Neil – Dad: 28 Sep 1917

Dear Dad,
The first of a new N.Z. mail came in this morning.  Trot  got letters from you and Clyde and I from Gorrie and Gertie all dated August 5th.  There will probably be more letters come to hand tomorrow and next day as they get sorted.  Gorrie mentioned something about expecting a cable from us about Vic if we saw him, but, of course we did not see him until after you would have received a letter from him in hospital.  Should I be lucky enough to get a buckshee you can depend on me cabling.  I’ll have to, for otherwise I should not have any money to spend on my fortnights leave at my present rate of expenditure.  I have had a bit of hard luck in some ways lately.  I lost my chessmen (the pocket set, 25/- ) just before I reached Cape Town.  I left my meerschaum pipe on the top of the cupboard in my cabin when I disembarked.  I hear that it helped to stop a torpedo on her way round to another port after we had left.  I lost a quid note last Monday.  I smashed my wristlet watch on board – get it repaired onshaore – cost 7/6 – smashed it again yesterday – and it wont go now even though I have given it full permission to go to a place where the brass would melt.  Its a horrible war alright.  If it goes on much longer I shall have only Govt. gear left.

Gorrie says that you have posted us a parcel of cake and butter.  Parcels and newspapers take about a month more to reach us than letters.  The butter will be rather a curiosity.  We have had none for over six weeks and it is just as impossible to get it when on leave.    Margarine is not so bad though.  The smell of it is slightly objectionable – thats all.

As you can see by the heading we have packed up our troubles and left Sling since writing last.  We are the nucleus of a new  camp to be called the N.Z. Medical Reserve Depot, Ewshot, Hants.  We are about 4 miles from Aldershot city and about 36 1/2 from Waterloo Station – rather far to see an air raid well.  The Gothas have a lovely night for it tonight  – moon nearly full with a very light high mist – river clearly visible from 2 miles up, but searchlights useless.  They have undoubtedly got London wet.  You ought to read between the lines of some of the London newspapers in the Library, about raid precautions, curtailment of working hours to get people home before dark, closing of evening theatres etc.  We go from here to Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot for a months training before we go over.  France seems a lot further away now than when we went into camp.  You used to be fond of quoting Bernard Shaw’s or somebody’s statement that a man who wrote more than three pages was an idiot, so I shall give the rest of the news in a letter I shall write to Mum in a couple of days.  (Neil constrained his letter to fit on three pages)


P.S.  Shall drop Gertie a P.C. before long.