24 November 1914

 

S.S. Euripides
At Sea
24/11/14

Dear Mum,

Well this is my first experience of writing Xmas letters a month beforehand. With any luck this ought to reach you about Xmas time. We touch at Aden tonight or tomorrow early where this letter will be posted.

We, V and I are studying up for N.C.O. and with a little bit of luck ought to be successful. They give us a short lecture each day which is very interesting. They gave us a complete stratgetical [sic] account of the Sydney Emden dust-up. It was very interesting.

As we were approaching Colombo there were hundreds of native fishing boats in every direction. Altho quite small holding three men. They go right out of sight of land. Owing to their queer construction they are impossible to capsize and can carry very big sails. There is two poles sticking out on the right side, on the ends of which is fastened a floating log so. The boat itself is very narrow. In very rough weather a man climbs out along the poles to counteract the wind on the sail. Well Mum, I hope you have a very Merry Xmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. Hope Dad and Vivie and Percy can get down to see you. We expect to reach England on the 18th Dec. Your loving son Bert.

 

S.S. Euripides
At Sea
24/11/14


Dear Little Eric,

How are you getting on. I suppose that you spend quite a lot of time in the baths? Is it very hot there. It is here. Very very hot indeed.

I suppose that you wish you were grown up so that you could be a soldier too? Well you know a little boy that stops at home, & does what his mother tells him, is kind & considerate with everyone, & does what he knows is right, whether other boys laugh at him or not, is unselfish & never does anything that he wouldn't like his mother to know, is a far braver & better than the man that goes to war. I noticed just before I left that both you & Gordon were getting to be quite little men. You'd fall over, or kick a brick with your toe, or go without something nice & help with the work without crying. That's the proper way. If you keep on like that you'll be a real hero & grow up into a MAN, and not an apology for one.

Well little brother, I'll close now. Hope you don't object to my sermon. Hope you have a Very Merry Xmas and no pains under your waistcoat next day & a Happy New Year from your big brother Bert.

 

S.S. Euripides
At Sea
24/11/14

Dear Gordon,

You get Eric to let you read his letter & let him read this one. Sort of swap letters for a little while & when you are reading his imagine that it is yours. Do you understand? Of course you do.

We will most likely arrive in England about a week before Xmas, so we will have Xmas dinner in England. Do you remember last Xmas? None of us thort that things would be so different this Xmas did we?

Altho we are going to the war, you know far more about it than we do. You know we don’t have any papers here & we do not know how things are going. What do you think. When we were at Columbo we bought a paper there & they did not say a word about us, US – THE AUSTRALIANS arrival there. It’s just like there cheek isn’t it. They should have had two or three columns about us shouldn’t they. We will arrive at Aden tonight or tomorrow. You get a map & look where it is. Well little boy, I’ll close now wishing you all a Merry Xmas & (hope that all the panes in the house stay in the windows) & a Happy New Year your loving brother Bert.

 

S.S. Euripides
At Sea
24/11/14

My Dear Little Rita,

How is my youngest sister getting on. Hope that you are getting & strong & hope you are doing well at school.

We have all our meals down stairs two decks under the forecastle. It’s very hot & stuffy too. When we drink anything hot, the perspiration streams from us. When we are mess ordilies it’s a lot worse. Vernie & I sleep up on the boat deck near the middle of the ship & it’s lovely & cool there quite different from down stairs. There are some nurses on board but most of them are on the wrong side of 40 & the others on the wrong side of 35. one of them is rather pretty. If my – er – er – wasn’t already given else where I might have fallen in love with her.

I suppose you remember how my last kiss either tickled you or prickled you? Well if I kissed you now it’d be a lot worse. I can twirl the ends easily _ _ _. I’m going to cultivate a "Kaiseraschio". Well little sister I’ll close now with plenty of love wishing you a very Merry Xmas & a happy & prosperous New Year & many many of them. Your loving brother Bert.

 

 

S.S. Euripides
At Sea
24/11/14

Dear Little Ida,

As I write this lettergram I’m sitting in a stuffy part of the ship up near the bows & as my pen wanders over the paper my thoughts wander across the ocean. My pen stops at the end of a line & my thoughts stop on you. My pen comes back for the beginning of the line again but my thoughts still stay with you. That’s the diff twixt my thoughts & pen. Of course my thought know when they are on a good thing.

At present there is land visible on the port side. It think it’s part of Africa. We touch at Aden sometime tonight or early tomorrow. Wonder what sort of a place it is. Hope that there are some nice black girls there _ _ _.

Just before we got to Columbo, the Sydney caught up to us, after her little dust up with the Emden. She had no outward appearance of having suffered in the said dust up. One of the Sydney’s men who came on board told us that what they saw on the Emden prevented some of the men from eating for two days. There was blood, bits of flesh & mutilated bodies lying all over the place. The fumes from the lyddite shells made the men half silly. Well Ida my dear sister hope you have a very merry Xmas & a happy & prosperous New Year. Help Mum all you can. Your loving brother Bert.

 

S.S. Euripides
At Sea
24/11/14

Dear Viv,

Excuse brevity but you know what the Xmas rush is. Have a lot of letters to write & little time to write them in.

We made Columbo on Sunday morning & left on Tuesday night. Columbo is a very pretty place on an open harbour which is protected from the sea by breakwaters. There were 4 war boats there – the Sydney, a Britisher, a Jap & a Russian. The Sydney does not show any outward appearance of having been hit by the Emden. One of the Sydney’s men who came on board said that a lot of the men were sick for two days after they had boarded the Emden. There was blood, flesh & mutilated bodies lying all over the ship.

We expect to reach Aden tonight or early tomorrow & will post letters there. I have no idea how long we’ll stay there. Expect to reach England about the 18th. Well Viv I wish both Clytie & you are very merry Xmas & a happy new year & when the greatest event in your lives takes place may you both as they say in fairy books “live happily ever afterwards”. Your loving brother Bert.

Hope you get down to Sydney for Xmas & have it there.

 

 

 

 

 

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