Norman – Dad: 2 Oct 1917

Oct 2nd 1917
Dear Dad
I received your cable telegram asking for particulars re Vic’s wound about two hours ago.  Where it has been in the meantime God only knows.  It reached Sling camp on Aug. 26th while we were there, but for some reason or other was returned to N.Z. Records, London, marked “No card at Sling Aug 26th”.  We both, as you know, retained our infantry numbers  and I think that that is the explanation of the non delivery of the cable for all the original Medical Corps hane their numbers starting with three bar, thus:-  3/(No,).  They evidently looked among the infantry records to find our address, and, failing in their search came to the conclusion that we were not in the camp.  It was sent back to Sling again on Sept 29th but was again returned to records marked, “No card at Sling Spt 29th” and was sent on here, today.  I was pretty wild when I found that it was about five weeks late owing to someones carelessness.  We did not cable directly we heard about Vic for several reasons.  We knew nothing of his real condition until we had a letter from Vic himself about 21 Aug stating that he had been only slightly wounded.  It was then six weeks from the date of his wound and we considered that during that time you would have been sure to have received a hospital report stating his condition.  Vic did not say in his letter whether he had cabled himself and we did not know until we saw him on Spt 6th that he had not done so owing to his being rather afraid of giving Mum a shock by cabling.   Not even Vic knew that he had been wrongly reported “severely” wounded until we received your letter about a fortnight ago and Vic said that it would be ridiculous to cable then as his first letter would have reached you weeks before.  It has been a horrible bungle from the first and the people most to blame are those on the staff at sling and at Records, London.  Neil and I were, as I told Gorrie, put down as emergencies for the next draft for oversea and, as two men were put out owing to defects we were definitely put down to go over.    Just now, however, the orderly corporal told me that five men would have to stay behind owing to the draft being cut down, but I am not yet sure whether we will have to go or not.  I will net you know, if possible, before I close this letter down.  If we are kept back it will be about two or three weeks before we are sent across.  We have been at Eweshott (four miles from Aldershot) since last Thursday (Sept 25th) and are leading a rather easy sort of life with little to do and plenty to eat.  The country around is rather pretty and interesting and a row on the canal which Neil and I had last Sunday afternoon was quite an enjoyable outing.  All things considered we are not doing so bad .  I forgot to say that Eweshott is the N.Z. artillery’s training camp and as we all belong to specialist corps the conditions are fairly comfortable .  Had we received your cablegram the day it arrived at Sling we could have reassured Mum completely as we could have got a reply through to you in a very short time.  But under the circumstances I think that we were quite justified in thinking that there was no anxiety at home.  You can be sertain that at all times we will do our best to give you all the news possible.  Many thanks for your long letter and write again soon and I will do my best to keep you all well posted up.  We are both A1 and are likely to remain so.  Tell Mum not to worry.