Neil – Mother: 23 Apr 1918

1st letter

Dear Mother
I came here today from Walton via London. I have not cabled you yet on account of the fact that I have no money, and it is the devil’s own job to get any money out of them. It is possible to cable on the credit in ones pay book if the cable is posted up to London and sent through the pay office, but in that case the money I want you to send would have to be sent back through the Pay Office which means all sorts of restrictions on my receiving it, and if it is sent through the Bank of N.Z. I can get it right away. I don’t see their right to interfere at all. They only give me 6d or a 1/- a day (I am not sure which) of the £7-10-0 they now owe me, and they wouldn’t give me even that at Walton because I was admitted there a few hours after pay time. I understand from the orderly sergient that if I’m good and keep sober (on my lucky halfpenny, my only coin) I may get 7/- next Friday. By saving up and doing without supper and the 101 things one is in need of coming out of hospital, I’ll manage to save up enough for a cable in either 3 or 5 weeks, I’m not sure which. I am going to get myself taken before the C.O. tomorrow and if he refuses to give me a pound or so of my £7-10-0 I’ll tell him my opinion of the whole blessed show; lock stock and barrel. They will be offering me a fortnight’s sick leave in about two weeks and what chance is there of painting Ben Nevis scarlet and providing board and lodgings out of about the fiver which will be left out of my pay after paying for a number of odds and ends I am in need of now. I went over to No 1 camp about 3 miles from here this evening to make sure that Vic had gone. I could not walk of course, I was a bed patient only yesterday. In order to pay my tram fare I had to borrow 1/-. When I got there the orderly room kept me waiting about an hour and then informed me that they didn’t know whether Vic was on the strength of the camp or not. What do you think of that for organisation? I went around to the Camp Post Office in case an office idiot there might happen to know something, but it was shut. But Vic’s name was up on the list of those for whom there were parcels, so I concluded he might be there still. So I rang up the transport office but they told me he had been on the strength of the boat which left on April 1st. I believe the boat did actually leave then – I hardly think he was being humorous though the date looks suspicious. I am going to get hold of that parcel anyway. Of course if Vic had been here I could probably have got a quid from him, and then I should have told the whole crew of them to go to the dickens. Coming home here from where the tram stopped, I lost my way and was directed to the wrong billets with the result that I did a route march of about three miles it seemed, uphill and down dale, (this town is much like Wellington) before I got home again. I now feel awfully dead beat and played out, they made me put putties on my trench fever legs before they would allow me out – and I shouldn’t be very surprised if I was shoved back into hospital tomorrow.

This old town doesn’t seem a bad old show, but I’m feeling savage tonight. I feel better now that I’ve had a good growl even if no one hears it for six or seven weeks. There are plenty worse off I suppose. I’m still worth quite a lot of dead ‘uns.

I have still not received any mail of any kind