Pte W. Metcalfe 46534, 19 Platoon, E. Coy 100 T.R.B., Talavera Bs, Wellington Lines, Aldershot
I am just having a little rest from band practice so I thought I would take this opportunity of writing to you. We have not very much time to spare now. Everything is getting short now, even food, and we all have to humble ourselves down to anything now. I must first of all thank you for my wristwatch & the Mag: but I will be much more pleased when I can thank you personally, with a kiss. I am waiting before I post this to let you know if I am coming home this week or not. The weather down here was cold yesterday and it is pouring of rain today. I hope it has not changed again for good. It is very funny but I have noticed that as our letters crossed in the post I have answered about 4 or 5 questions you have asked me before I got your letters. On Tuesday, our second day in barracks, we had to scrub the whole place out; it was a job and I was glad when it was finished. I thought before that I told you how inoculation was done, but it must have been Mum. Our arms are painted with iodine, on the back of the arm about four inches above the elbow. The doctor then takes a syringe which is full of typhoid germs, or some other fine things. The top has a rather blunt point which hurts more, and then he sticks it in a flame and gets it hot and then does the same thing in our arms and at the same time squirts out a certain number number of these little white things. After a couple of hours these germs start fighting against our blood which lasts for about two days and makes a heavy feeling in the arm; not an acute pain. If the new germs win the second dose of “nock” as it is called, does not hurt as much as the first. We have to go out into some woods about 2 miles from barracks for band practice. Yesterday we had two slices of bread for breakfast, The same for tea and some flaked maize after dinner which hardly anybody ate. I could have gone the lot in one meal. I am not putting too much faith in going to Wimbledon because most of the boys doubt it now. Last night three other boys and myself went to a “Mission hall” and the speech was about “Daniel” which was good. The streets in town look one mass of khaki with pleanty of “red caps” or military police here and there. I have not been pulled up yet, but I have got a pass now so I am safe. I am going to practice again now but will post this as soon as I know deffinate about a pass.
Am sorry I cannot get leave, but if you should care to come down on Sunday I think you have just time to let me know. Please let me know the time of trains. I can leave barracks any time after 11 o’clock Sunday morning. Should you come down in the afternoon, my dinner time is finished at 1.30.
Hoping to see you soon
PS I heard from F. Champ yesterday. Have heard from Dad once Mum once and Mabel once. I rely on all your letters.