Neil – Mother, Gorrie & Dad: 20 Jun 1918

NZ Discharge Depot
Torquay, Devon

Dear Mother ( & Gorrie & Dad)

I dont include Mat because the stuff that I write for her is altogether too frivolous for a xxx Therefore she’ll get a special one for herself.

I have been rather remiss in correspondence lately. There are a number of letters unanswered. I am writing this while I am supposed to be working in a compulsory commercial class, so it might be a bit disjointed. The first letter I take out is from you 24-3-18. I have just had my photo taken here cabinet size by a good firm. I haven’t seen the prints yet to know whether it is going to be a good article but I shall send you one (or more) in any case. Photos from Pagent St are always welcome. I got one of Mat & Doug yesterday. Mat looks as if she had been giving Doug her meat and sugar coupons to play with. Since being Blightied I have received 1 tin Biscuits (Vics), 2 tins Butter (1 Vics), 2 tins of chocolates (1 Vics). The birthday cakes have not come to hand yet. Here’s hoping. The fever I had was P.U.O.S.S.S or pyrexia of unknown origin with severe subjective symptoms, in other words “trench fever”, same as Trot. It is 6 months today since I first went into hospital. Fever is damnably uncomfortable but in between times there is no doubt about its being better than the line.

Next letter Gorries 27-1-18 from Waiheke.

21-6-18 I was interrupted there and had to do some work.

Next from you 20-1-18. I did not get the Ponsonby School parcel, nor the Grammar Old Boys. This was one of the delayed letters and is therefore rather out of date.

Next from you 31-3-18. You recalled the picnic we all had to Waiheke on leave and wondered where I was as you were writing, “not at a picnic” you supposed. If it was Sunday morning you were writing, I was, because that would be Easter Saturday evening here and I was at Cayeux Con Camp sports and picnic at Brighton-Plage at that moment, just before my third relapse. A Fritz plane came over about 3 miles high just a tiny speck way up in the blue and dropped two bombs at a lighthouse about 3/4 of a mile away. The bombs missed by about 1/4 of a mile on the other side so were about a mile from us. Altogether I have been near four active air raids where bombs were dropped and in about 8 other “aircraft over” warnings where nothing was dropped. And that is all of the war I am at all anxious to see. Bill Massey’s son whom you mention as wounded is very popular with the boys – very game and sporty so a member of his platoon told me. He is as well liked as his old man is disliked.

Next from Gorrie 7-4-18. I shouldn’t mind taking a trip to Omaha in the launch (or one to Auckland in a liner)

Another from you 3-2-18. Nothing much to comment on.

One from Dad 16-4-18. Lt. Hughes used to sit next to me for Applied Maths lectures. I feel sure Roy’s patriotic aspirations may safely be trusted to Vic’s dealing. I suppose they’ll wilt before he’s twenty. Dad seems to see some connection between my letter to mat containing many words but no news, and Gorries cosmxxs (can’t spell it) which don’t bear peaches. Of course I knew my prose was delicate and flowing, but no one before has ever compared it with cosmxxs.

One from Gorrie 22-4-18.
It is funny to have Gorrie writing that Vic would probably get a base job when, at that moment, Vic was well through Panama, on his way home. Vic should have cabled the joyful tidings. Never mind, I shouldn’t growl; it means so many extra parcels if you were thinking he was still in England. I shouldn’t be surprised if he was at Fullers (?) this moment.

That is all the letters up to date.

I shall probably be going on leave to Scotland along with Trot who is still at Brockenhurst & getting leave from there today week. I think there is quite a good chance that Trot & I may not go to France again till next year. They are short of medicals in England and have a surplus in France owing to the disbandment of No 4 Field Amb.

I have seen the proof of the photos. Nothing very extra but you’ll probably get them as soon as you get this and can judge for yourself.

My throat is still a little troublesome and my heart still irregular. I’d give a lot to get a trip home out of it.

Ever yours