from the sea ~ nearly 1 year since leaving Australia

Tuesday 12 December 1917

Dear Mother

Wonder of wonders – I’ve just scored a win & got a new pair of boots. Not before it was time – my old Mitcham ‘Sunday’ ones have done dooty all this time since April last, but the tops are now parting company with the bottoms so they are no good for wet weather such as we’ve had recently. Anyhow – now I’ll be right for a while & flash for my leave (?) whenever it comes.

Lucky to get any leave here for a bit I guess – it’s a jolly long way now to Cairo or any such place & would be worth a week’s spell to do the train trip. It’s not a ‘nice little week end pleasure trip’ as I saw one paper trying to make out. Still that’s nothing for a paper nowadays.

My bivvie mate, ‘Was-eye’ is cook today & is now out there busy fixing up a meat pie for tea! Whato the bumpo! First fresh meat issued since we started on the stunt. I think I told you that we had a sheep or two a while back but they didn’t last long. Neither will this. Still it will be all right while it lasts.

Nice sunshiny day today. Got all my washing dry & in now. Did I tell Dorc about my washing? Course I did it the day before the rain started & didn’t get it dry – so it was like yours – on the line for 3 days. I put a singlet & shirt on in the end to finish ’em off – couldn’t dry ’em any other way & meantime it took me all I knew to keep warm: but I managed thanks to cardigan jacket & my new Perth woollen waistcoat.

I believe I told Dorc in a letter yesterday that I wrote to Mack last Sunday week! Well – I think now that’s Mack’s was earlier than that – & I possibly wrote to Ruth on that date. I’ve not put all of them down – must pick up my regular habits again I can see. Hope you’ll get the ‘Xmas’ card which I posted yesterday. This will follow my last letter pretty closely but it’s really only a ‘backsheesh’ one – cos I’ve no news. If one goes astray tho you’ll probably get the other & it will be a little something or nothing to open if not to read & that’s something as Ray says.

I burnt all my letters the other day – but I took a few notes that needed ‘remarks’ – so here goes. You were telling me about WCTU [Women’s Christian Temperance Union] & coming Bap Union meetings – & that the moth had found my trousers – good luck to them. Hope they are good & useful for Father. I read Dorc’s letter to Ruth – as she [Dorc] reckoned I would – but it made one more to read so was acceptable – might have told about that before. You were once asking about that Dec 28th (Glenelg) photo. I was not by Jack Hardwicke – but opposite & a bit further from the camera. Jack got into dinner later that day cos he had left his ticket at home – & could not sit ’zactly with the rest of us. Think we’ll have to commemorate the occasion over here – or in Jeroos [Jerusalem] this year now – if Jack & Arch come back in time. Only half our family here now but nothing much wrong with any of the others I hope & believe.

You’ve seen the name of the censor on my letter eh? RA Cock – our new officer – a nice chap & perhaps as likely as any of them to fill Mr Sandland’s place. The latter was about the best all round young officers in the Regiment – & was liked muchly by the ‘Heads’ & men alike. Two other fine chaps killed the same day were Tom Hogarth & Allan Rogers, both in our troop. I might have told you before of Allan Rogers – he is a recent Kyrian – tho a fair age & I think before he came here he had started on the medical course at the ’varsity. Don’t know how much he had done: he was a fine chap anyway & was doing AMC work when – finish. Tom Hogarth also was stretcher bearing & was hit while carrying a man out. The Jackos are rotters sometimes.

I think we have had al least some of the comforts which have been sent for the 3LH. We get papers & socks occasionally & I told you about the shirts we had last July. That Mrs Fulton is Colonel David Fulton’s wife alright: he never went home after all – but scored a job in Cairo or somewhere & so is still here. I might have told you that before. Our present head is Colonel Bell DSO – a Tasmanian.

Did I tell you that Fred Hollis came over from 4th Brigade – to which he is attached – to see a few of us two weeks or do ago? He looks well & is doing alright at his motor despatch job. I wish I could see Wilf Rowe & Ken Gilmour & some more – perhaps Roy Dyer is over & out here by this. I don’t know where their crowd are now ’zactly – not close to us anyway

We are still not far from the sea, tho of course we were a good way off it a month ago – plenty good oranges.

I’ve filled up both sides of those six sheets but could still go – never mind I’ll ‘stenna’ [?] till next time – just heard that a mail is likely to come in tonight! Hooray. I hope it will come – it’s over 3 weeks since we got the last letters one wet day out on outpost. Spose it’s as hot as most Decembers at home by now – it will soon be a year since I started on my tour – doesn’t seem that long tho when you think of it in a lump.

I reckon I could find my way home from Kilkenny station – or run to catch the 5.13pm from town. What if all the soldiers were let loose in Adelaide streets tomorrow – in civie clothes & at their old jobs – I wonder if the difference would be noticeable to any casual onlooker? We’ll try it some day,

Good bye the noo.

Love to ye all

Spence

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