Neil – Mother 11 Mar 1917

Sunday 11th
Dear Mother,
I thought I’d drop another line because you might like to know
as soon as possible anything definite about Vic. He is going finally on
board the Ruapehu tomorrow but it is unlikely that he will leave for
some time yet perhaps a week or more, owing to the fact that there is no
escort available and there is a German raider in the Indian Ocean. We have
been seeing Vic pretty frequently. We had to set things working the other
night and change beds etc, with chaps in another hutment because all in our
hutment were going to be transferred to the 26th. We fixed it all right and
the six or so of us are all together and still in the 27ths. It took some
working though. Roy Neeley is in the 26ths. A chap in the Prisl Church this
morning remained seated while they sang God save the King, and that led to a
bit of a fight during the singing
The Sgt-Major the other day was yarning us about saluting. He explained
that when you saluted a commissioned officer it was not the man you were
saluting but the authority he held from the King. “In fact”, he went on,
“its the King you are saluting”. One hard case chipped in from the back,
“well who the ruddy hell is he, anyway. So there’s a bit of what is termed
Rafferty rule here all right, but there is a very fair sprinkling of
patriotic chaps like myself who waited only about two and a half years
before enlisting

Amen (church this morning)
49123, Pte N H Smith
A Company
27th Reinforcements

On fatigue duty yesterday. But all I and another chap did was to walk round
the camp in the morning for half an hour as insanitary inspection of huts and then
burn one sack in the afternoon. No one else got out of it near so well
Trot and Charlie navvied. I rather like this sort of life took house
orderly to-morrow. I shall have to use my ingenuity to see if I can dodge
onion pealing.
Let us know immediately if any letters arrive opened or censored. All
letters posted in camp (not those to camp) must bear name etc of sender on

The 27th are quite famous down here for the time they gave Gunson when
leaving. The hutment next to us have been christened (and accordingly named
in whitened stones on coal slack garden beds in front of the huts) GUNSON’S
CATS. On account of the fact that the camp has kindly assumed from the look
of them that most of the hissing came from them. The hutment I am in, of
course got the P.M.O. prize of extra leave for cleanliness and tidiness. So
they have christened us on our garden bed MOTHERS DARLINGS.
Very little hope of transfer of anyone to Ambulance.