Pte W. Metcalfe 46534, 19 Platoon, E. Coy 100 T.R.B., Talavera Barracks, Wellington Lines, Aldershot
I received your letter this morning and I am glad to hear you enjoyed yourself so much; I could see you did not like leaving me and that was the only part besides the rain I did not like, you having to go home. It seemed so short a meeting. You say “W.L.” is talking of “joining up”; he has always done that. I have had my name put down for a transfer into R.F.C. there are only two to be chosen in our battalion this month so perhaps I do not stand much of a chance. I think the best thing for me to do is to keep in the band and not take promotion; if I stay in it always, in the end I have a chance of dodging the trenches; they put some bandsmen on stretcher bearing, etc. it is dangerous work but I would prefer that to “pig sticking”. You may content yourself with the fact, that I will never care for to stay in the army a minute longer than I can possibly help. There are all sorts of roumours as to where we are going to move to. First it’s India, then Ireland, next Wimbledon, and now I believe we are going into some barracks about half a mile from where we are now; I think the best thing to do is to “wait and see”. That storm started about ten o’clock and I went to sleep and it did not keep me awake at all; I am sorry to hear you got so frightened; perhaps you wanted me there with you. I hope you enjoy yourself Whit Monday; I do not think we have any extra time off but we must put up with what we get; it is a silly thing being in the Army. I do not know why some boys want to join. One of the six boys that ran away last Saturday night one returned Sunday midnight and no one knew he was there until the morning. All he got was three days pay stopped but the others will get it hotter. He went home to see his brother who was home from the front so I do not blame him for his pluck. Two of the others tried to escape before but were caught and let off so as to keep the new company from any black marks; I think they will get about a fortnights “CB” and seven days pay stopped when they are caught. I have eaten all of that “hoard”, and I do not feel any weaker for it. Dear Emmie, you cannot write too much at a time for me, if you took the hint from where I said I might fill four pages, you misunderstood me, because I meant the paper was so common that the writing was going through. I received your lucky sixpence and I hope it will bring me good fortune.
I will now close, With my very Best Love, Your Will xxxxx
PS Please remember me to all at home and at the “Mish”