Norman – Gorrie: 7 Feb 1918

Somewhere in France
7th Feb 1918
Dear Gorrie,
I received your letter dated Dec 2nd today along with 2 from Vic and 1 from Neil. These were the first letters I have received for two months so you can imagine how pleased I was. I received a cake marked from S.G.Smith a few days ago and the tin of chocolates you mentioned in your letter. They were all in first class condition. We have plenty of those sorts of reminders that you at home have not forgotten us out here. I sometimes feel a bit guilty at not writing oftener than I do, but there are extenuating circumstances. I also received a parcel from Mrs May containing 1 tin of honey, 1 balaclava, & 1 handkerchief. It came as a surprise as I was not expecting anything from that quarter. Vic’s second letter is dated Jan 20th and he states that brother in law Mac is in Sling and he (Vic) expects to be going there soon.

Neil’s letter is obviously not the first he has written as he refers to something he mentioned in previous letters – letters which I have not yet received. He is now at a convalescent Depot and from what he says he is likely to be joining us up here soon. I am still keeping well and except for the “little things” I am not having such a bad time. In case you don’t know what I mean by the “little things” I will tell you that they are the creeping crawling lice which make their home in one’s woollen underwear, I have carried out several vigorous counter attacks on them with severe losses to the enemy, but their numbers don’t seem to decrease very much.

Oh well! I don’t suppose that a fellow can call himself a soldier until he has been half eaten by them. Many thanks for your kind offer to send money if we cable, but I don’t think there will be any need as i have not drawn a pay for a long time now and I have 5-10-0 to my credit in my pay book as well as some “ready” to carry on with.

One spends very little out here and I can’t expect leave for a long time to come. I think that with any luck I will be able to “carry on ” and even act as banker to Neil if necessary.

My hope at present is that I shall never have to stay long enough in France to qualify, but it is very hard to say at present which way things are likely to go. We are not badly off for amusements even here.

Just across the road from our camp is a theatre seating 400 where a party of “tommy” Pierrot Boys give a first class entertainment for the sum of half a franc (about 4 1/2 pence)

About a mile away there is the N.Z. Div. theatre where the “kiwis” give the “Forty Thieves” pantomime every night. Of course there are no girls among the performers, but their absence is made up for by what the “Daily Mail” calls “petticoat camouflage”. Boys dress up as girls and play the parts so well that it would be hard in some cases to tell the difference between them and the real thing although their voices give some of them away.

I have been to both theatres several times and I must say that I have seen far worse performances in the Auckland Theatres many a time.

8th Feb 1918 (should be 1918)
I knocked off writing last night to go over and see the “Tommy” Pierrots again. The programme was the best I have seenand I enjoyed it splendidly. Another “Star” arrived this afternoon date Nov 24th but no more letters yet. I expect a big bundle soon. The weather continues to get milder and wetter so I expect it wont be long before we are into the spring

There is nothing more just now

Au Revour

Feb 9th
I got two more papers today from the post one dated Sep 3rd and the other Nov 3rd. The Sep 3rd “Star”, which contained the result of the ballot in which you were drawn had evidently been a long time on the road as the outside was dirty and torn. It should really have arrived with the mail I received early in December but somehow it went astray. I mentioned in a letter to Mum that I had got a “Star” dated Nov 10th. That makes four altogether – Sept 3rd, Nov 3rd, Nov 10th, Nov 24th.

I see Willie Storey’s name in the ballot. You will remember that he was the son of the old lady I worked for so long at Waiterimu. I see no star against his name either and he is heir to one of the biggest farms in the district.