Neil – Gorrie: 13 Dec 1917

Pvt N.H.Smith
France 13-12-17
Dear Gorrie,
I have received two letters from you.  The first I open is dated 30-9-17, the one written Sunday morning when the crowd were away at Mt Roskill.  You lucky devil – i’d change lungs and circumstances with you willingly (apparently Gorrie had been declined for military Service because of a problem with his lungs)  and bear your semi disappointment at having missed the world’s tour. (ie, the war) How would you like to be waiting to go up the line before Xmas where the semi frozen mud is up to your -er- hips  and where the man with mud only up to his knees is regarded as having a nice cushy job.  I shall be very pleased to get that photo of Doug and of any of the rest that may be taken.  It will be a long while yet you know , before we see Doug over here.  Pleased to hear Mat is so much better.  Tell her I am receiving her weekly letters regularly every Tuesday!  Funny thing,  I received your letters among a lot of others late last night and just glanced through them very quickly and cursorily     to make sure you were all alive.  I evidently read about Mat’s going to Wellington and forgot about it, because I dreamt she did last night and thought my dream was quite original until I reread the letters this morning and found that either you or Dad had mentioned that that was her intention.  The funny thing I crossed out above comes now.  I dreamt also something that was not mentioned, viz that Roy accompanied her to nurse Doug, – Roy, a real, live, one-wart leiutenant, “one of THOSE”,  meaning those who get their tunics wet tho not having sense enough to come in out of the rain, and hang them out overnight to dry and find in the morning that a star has fallen during the night on to the tunic.  I suppose Roy got his commission the same way as most of the rest.  He was an N.C.O. who didn’t know enough to be made into a full private, so they made him a lieutenant and told him never to give any order except “Carry on, Sergeant Major!”
Eric Watkin tells me that a communication, probably a bill, arrived at the school for me from my dentist and that he would sent it home by Roy.  I was under the impression that I had paid up.  Possibly he has duplicated a bill I paid when on final leave.  The other letter I received from you was dated 16-9-17, Mum’s was 23-9-17.  Dad’s, the latest, was 17-10-17.  Shall also write also to Dad & Mat if I get the time.


You see from above that our most recent letter is nearly 10 weeks old.  I think some of your letters must have been sunk because we have just received four weeks mail after waiting seven weeks.