Norman – Mum: 15 Mar 1917

March 15th 1917
Dear Mum,
I got the shaving gear and soap alright thanks to you and have now pretty well everything that I shall want here.  Neil has told you I think in his letter about the special extra leave at easter.  They are giving us four days off and we are coming home for it by the special train.

I have not had a bad time so far although I have not been quite so lucky as Neil has.  His luck seems to follow him everywhere and he has not struck any of the very unpleasant fatigues so far,  while I have dropped in two or three times.

The drill is not hard by any means, but sometimes it gets dreadfully monotonous.  I have had right and left turn so often during the day that I am turning first one way and then the other when I tumble in to my little cot at night.   The officers of our company are as good as anyone could possibly wish for and look after us in every way possible.  In fact I have been far more comfortable here than I was in Tiroa  and so far I am as fit as a fiddle.  We have seen Vic every day except when he went in to Wellington on leave and we have all knocked around together of an evening.

We saw him last about 4:30 am on Wednesday morning when we were on all night inner line picket.  He was packing up to go on board then and so we bade him goodbye as we had to return to the hutment to sleep about 6 am I heard today (Thursday) that the boat sailed last night but it may be only a rumour like  hundreds more that are floating round the camp all the time.  There are so many unreliable reports that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any that we hear.  The Medical Officer examined me a few days ago as a result of my application for a transfer to the ambulance but I am not quite sure what the verdict was although I fairly confident for he said that if I continued at infantry work I would have to have more veins attended to.

I have heard that we are putting in one month here and we are then going by train to Featherstone, but so far we have had nothing official.  I met Walter Grundy from Waiterimu last night – he came in yesterday – and he was telling me all the newsfrom the land of the cockies.  He is not the only one that I know here for I am running up against old friends all the time.  On the train I met one of the teachers that I knew at Te Kuiti and a brother of one of the chaps that used to work at May’s sleeps in the same hut as we do.  Walter Grundy’s brother Fred is in the 23rds with Vic and Jim Galbraith is in the 25th.  We have not had our proper uniform issued to us yet so we are wearing a suit of Bill Massey’s dungarees and we look like soldiers not arf.  The only consolation is that all the rest of the 27ths are in the same convict rig.  The boots are A1 quite different from what I expected and I have worn them since the first day as i prefer them to the other boots for walking over rough metal.

Tell Gorrie that Mr Richmond from the Gas Co is in our hutment.  Vic told me that Gorrie knew him well and also mentioned that he was a Trentham adjective gasbag .  Write me a letter as soon as you can and remember that I have no girls to write to me like Neil has.

Charlie Musker is getting on an average six letters a day.  God knows how many Neil is getting I have not been in to see how many come for him very often.

Cant you find a bit of skirt up there to write letters to a lonely soldier

Don’t be at all alarmed if you get a telegram in a day or two as i will wire if we are transferred to Awapuni as you may be posting letters to the wrong place if I dont.

This is all the news now and it is just as well for I have used the last sheet of paper on the table.  The writing is atrocious but I cant help it. It is one of the penalties of being a school teacher.

Good bye just now
Your loving son

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