3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Wednesday 30 October 1918 – second bout of malaria, rotten food

Still in hospital ~ passed as fit a week ago & booked for convalescence & 14 days leave ~ but second helping of malaria–bit of a rebound ~ in a ward with white sheets, dressing table & nurse to wait on you  ~ rotten food-enough to sicken a cat 

Wednesday 30 October 1918
31st General Hospital

Dear Ruth

Howdee doodle do? I’ve now been a gentleman of leisure for 2½ weeks – & I’m still in clink, nor have I any assurance of the time of my release. I paraded a week ago today to the head Quack & was passed as fit to quit and booked to go to a convalescent joint at Bulac, not far from Cairo or here the following day.

Better still my papers were endorsed with a recommendation for 14 days Alex leave. Well on the next day instead of going away from this rotten show I had a second helping of malaria – bit of a rebound you know – and so got shunted into a ward & into bed with white sheets & a bit of a dressing table & a nurse to wait on you & a doctor (lady too) to come and see you & fellas to bring your tucker in & golly! but it’s meself that’s just got up today & is writing to you here.

Ach and it’s the same chap that’s not sticking round here too long if only that confounded temp of mine behaves itself. Talk about rotten monger [food]. It’s enough to sicken a cat if it didn’t kill it with starvation in a week. No doubt this is all very pleasant for me to write & interesting for you to read, but I fear me if the censorious individual at the PO got his glimmer on to it – it would never live to enlighten the hungry world – still I’m taking that risk & just telling you that of the many farces I’ve seen in the army this turnout is the limit.

I’ve not been bad or anything of that sort, but just so lazy & listless & dopy that I didn’t care a continental ’cept that I wanted something decent & tasty to eat. But I’ve already growled enough on that tack. Wait til I get on leave – I’ll give my tummy some shocks I’ll bet even if I’m sorry for it afterwards. I couldn’t have written a letter before now for any consideration but I’ve read one or two books of very little interest brought round the wards in a basket by a Red Cross lady. There is a Red Cross depot or library on the hospital grounds you see.

There’s a stupid scrawny looking goat of a brave Tommy ‘ero in a bed just close by in his favourite attitude, I should think both mentally & physically – asleep with his handsome face well open to all and sundry winds that blow – peace-pup-perfect peace.

Several of our chaps have left for convalescent camp – lucky beggars – some uninteresting ones are still about. My scrawl is bad I know but that’s cos I’m trying to write while propped up on my bed – I’ll try again soon I hope. Not writing to anyone else in the world ’cept Mack at present – can’t be bothered.

Hooroo – love Spence