Neil – Mother: 24 Mar 1918

No 5 Conv. Camp
Dear Mother
I have received a number of letters since writing last and a cake and a tin of sugar, also two October Stars from Gorrie. The cake and sugar were both in excellent condition and, being good, died young. I also received a letter from Mat, but they managed to bring me round again alright.

There’s a letter from Gorrie 16-12-17 containing the newspaper cuttings re the escape of those prisoners. It’s rather amusing the way they play about out there. I was told in a letter from someone else that the Colonel in command at Tauranga turned out the National Reserve and a few other Last Hopes at midnight, had them take two blessings from a parson and make their wills on the wharf (all at m/n) put a guard on the cemetery (near the entrance to the harbour) and went out with the rest on a launch to take shelter under an island to be ready in case the escaped Germans opened up a gas attack on Tauranga with petrol fumes which I gather was the only ammunition they possessed. They all returned to Tauranga about 8 a.m. offended because the skipper of the Ngapuhi swore at them for holding up his vessel. It sounds too good to be true especially the “will” part but it is all fact right enough.

The great German offensive which will probably be old news by the time you get this has just commenced; we can feel the shake of the guns here, quite close enough too, I am glad I am not one of the poor devils up in it.

There’s a letter from you Dec 23rd. I am writing to Sis quite as often as she writes to me. Also to Agnes whom you also mention as having complained of my shortcomings as regard letters. Has Roy still got the silly idea of stewing himself for the rest of his life in India? It was Grundy whom you mention as killed who told us at Sling about Vic being wounded. Another letter from you Dec 9th. It is funny Vera beginning to walk. I was still imagining her somewhere near the “long clothes” stage. Another 9-1-18 – Nothing much to answer among its news. Tell Isaac Jolly that I had made sure he had forgotten me by this time. [My satisfaction was rather premature]

Monday. Another letter from Gertie 10-12-17. I’ll send her a separate reply. Also a letter from Dad. His chronic pessimism ought to settle Roy’s peculiar ideas if anything will. A letter from Gorrie 12-1-18. He mentions having aired our clothes in the sun. I had quite forgotten that I had left any. The sooner I come back and wear them out the better. He mentions sending along some biscuits which he thinks will keep crisp (the last lot did beautifully) because Dad is soldering the tin. He always makes a thorough job of it. The only time I ever knew an army clasp knife breaking was on the solder of one of the cake tins. We get over the difficulty now by opening the tins at the bottom opposite the solder. But joking aside they need thorough soldering, the bashing about they get en route. Arthur Neal went back on the same troopship as the one on which he came. Another one from Gorrie 16-12-17. We got the 1 lb tin sugar you posted alright. I got Trots too. I dont feel the want of sugar much (it isn’t very short in France) so I didn’t stick to it, but posted it on

(rest of letter missing)