Monday 15 April 1918
It’s a good while since I wrote to you & I have several of your letters here to answer. I made a great start last week by writing to Dorc & Mother & I thought I was going to write more but things got noisy & we have been kept busy ever since: it is a bit quiet again now.
You may see the names of a few of our chaps in the paper again – but I think Les Williams & Herb Groves are the only ones you’ll know. Neither of them are hurt much I think. I was nearby but didn’t know they were wounded until they had gone. Les got a shrapnel pellet behind the ear & Herb through the shoulder – but the chaps who tied them up reckoned they were both all right. But – like the kid said when asked about his black eye – ‘You should see the other fellow!’ He poked his nose round one fine morning: he didn’t have any nose that night!
It’s nearly time I had a bit of a spell – two months now of mostly pretty stiff & constant going: it has taken our numbers down a bit so it’s not long between jobs for those who are still here. Pretty warm weather here now & it’s very nice to be able sometimes to hop into a little stream that runs past not far from us. Not so much ‘nap’ needed now at night as when we lost our blankets up in the hills of Moab – as I’ve since heard them called. I expect it is still pretty cool in the hills tho surely it can’t always be quite as wet as we have struck it.
Among our recent sick was Bob Bell, the owner of my old Jinny [horse] – so as soon as he went way the other day I put in & got her again & handed ‘Stoopid’ on to another chap. Bob may be away a good while – so there is now a chance that I’ll ride old Jinny to victory after all. She can’t walk like Brownie could & hasn’t as much sense when left on her own but I’m lucky to get her again.
We had a fine surprise last Monday night when we got in – found another mail in – end of February & 1st of March letters: only about 3 days later than the previous lot arriving here. They were mainly birthday letters for me – numbers up to 102 from home & from Donie, Aunt Flo, Maggie Halliday, Miss Ashton, Mr Harry & I don’t know any others – yes Aunt Annie Tuck – the papers & parcels mentioned are still coming – I hope we can just do with a bit of stuff now.
I had a letter from Stow a week ago – he seemed to be in good surroundings for the time: was getting a change of food (eggs etc) & said apples & oranges also were procurable. We haven’t seen any oranges lately – but they are still good & plentiful back on the plains along near the sea. Perhaps we will be back there for a spell on of these days. Stow said that Jeff Hartley had joined his Company – I s’pose he has gone over with a commission – good luck.
Old Jack Thompson is doing all right eh? I guess his family & baby soldier brother have no need to be ashamed of the bit of ‘clinque’ he got once for running away from Egypt to France! I haven’t heard from Captain Tommy for a long time – direct – but it’s my fault for I haven’t written to him except a PC.
I’m glad you had a good day this year at York SS [Sunday School] picnic. Hope your arm is quite right again. Mother told me it had been sprained a bit. You did well with the cow – £14 – a very fair price I reckon but that £3 calf you told me about some time ago took the bun! I wonder how Keith’s & Len’s horses sold the day you wrote last. I laughed to hear of Len Rowe’s late visit – both his own & Dorc’s accounts of it – which reminds me that his was another letter I received last mail. That time I rode up to Balak[lava] from Two Wells I did the same trick to Len’s brother Norm & his wife. I stayed at their place at Long Plain on the Friday night – but didn’t get there until they were both in bed & asleep.
That was interesting – your meeting with our old ‘Donkey’ Bray: if you see him again ask him if he remembers JT Bigg from Noarlunga or down that way? He is our Squadron Captain Bigg & a good soldier too. Glad to hear of Uncle Ted’s good crop – wish I had time to write to him & Uncle Ern & others occasionally. But I scarcely write to anyone these days.
I was pleased to hear that a few letters had arrived at home & that you enjoyed them. I think the paper will have to wait a bit yet. Now must stop – on listening past tonight again.
Love from Spence