3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Tuesday 15 January 1918 – 12 months on active service

12 months on active service today-it’s a sure waste of time if ever there was one ~ may be getting leave soon-probably Port Said ~ little time to reply to letters ~ lost pony to former owner but got another good one


Tuesday 15 January 1918

Dear Dorc

Tis just a year ago today – that I remember well! Possibly you have been thinking the same at home – 12 months on Active Service – today by the day – tomorrow by the date. Might be wuss [worse]! It would be worse if it were eleven instead of one: bad enough as it is having so much time absolutely cut out as it were of your life – it’s a sure waste of time if ever there was one.

Not that I’d have been likely to do anything much with the same if I’d been at home, or elsewhere – but – & that’s as far as you get. I may be a bit more ‘dopy’ & lazy than of yore & stoopid & all that – but I don’t feel so terribly different up to date, I may want to get a couple of bags from the shed – dig a hole in the ground & go out into the big paddock to live – or something similarly convenient & cheap, but it will be a treat to get out & have a yarn to someone occasionally.


Anyhow I believe there is a chance of me getting my long lost & sadly mourned leave in the near future! & I’m still human enough to be elated with the thought of a week’s complete change – to live in a city – perhaps to go into a house & have a decent meal & bath etc etc again. Don’t know where I’ll be going – probably Port Said – but if I have any choice it will be Cairo or Alex – which isn’t likely. Will cable you eh? & you can meet me there. I’ve cash enough in my book for two.

Had enough shift since I last wrote – came a few miles through rain & wind & mud & water – so we were ‘bonz’ by the time we arrived here: they should have had the cinema ‘film’ going that day (Saturday) to show the ‘dinkum’ troops on the move – & dispel the idea at home that the weather here is nothing but heat & dust & sand & flies. Too cold for flies to live here lately: even the Gyppos in the Labor Corps are dying of cold & wet etc – but we manage to live on!

I think I quoted to you once before – may have been in a lost letter – that most touching verse sung to the tune of ‘Kind words’ & ‘Old soldiers never die – never die never die, old soldiers never die – they merely fade away!’

Beautiful & balmy! So come sun, come dust, come rain, come cold, come anything – here we are – here we are. Here we are again. Fit & well & feeling as right as rain. Which will be sufficient for the noo & will denote to you that my brain is on the wobble even if my hand still is firm.

I have a bagful of all your home letters to answer some lucky day – but we are always at some jolly thing or other these days & don’t seem to have much time to spare for our own use. One item of interest to you perhaps – is that I recently lost my old pony – Bob Bell who used to ride her previous to my coming to A Squadron – & who had been away for six months or more came back – & naturally I suppose wanted his old horse again. He had her for a good long time before & apparently had a good regard for her – as I had – so although I was sorry enough to lose her after this long time & especially after the last month or so I didn’t object but handed her over to her old boss.

I then got Sid Dunk’s horse back into the section & rode her for 2 or 3 weeks – until Sid arrived back last week – & left me again without means of locomotion. No good humping the swag & walking – not for me in this war if I can help it. I borrowed a spare horse to ride up here the other day but yesterday some new remounts came in & I now I have one of my own. Sid has quite recovered from effects of wound in foot.

I nearly got the best little pony of the bunch – but Major Dick was looking for a new hack – & he chose two to try – a brown mare & the little bay pony! Sure enough they were both pretty fair – but he chose the one I’d have picked – sensible man – so that the brown mare is mine & he now rides the ickle bay pony. I think I have a good sort of animal anyhow. She can walk well & canter comfortably – & no doubt get a move on if necessary & she is pretty quiet & seems sensible & good tempered for grooming etc. Don’t know what I’ll call here – I’d have called the pony ‘Sal’ if I’d got her – maybe it would have finished up ‘Lic’ – I dunno – but that name won’t do this one. Well goodnight to ye all me dears.

Love from Spence