6 August 1916
Southern Command Sig School
Rec’d a few letters from dear old Aust during the week. One from Viola 27.5.16 two from Mum 19.5.16 & 27.5.16 & a nice long one from my big brother Eric – 9 pages, no less, of 14th May. Also got more than one from down Souwest _ _ _.
First come first served so I’ll get Eric’s off my chest first. Just a bit of advice Eric next time you decide to write, send me a cable so that I’ll be prepared for it. You ought to know by this that any sudden shock is bad for me. Also, it is customary to sign letters that one writes. I had to do the Sherlock Holmes stunt of deduction to discover the identity of my correspondent. More brain fag [fatigue], & I get quite enuff here without you giving me any. I arrived at your identity as follows. I deduced it was not from Mum owing to the writing being different. It wasn’t from Dad cos you said you had Dads bike. That made me think it was Ida but the writing seemed too neat & tidy to be dear old Freckle’s scrawl so it wasn’t her. I next jumped to Viola until I discovered you telling me she was [beg parding?] day dreaming in the doorway (of course she gets where she’s in every ones way to do her dray deams – ever notice that _ _ _.) So then I quite settled myself that it was dear old Rita. Barely arrive at that conclusion when I discover that Rita is doing home work. So it is narrowed down to Eric & Gordon & then I discover that Gordon is saying nasty things to Rita via Semaphore, so then I concluded that you wrote the letter. I feel quite fagged so please sign it next time. You tell Ida do mind her own biziness & let my [hirstute?] adornment (?) alone. Wait till I get back & she feels it on the back of her neck, & then you’ll hear some screams. Wasn’t it rather foolish of you to run your bike into the kerb? You ought to know that they hurt both the bike & its rider.
Good gracious Eric, you coming home & finding Mrs Webb sitting in a chair, is nothing to rave over. If you’d seen her standing on the mantlepiece, it would have been diff – but sitting in a chair! After you have been home several times between 3 & 3.30 am & see green white & pink elephants playing two’s & threes with black mice with small white squares on their backs, on your bed, then you’ll have occasion to be surprised. Your letter is very interesting Eric & I’ll be very pleased to get some more. Mum you mustn’t bother writing me such long letters when you have so many to write to. So long as some one in the house writes, it will be OK. Address all mine to care of Mrs Morgan as I’m shifting about a bit.
I’m sorry to hear that Alf is making a goat of himself. But he was on the Peninsula alright, tho I do not know how long. As for Rup Fergo. He was no cold foot from what I saw of him, & I saw him lots of times when the whips were cracking. He’s been wounded, either two or three times – twice at least.
I hope that you & Mrs Webb enjoyed the kindergarten fair. Do the two Misses Watt look well. If you bump into them again please remember me to them, also you might say that the letter they threatened to write to me has evidently been wrongly addressed cos it has not turned up yet.
Well my Sister, I’ll just deal with you now. Thanks so much for writing such a nice cheerful letter. Two or three more like it every week would keep me in a splendid humor. I wouldn’t need even a smiling nurse then _ _ _.
Oh yes thanks I’m quite safe. Too safe in fact to suit even my rather dulled conscience & likely to be quite safe for some time yet as I’ll explain later. Oh yes I don’t often get the blues when I do I just think of you all & others & then I’m OK.
There is a chap in the Sig School here who knows your demi god – I’m in his battery in fact. I’ll look the young scamp up after this school is off & give him a few tips about you & generally put him fly to your schemes.
I’ve been at this school a little over a week & by jove they work us very solid. I’d never be able to keep up to it only I’m pretty well versed in everything as it is. We start at 7 in the morning & finish 10.30pm at night with 4 hours off for meals. One parade is only voluntary, but as you can choose your subject, it is just the thing to tackle anything you are not too sure of. Besides if you don’t attend, they consider you are not taking sufficient interest in your work. The first weekly exam was held last Friday. I do not know how I got on yet as the results are not out yet, but I think I did alright. I’m not sure what they are going to do with us if we come out O.K. We are being trained for Instructors so it looks like a staff job. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do if I pass. It will all depend on circs. Haven’t heard from either Percy Vernie or Vivie since the offensive began. Mrs Morgan hasn’t heard from her Percy yet either. I believe tho that letters are being held back. Heard from both Percy & Vivie just before the offensive on July 1st, but haven’t heard of Vernie since I saw him last at Ishmalia on the Suez.
From Percy’s last I heard of one of my old mates, & a great chum of Vernies in the 3rd Sig, being killing & others I knew well being badly wounded. Percy had just heard that two of his girl friends from Taree had been drowned in the surf. Hard luck isn’t it.
Well I’ll have to close now with best love to everyone of you. Don’t get worrying over anything. Things will come out OK in the end.
Your loving son & brother Bert.