21 December 1916

1st (N.S.W.) TNG BN.
DURRINGTON
21-12-16

Dear Homefolks
Yours Mum of the 30/8/12 to hand. I hope – in fact I know that you enjoyed your stay at Mrs Foxs. Had a letter from Charlie the other day. He’s been in dry dock for repairs – one of his horses kicked him in the arm and head. I didn’t think that Eng would do him any good. He’s in a dreadful tangle trying to find out which are the best – a little Scotch, a little Irish, a little English, or a little Angel – I mean Australian. The 3 former, always being in the limelight are well in the running.

What’s this “marriage by proxy” one reads about, which has been instituted for Australians? There’s a lot about it in the papers, but they carefully avoid giving us any information of how the deed is done. I suppose we’ll be having bigamy by proxy & divorce by proxy soon.

After a huge hue & cry in the papers the poor soldiers were allowed xmas leave and the public, reading that trained men ready for the front were to get unrestricted leave, & untrained men were to get leave up to 10% of their strength, sank back in their respective chairs and felt that the soldiers were getting a reasonably fair deal. What actually happened as far as we are concerned, is that men ready for the front were given no preference whatever, & that only 5% of our total strength, which included trained men, untrained, and “neutrals” were given leave. Such is life.

I’ll write to Mrs Richards this mail also to Mrs Askey & Mrs Casbourne of N. Mrs Casbourne is actually sending me a xmas parcel. That’s very good of her isn’t it.

A girl in Birmingham, whom I met a Weymouth whilst at the Signal School, is going the right way to spoil me, and everything else into the bargain _ _ _. She sent me a parcel a couple of days ago which contained, 1 large cake, 3 doz nice chocolate biscuits, 1 lb of stoned almonds, big bunch of raisins & two very big sticks of toffee. Just after the parcel arrived, Wal Frazer, who must have a pretty good nose, turned up, so “the troops” & he adjourned to the Signal School & had a beano[?]. We made some cocoa, & then opened the parcel. Would you believe it? There was not a “neutral” amongst us. In spite of our valiant efforts however, we couldn’t dispose of half. Next morning one of the Signal Officers spotted it, & made it look horribly foolish for awhile.

If the next draft doesn’t leave before xmas, I think that I will be on it. I’ve been a “neutral” quite long enough now don’t you think. I received a Field PC from Percy saying he was in Hosp (France) sick, & getting on well. Haven’t heard any further from him yet. Vivie, I believe is at some school or other in France. It finishes if I remember right, just before xmas. Vernie was OK by Vivie last letter.

I can see by the description that when we get back, we will see “some” home. I can hardly imagine what things will be like. You & Dad surrounded by 3 young ladies, & two strapping youths, a piano, furniture, & garden - & even Ponto – if not the original Ponto, a namesake. It all seems such a long long way ahead. I can hardly dare to even picture getting back, but even this war cannot last for ever & so far our luck is holding good. Still address to c/o Mrs M. I’m sorry to say, she has not been too well lately at all. Her heart is affected by her trouble. One of the ones you addressed to her you omitted to give the town but it was eventually delivered O.K!

Well everything here points to the possibility of having a fairly enjoyable xmas – in camp. Your loving son & brother
Bert

 

 

 

 

 

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