Pte W. Metcalfe 46534, E. Coy 100 T.R.B., 35 Camp, 19 Platoon, Rushmoor, Aldershot
I am taking my only opportunity of writing since Saturday and now I am dodging the Band master. I am very sorry but I do not think I will get leave for about another month; if not more. I will let you know later about coming down as I think we are going to be shifted into huts. I hope so! You ask how was it I did not write much in my first letter; one reason was that I had not much to say but the main thing was that I could not write much; for we had all been inoculated. I did not think I would tell you until it was all over and then you have nothing to worry about, as my arm is better now. About 10 fellows fainted or “bowled over” the first time we went on parade. About 10 “fell over” with the thoughts of being inoculated and more than that after. Since we have been down here no less than 40 boys have fainted. There are about 80 to 90 tents down here all in rows. One view from our tent is all sand-plane and there is always a strong wind blowing from that direction. The other day I told you about a fire, well, about 9.30 o’clock just as I was turning into bed we were all called out and marched round the camp once, and then told to go to our tents to be ready in a minutes notice, so we all had to sleep in our boots which was not very comfortable. One good thing was that we were not up all night as once company about a week ago. One boy was burnt severely around the neck when he fell into the flames and he was carried off to the hospital. The boy I chummed up with at the station has been transferred to another tent but he is with us in our tent most of the time. I thank you very much for the stamps as they will come in very very handy. We are going to be inspected by Lord French tomorrow, Tuesday, so I expect an account of it will be in the paper. We have our uniform now all except our socks and belts. Really I would rather be at home with you, than in this so called army. I am not quite so miserable now as I was, the first three days hardly eat anything. The last letter I wrote to you I anticipated filling up four pages; but I wrote so small that I could not think of any more to write. Some of the boys down here are having their hair cropped right short but I have dodged the barber so far. The first pair of Army boots I tried on I could almost walk round in but now I have a smaller pair and they look bad enough. The worst job here now is cleaning buttons but I suppose it will all fall right before long. I think the boys in our tent are all going to be cookhouse orderlies tomorrow so we will have a proper feed tomorrow. The canteen here is always besieged with crowds of boys but civilians are not served.
I will now close
With my best Love