3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Thursday 22 August 1918 – promoted to Lance Corporal, within big gun range

Within 5 minutes walk of Jericho ~ land of dust and heat ~ now within big gun range and likely soon to be closer ~ jolly good concert given by Flying Corps chaps ~ 4 new Lance Corporals including Lance Neville and this youth.

Thursday 22 August 1918

Dear Ruth

(on British Red Cross stationery)

Lucky to be in [hospital]

more like the [Regiment]

where I am at present that is within 5 minutes walk of where the walls fell down with the much blowing of trumpets etc. Back again in the land of dust and heat you see after several days steady travelling and now we are within big gun range and likely soon to be closer.

We had a couple of inoculations just before leaving our fruitful plain but they didn’t worry us. Perhaps our watermelon treatment acted as a pain neutraliser.

One night up there a jolly good concert was given by the Flying Corps chaps – some tip top singers and actors amongst them. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen over here. Two of them dressed up as ‘Bints’ [girls] and looked real bonz. We left our beautiful home on Saturday and stayed at 3 camps on the way here. Travelled mostly in the day time this time so it didn’t tire us as much.

Thought I might have gone on leave before this but still the Port Said party hasn’t gone: it’s all better in a way cos if we go from here we’ll miss a bit of the dust etc.

Old Goldie went off the other day after nearly 15 months with the regiment without leave or illness to Cairo I think on 8 days leave, so he was pleased you bet. Who do you think are the latest made NCOs in A Squadron? There were 4 new Lance Corporals made a week ago today and 2 of them were Lance Neville and this youth. Not anything wonderful as a rise you know but you do miss a few fatigues and guards and pickets or at least are put in charge of ’em instead of doing the shift. It means taking the leadership of a section and there’s always a chance of getting a little job to do when the squadron or regiment are out on patrol or scouting around. The definition of a ‘Lancers Jack’ (in case you have not heard it) is a trooper with his brains knocked out!

So now they’ll have to appoint a new stretcher bearer for our troop – didn’t tell you I was stretcher bearer did I? Haven’t had any work to do in that line though since I took it on. Good luck. We’ve just had dinner. Would you like to hear what we had to eat? A tin each of one salmon and one herrings, 2 small tins of pineapple and a large one of quinces, bread and jam and cocoa and tea.

We are boiling up for ourselves just now, so can make what we want. The cooks just boil the meat, nothing more while we are on the shift. We had bread and milk for brek – our section is 6 strong at present – Bluey Crase, Mick Dunk, Billy Hughes (Sgt), Bob Bell & Stroppie Hopcraft & this belated Lance Cpl. There is a canteen now open in the old Jordan Hotel building so it’s easy to live well here.

Some flash paper isn’t this? I must try to get a block [pad] somewhere. Writing paper is the scarcest thing in the world here. There’s not much to write about this trip. I’m afraid I can’t seem to get much of a go on today. It’s blowing and dusty which goes far toward drying up the knowledge that’s in me – bad luck.

Let’s see what your last letters said. Think there’s something to answer there. You must have had some fun that evening of the kinder teachers reunion. Don’t know however those names of books were guessed from your silent charades. It would be no good to me except for the dummy prize. Tell Dorc for her Economics sake to look up in the Uni or public library for a book by Ethel Snowden called ‘The Feminist Movement’. I don’t know if she would have time or inclination to read it all but I think some chapters of it deal with stuff she gets lectured about. I’ve not read much of anything just lately.

You were asking if I had any photos of my old Brownie [horse]. Well I haven’t, worse luck. I was going to have one taken too at first good opportunity – wait till I get another horse of my own. I’ll have its photo taken if it’s worthwhile. I can’t send you an more flowers now cos there are none here. If I’m still here next winter I’ll get you some though. You’re a lucky dorg getting that Noarlunga holiday all backsheesh [free] too. Must have been quiesska bonzar. Wouldn’t mind it myself. I can see Mrs Hinde’s school going to the pack pretty soon. The mothers of the girls will hold up holy hands of horror at the idea of that long legged Miss Kentish teaching their offspring the gentle game of hockey & they’ll be quietly removed to less dangerous regions. Good luck anyhow. Have you played your young team in any matches yet? Spose you’ll have to captain them.

I wrote to Father last and posted in last camp about a week ago yesterday and think there was a note for Lic in it. I also posted to you a parcel containing six Kia Ora Coo-ees [official magazine of the Australian and New Zealand Forces in Egypt, Palestine, Salonica & Mesopotamia], a magazine printed here & dealing with the Light Horse and Camel Corps doings in this country. I want to keep a copy of each month so I’ll just post them home from time to time. Will you please look after them for me. Keep ’em safe – better not lend them away out of the house I guess or they’ll perhaps go astray. They’ll be interesting to read when I come home from this dreadful war and come home to live on my pension.

Thinks that’s all for the noo. Hip hip.