9th May 1917

Dear Emmie

In answering your letter I forgot to ask you to send my watch down.  Please do so, and will you register it as ordinary parcels are thrown about.  Please will you ask my Mother to register any money she may send.  I think it is a cert that we are going in Barracks next Monday.  I hope so.

Will now close

With Best Love 


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8th May 1917

Pte W. Metcalfe 46534, E. Coy 100 T.R.B., 35 Camp, 19 Platoon, Rushmoor, Aldershot
Dear Emmie

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 

Will xx

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6th May 1917

Pte W. Metcalfe 46534, E. Coy 100 T.R.B., 35 Camp, * 19th Platoon, Rushmoor, Aldershot
Dear Emmie

It is Sunday today and I still have nothing to do, but I will write you as frequently as possible as it is so monotonous down here.  I have not yet received a letter from you (Sunday evening) but I suppose it is because this being a new camp the postal system is not yet perfect.  We have just got a proper letter box; before, we had a wooden box, not a foot square.  Letters will be delivered to me more quickly if you add to the address * 19 Platoon.  This morning 11 of us went to Farnham, about 2 miles out of bounds.  This evening we went to Aldershot town; also out of bounds.  We have not been caught yet, but when we get our uniforms (which I hope will not be long) we may go to town, without a pass, any time from about 6 p.m. til 9. p m.  The countryside is always being set fire to; either by sparks from engines or by the friction of rubbing trees.  While we were at Aldershot one of these fires occurred and all our Company with two or three others were called out to beat out the flames which were about 15 feet high.  They had to march about four miles there and back but we got out of that.  The fire was near the magazine so was rather dangerous.  Another fire broke out near our bombing schools yesterday and we were all called out, but were dismissed again because it had been put out.  I think we will all get our uniforms tomorrow for certain and then we will be proper soldiers.  They set us out with two suites, one for working and one for best, two pairs of boots, three shirts, two pairs of pants, a tooth brush, hair brush, comb, two boot brushes, one clothes brushes, one polish brush for buttons, a rasor, and shaving brush, overcoat, cardigan, soap, two towels, basin & plate for all food, knife fork & spoon, and a pair of putties and a cap.  Our drills start tomorrow so I will be glad when I get into the band so as it will not be too stiff.  I hope they do not send me to the military barber for he nearly shaves the hair off of the mens’ heads.  The N.G.O’s and officers are very lenient here; I do not know wether they will become stricter later.

I cannot think of any more to say now, so hoping to here from you very soon

I remain Yours

With Love

 Will x

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4th May 1917 7.30pm

Pte W. Metcalfe 46534, E. Coy 100 T.R.B., 35 Camp, Rushmoor, Aldershot
Dear Emmie

I was thinking of you about 8 o’clock last night and was wondering where I would have been, were I not at Aldershot.  I begin to miss you after the first day, so I hope I will get leave soon.  We are not allowed to go to town yet as we have no uniform and are supposed not to know how to salute.  We have 48 hours to ourselves and are supposed to be in camp, but I believe we are out of bounds.  I am now at the time of writing this letter, sitting in a field with my back against a tree in between Aldershot and Farnborough with about half a dozen aireoplanes overhead.  I might get into a band with the cornet, the[n] I will not have to go on fatigues, that is, picking up pieces of paper or any odd job a N.G.O. wishes to order me to do.  There are also less drills in the band.  I slept fairly well the first night and I hope I’ll sleep as well tonight.  It is absolutely a waste of time being down here and I think I will give my notice in soon.

Hoping you are quite well

With Love Will

P.S.  Please remember me to all.

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4th May 1917

Pte W. Metcalfe 46534, E. Coy 100 T.R.B., 35 Camp, Rushmoor, Aldershot
Dear Emmie

We arrived quite safe, just in time for dinner; which was fairly good.  Tea was not quite so good.  The boys in my tent are very good class, without one exception.  Two or three play the piano and one is a professional & composer.  We will have to wait two or three days for our khaki.  Our camp is about one and a half miles from the station. I do not think I have any more to say so I will now close. With Best Love, Will

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