30 January 1917

[unknown date assumed 30.1.17]

No 8 Camp

Dear Homefolks
Ida’s of 27/11/16 & Mums of 2/12/16 & 10/12/16 to hand.

Yes I jolly well think you ought to be ashamed of yourself Ida for neglecting your loving brother, whose undying love & admiration for you is so wonderful that it survives triumphant, all your many faults & your cruel neglect _ _ _.

Well I’m jiggered, Fancy having a 4 by ! mirror stuck up to practice your bewitching smiles & facial heart palpataters. No wonder you girls can make a man go rocky with a flick of your eyelashes.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the names of those little & big girls in the photo. It wasn’t an oversight. As a matter of fact I didn’t know them _ _ _.

Please do not imagine that I’m going to the dogs cos I nurse girls I do not know. My long & varied experience of girls (since the war) has enabled me to discover that it is quite safe to nurse girls you do not know, whereas it is decidedly unsafe to do so with ones you know _ _ _.

Good heavens Ida, don’t get worrying over your freckles. I love every one of them. Especially those adorable little ones on your nose. They were put there specially to be kissed. Why I’d never kiss you on the nose again if you got rid of them. So just you be very thankful for them.

And so my little Ida is sweet 17 & never been – shall we say – K – no we won’t, we’ll say 18.

Ida when I go to France I’ll try hard & send you all some interesting souvenirs each one with a history if I can. I could send you plenty of buttons etc from here but they have no value as souvenirs.

I’m so pleased that you are so good in French & English & also that you are having another year at school. I felt quite sorry when I heard that you were leaving. I’m as proud as anything of my three sisters. You three are lovely things to own. I wouldn’t swap anyone of you for the best .3’ ever coined _ _ _. & I’M BROKE _ _ _.

Am very pleased Rita to hear that my own little sister is growing so well & big. I can see that I’ll have some job throwing you round the world & back again _ _ _. Never mind, if I can’t do that, I’ll tickle you till you lose your breath _ _ _.

Received the last of the 3 parcels yesterday, Mum. Thanks very much for them. I made the contents look foolish. They each arrived independently with nearly a months interval between each.

Yes Mum, the two kidlets are the same in both photos. Haven’t seen any of them since the photos were taken.

Your letters have been arriving OK lately Mum. Keep addressing them to Mrs M. by the way she is not too good lately. Her grief has affected her heart & the Dr says she must always have someone with her.

As you all seem so anxious W.F. was classed A1 at the Lloyds some time ago _ _ _. Just got a note from him in France. He is quite O.K.

Yes by jove I’d love some snaps of our place. Get some from all places & have some of the family in each. Let me see. You & Dad in the garden, Viola in her element – up one of the trees _ _ _. Ida & Rita running around the house with Ponto doing chasing stunt. And Eric & Gordon knitting sox on the back verandah _ _ _. Any & all sorts of snaps will be very welcome. I’m not adverse to having some of her ladyship either. Also Clytie, Dorothy, & Wasabell, Isabell & alwal#llbeabell.

Thanks so much for the xmas bush Mum & also the cuttings.

I got an awful shock yesty as no doubt you did also when you heard it. Hadn’t heard from that scamp of a Vernie for 4 months until yesty when he coolly advises me of his matrimonial intentions. Gee. I thort I was sudden, but never any more. I haven’t got over it yet. And he is trying to get over here for 3 weeks from the 9th Feby to get married. Well I’m jiggered. Two war weddings in one family in one war. Can’t we go the whole hog, & engineer three more? _ _ _. I’m quite agreeable, Percy is floating about Brumm with my extra special English girl, & having no end of a good time, & I dare say that Viola __________ _ _ _. Don’t know what Percy’s views are but I’m afraid that the other two will have to wait till peace is declared _ _ _.

I think I told you that I just missed a draft through half the men being inefficient. Well I’ve just missed another which leaves tomorrow. I was on it, but last Thursday a man in my hut got measles & now the hut is isolated for 3 weeks. Being isolated merely prevents us from proceeding over seas & in my case using the Sgts mess. We have to parade as per usual _ _ _. Funny sort of isolation isn’t it _ _ _.

Percy is on leave at present & as I said before, having no end of a good time with my little English girl in Brumm. He is spending a week in Brumm & a week with Mrs M. He then reports to the Command Depot at Perham Downs about 12 miles away. With any sort of luck I’d be able to see him.

I collected Vivies sovenirs from the officer who had them I’ll post them to Mrs M. to look after.

The weather here has been bitterly cold. I’m in bed writing this. It is imposs to keep warm otherwise. With 30 men in the hut one can’t get near the fire.

Well I’ll close now with best love from your loving son & brother Bert.






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