3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Sunday 12 January 1919 – inspection by General Cox, in my own humpy

Brig Gen Cox inspected the Regiment-saddles cleaned, irons & bits polished ~ concert in the Y Emma-some good songs sung ~ humpy of my own here-best place going when it’s wet ~ feeling fit again & picking up condition ~ Miss Ashton writing from Boulder said at the armistice people went mad & paraded the streets singing hymns & patriotic songs until 3.30am

Sunday 12 January 1919

Dear Lic

B’lieve there’s a mail coming in – Hooray. So I’ll get in early & start to answer it now: we’ve been over 4 weeks since last letters came so should get a good issue this time. Won’t it be rotten if it’s only a rumour & there’s no mail after all? My last letter was to Dorc, posted in a green envelope!

Nothing of much note has happened during the last week: yesterday our Brig. General Cox inspected the Regiment & of course we had everything clean & bright & shiny for him. Saddles cleaned, irons & bits polished like a new threepenny bit & bandoliers, belts, boots, leggings & spurs a sight to dazzle the eyes.

The day of Kiwi has come again since the big war & our gear is now pretty clean at any time. Which polish used to be the best for spurs – you know when you used to shine up mine? Petrol was pretty good wasn’t it – but you always reckoned Brasso was better. Well when I was in Cairo I had my spurs nickelled so now I don’t need to use either to keep them shiny – but I do use Brasso to shine up the brass buckles & rings on my bridle & saddle.

Last Wednesday night there was a divisional concert in the Y Emma. Some good songs were sung and one chap recited two pieces in tip top style . (Les Williams is singing now one song which was sung ‘Shipmate O’mine’ – a bonzar: Les is in the next bivvy to mine – so we can go to bed & knock on the walls so to speak & talk ad lib). At the concert, Major General Chaytor who commands the Anzac Mounted Division presented the prizes to the successful competitors in the sports held yesterday week over near Rafa station.

I have a humpy of my own here – best place going when it’s wet as it was last night – or when the wind blows coldly – as it’s doing outside now. I was in with Fred Nunn next door (Fred is one of our section) but the Sergeants were provided with a tent to sleep in – so when Bluey Crase vacated this humpy I slipped in & now Fred & I have a humpy each. It’s much better – more room to turn over in bed for instance without knocking the side walls & letting in the rain.

I was thinking how snug it was last night as I came in to bed. The rain outside made me think of some nights nearly a year ago when we were climbing about the Mountains of Moab & it was cold & it was raining & we had no humpies & we had wet blankets & probably outposts to do during the night – whew – so after all we are pretty well off nowadays.

The weather is fine again this morning – it doesn’t rain a great deal here, but my word it’s cool enough to make us eat like lions & tigers. We always eat up our issue – bread – jam – meat etc & make up the necessary on canteen fruit, butter, biscuits & so on. I’m feeling fit again now & guess I’m picking up in condition: no weighing machines out here so I don’t know my weight.

S’pose you are all at Fins [Finsbury Park Baptist Church] by now at evening church parade. It’s about 11am here. No services today except RC [Roman Catholic] in our Regiment. We had a nice service last Sunday morning conducted by Trooper Norman, a chap in the Brigade Ambulance section. I think he was a minister before coming over here. Time to feed the horses & get ready for dinner – so I’ll knock off & continue my letter when your letters get here.

So hooroo – Spence

Tuesday [14 January 1919]

Good Day Lic – had some letters yesterday! Want some more now too. These were only those dated 8th November & one I had from Donie was dated 28th November & so are other letters round about so where are mine? Coming I hope – but all the same those that came were goodo.

Heard also from Mack (dated December 13th) after her return from convention & meeting with Hal, Ess & baby Margaret. What bonz fun they had I guess. She reckons she felt homesick after they parted & Marj Mead didn’t know what to do with no Margaret to nurse. Perhaps before you get this you’ll have seen the Meads.

How did Peggy & the kits get on with their French exam? Bonz little photo of you & Norton Summit tower. I’ll send you one of myself in return but you’ll have to pick me out of the crowd – can you? The other photo was taken on the track down from Richon – but I’m not in it. The chap nearest the camera is ‘Soldier’ Rodgers – my twin corporal – & he is standing next on my left in the other snap.

Hip Hip – I gues Dorc has passed her zams & now wears a cap & gown & wise aspect. I don’t know anything but Donie says something in her letter about my clever sister so I’m hooraying in advance of definite information. Mind you did as well yourself! Mother asked if I knew George Kinnear. I do slightly – tho he had left A Squadron before I joined it. He has some job at Brigade Headquarters. Was down with malaria recently & came out from Moascar on same day as I did early last month. Don’t think he would know me by name.

That Heitman whom Mother asked about a few more weeks ago was in A Squadron for a short time & then went batman for the padre & has since gone away sick. He is a very poor skinny little boy – don’t know how he ever passed for soldiering.

What a pity some of you couldn’t go up & see Mother march. It must have been alright. Mrs Rymill wrote about it to Archie Blue & also sent a cutting from the paper, which has showed me today. Lance Neville was here too – telling me that on the night the news of the armistice reached Balak[lava] – Jean & Harold F [Frayne – cousins] hopped in the motor & sped out to his (Nev’s) home with the good news. I dare say they drove out to Holmesdale afterwards.

Miss Ashton, writing from Boulder, was very delighted & said that people generally went mad & paraded the streets singing hymns & patriotic songs until 3.30am. She herself admits to staying out till 1am. Mr Wellington was addressing a monster crowd in one of the Kalgoorlie picture theatres & Miss A reckons he has as much fire & go in his speeches as ever. He can certainly preach or lecture & speak well or better than average parsons & is a marvel at his age – about 67 or 68.

What a rotten lot of hoodlums there must be in the tramway employ: we haven’t altogether got the strength of the recent strike yet cos no papers are here – but by what we can make out it wants the 3LH on AS [Active Service] in Adelaide: it would give me some pleasure to help or try to tip out a few of those strikers ‘on their necks’ as Hurt would say: pity the coots don’t go to Germany & live & stop there. Don’t s’pose you’re interested in strikes tho so it’s not much good me rousing. Don’t think I’ve any more news so I’ll post this & write again soon if those other letters turn up as I hope.

Beside Ruth’s, Dorc’s & Mother’s letters I heard from Donie, Miss Ashton, Will Jarvis & Ickle Jan & Mack so that wasn’t a bad little bundle.

Have a choc? I’ve some here, got ’em at Y Emma the other night: biscuits too – quiessketir [good].

Well well sieda [sa’iida – happy] bint [girl]

Love from your walled [? slang] Spence

Hip Hip – Ruth’s taken to slavvyin’ as well as school marmin’, Getting quite an extensive aduction at Mrs Hind’s school- 1st kidwhacking, 2nd sports mistress, 3rd general slavvy & 4th Out at lunch with the family at the Chine – I beg his parding – the Mikado Tea Rooms – bet it’s not as good a joint as my little ‘Wattle Tea Rooms’ in St Georges Terrace.

Hooray Mrs Tommy all correct & coming home tomorrow – good old Lena – what about a kick of the footie? Jes so, jes so Dorc. 3LH leading round Buckingham Palace – I s’pose – but I have not yet been notified of my reserved cabin for the trip. I’ll write & get Billy Hughes to see George about it & he can let me know. Got the tennis court ready have you? Good!

Well – fineesh.

Hooroo & Good Day to ye all.

War’s over – did you say?

Bad luck.