3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Tuesday 25 December 1917 – rain & cold, Xmas boxes one per man

Raining outside ~ writing by lamp made from beef tin, wick & any kind of fat ~ thunder, lightning & rain, cold ~ Turks gone ‘after a pretty warm time last week’ ~ Xmas boxes one per man ~ no Xmas puddings ~ parcel with dates, biscuits, singlet

Xmas Day
Tuesday 25 December 1917

Dear Mother

In the ‘Hump’ – 8 o’clock pm raining outside & trying to be moonlight, while in here I’m in bed writing by the aid of our electric light. The lamp is made like this: an empty bully beef tin – ¾ full of sand (not Irish?), a bit of blanket or bag or string or anything stuck up in the middle for a wick & the top ¼ filled with dubbin or candle fat (both pretty scarce) or bacon or meat fat – then light her up & you’d be surprised what a fine search light it makes. You see we only get a candle about once a week if we are lucky so we must have a light.

But that’s not what I’m writing this essay on tonight. You see it’s been Xmas Day here – at least as far as we know – & it has been kept up by the weather in due style: plenty of rain, a bit of thunder & lightning & wind. Pretty cold too but a fella doesn’t notice that. No Jackos to worry about – they have imsheed [gone] again after a pretty warm time last week.

The country about here got too hot for them last week & I don’t know how far they are away now – hope they run right home to Const[antinople].

We were out this aftie giving the horses a gallop & of course we got wet but bed is warm & dry so that’s pretty good. Course we have not had some meals either! Yesterday we had nothing. No parcels had come or scarcely any: no gifts stuff – & rations were not too plentiful. Then after dinner yesterday we heard that the canteen had opened not far away (so that looks good for the war). I went over & spent £1 on fruit & sausages & biscuits & milk, came back & reported at section headquarters with my load & was forthwith given another quid to go & repeat the order. So that was A1 & we reckoned we would not starve after all.

Just before tea came along a load of gift stuff – our Xmas boxes – one a man, besides fruit, sauce, pickles etc to be divided up amongst the sections. Also tobacco & cigarettes galore. So our stock was augmented somewhat. But this morning as Brek we were saying that for all our stuff we had no Xmas puddings! Bad luck! 5 minutes later along comes the Sergeant & says ‘Parcel up at the Hdqtrs for you & you & so on’ until he came to me. ‘Hooray’ sez I ‘we’ll have some Xmas pud yet’ – & off I went & got my parcel which was the one after all – so there you are.

One of the others also had a parcel & a like pudding in it so we knocked the two of them between the six of us for dinner & the cream went the way of all cream – & you bet we did enjoy ourselves, even dodging the rain all day! My tin was undamaged & everything inside in perfect order – dates, biscuits & all. Also the singlet on the outside – so that was indeed a Xmas parcel wasn’t it?

I’ve been wondering today where you have all been spending the day: spect you’ve had a pretty good day wherever it was. Just a few minutes before I started this a letter was thrown in to me which I recognised as coming from Roy Dyer – he has been in Moascar for just over a fortnight so now has had one Xmas in Egypt. I hope I’ll see Roy before long – but don’t know when it will be of course!

Well enough for now – it’s 9 o’clock – late for soldiers to be awake & no speechy-fying here – like you’ve been having p’raps. This will just let you know that I’ve been home a bit today – & thinking of last Xmas Day & next! Whatho.

Didn’t have Lic to call me this morning & make me search my ‘stocking’ like last Xmas.

Goodnight

Spence

Did I tell you that I heard from Dave [cousin David Kentish] – he was expecting London leave – but they got a ‘hop over’ instead & he has gone to England ‘backsheesh’ with a bit of shell in his leg – not very bad evidently – good job.

Wednesday 26th
There’s a bit of a shift on – so I’ll have to post this – or miss the bus – sorry there’s no news in it.

Hooroo

Spence

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