15th July 1917

Bandsman W. Metcalfe 46534, 19 Platoon, E Coy 100 T.R.B., Talavera Bks, Wellington Lines, Aldershot
Dear Emmie

I received your most welcome letter yesterday morning; I seem to know when they are coming and look forward to them as if I had not heard from you for a month. I was very disappointed at not being able to come home but I hope to see you next week. That is all I seem to live on now “hope”. This morning I went to Church Parade and just as we were finished we had a storm. It lasted for about three hours but has cleared off now. I went to the pictures last night; how did you enjoy yourself at Caterham? Did they cater for you as good as last time I went? Is Maud home for good now or only for a few days. What has she been doing as regard work? I hope you do not think I am asking too much about her only she is really to be pitied. If only the ceiling fell down and only a few windows broken at the shop, things must be dear, for Dad told me there was about forty pounds worth of damage done. I am interested enough to ask you, “What damage has been done on the G.N.R. by bombs from hostile aircraft? Were there any casualties? I do not think our new barracks are more than ten minutes quick walking from Talavera. I am not getting thin and I didn’t know I was fat and I don’t think I have grown much; in fact I think I am very much about the same. I would not spring up too much in case it took too much energy. I am not taking it as easy as I can here. If I get the hump I generally think of you. I mean it makes me feel brighter. I have also a lot to say (and do) when I see you. I have not forgotten what you look like as I often have a look at your photograph (which I have in my (“left hand”) pocket you know.) I always think of you when I am lying in bed of a night time and I close my eyes and fancy I can see you.

I will now close with Fondest Love Your Will xxx


12th July 1917

Bandsman W. Metcalfe 46534, 19 Platoon, E Coy 100 T.R.B., Talavera Bks, Wellington Lines, Aldershot
Dear Emmie

I received your letter this evening and you know what unhappy news this conveys. I am sorry that we are moving but I suppose this all comes in my “Bit”; I do not want it to be too big. Am hoping to see you soon but I had better not state any date or I suppose it will be altered again.

I would sooner be in the “hubbub” of the shop in Dean St than in this monotonous place, I am getting the hump here and will not feel better until I have seen you. Fancy you falling in love with that “wooly heady chap” you should have asked one of the girls what he was like and you might have been surprised. Was there a hole in the roof at the shop or did only part of the ceiling fall through. I speculated in a 1/2d paper that evening to see if there had been a raid and it said that the rumour had brought certain places down to the ground but there had been no raid. I am sorry I have to dissappoint you and I do not know what to say to ease your feelings. If I cannot be with you in reality on Saturday I shall be with you in thoughts.

I did get plenty of tea that day and have had plenty since as we have twelve rations between nine the other boys are on leave. I wish I could hear the mission’s old bell now or even the old mission bell. I hope to be in the choir next Sunday week as I did, next Sunday. Literally speaking the war will end when it finishes. The boys are being drilled by officers in training every morning and it is to last for ten weeks so we will not be shifting out of Aldershot for some time yet.

I now conclude

With Best Love Will xx

(I count almost every hour)


11th July 1917

Pte W. Metcalfe 46534
Dear Emmie

I am sorry to say that my leave is stopped again as we are moving into some more barracks on Tuesday next. I am getting the sick of this messing about, as I was looking forward to coming home this weekend. I will have to make up for lost time when I come home.

Best Love Will


10th July 1917

Pte W. Metcalfe 46534
Dear Emmie

I received your most welcome letter this afternoon, and I hope there was no air raid as people expected yesterday. I am glad to hear everything is alright at the shop but I have not had a letter from anybody at home just to say that they are safe; how would I go on if I hadn’t you to write to me?

About next Saturday! You know in the Army there is a lot of doubt, and “wait and see” sort of business so I do not know for certain that I have leave yet, but will let you know as soon as possible. All the other boys on leave have started for London by the 6.30 train therefore arriving before 8.00 which I dare say would had given you a surprise, but now I think they are catching one about 10 o’clock. By your letter I should think sugar is very hard to obtain; we don’t get much of it here. When I come home I will bring some army cake if I have any just to show you what it is like. This afternoon I am doing nothing as I have to parade a 6 o’clock for band practice. I think the band is playing at Officers’ mess on Thursday so we will have a feed. I have not had enough for either break-fast or dinner today so I hope we get something substantial for tea. I often wonder if you are wondering if I am wondering if you are wondering if I am wondering what you are wondering. I wonder if it is about me. (Got me !?)

The weather today is fine and I hope it keeps the same if I come up this week.

If I know for certain and have time I think I will ask Mr & Mrs Flowers to come to my place Sunday evening.

With Most Affectionate Love Will xx


9th July 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

In answer to yours, while I am writing this, there is great consternation going on outside, someone has come along with the rumour, “they are over the coast”, people are so terrified now at every sound, poor things there minds cannot settle on anything but air raids. I said everything was alright at the shop didn’t I, the machines & the young ladies are all safe. Your dad had a piece of the bomb that fell & he took it to the Police Station & they told him he was under a penalty of £150 if he had not handed it over to the police. The guns are going now, I expect it is practice. I think I should like to know what time you will be home on Saturday Will, so tell me. I know you are coming so I shall not be surprised. It would be nice if we could go to see Mrs Flower, but as you say there would not be very much time, we should have to go for the day & it would have to be Sunday, but please yourself I’m game, if you would like to go. I spent my Sat. eve. Not like you, but waiting in a sugar queue in Story St next to some filthy dirty women. I felt as if I could fly from them, & after waiting over an hr. and spending 2/6 I got ½ lb of sugar. I do not know very much about B.G’s affair but personally I think he was influenced. Well, it is time I prepared to go to work once more. I do not know if anything is going to happen, I have just heard, they are sending the people home from the City. I don’t suppose it is true, but I will let you know always as soon as I possibly can, after anything has happened, that we are all safe in York Rd & Tiber St. I will now close

With best and truest Love from Emmie x


8th July 1917

Pte W. Metcalfe 46534
Dear Emmie

I thank you very much for three letters, especially the last one; I got it Sunday morning or rather after dinner when the Sunday post was given out. I was wondering how you got on as the paper said “north London” but somehow I felt that you would be alright. I am glad to hear you are getting on so well at tennis; I should think you must have ached after beating a champion player. (I suppose that’s what you meant he was) I would have written you on Friday last had I had time only we did not get into barracks until after the last collection. I got on fairly well with the firing but I am glad it is over for a bit because I do not like the march. About B.G’s engagement! don’t you think it was his own fault, I would not let anyone guide me to do such a thing if I was in his position. I am sorry to hear about Mr Pennington “going under” it seems as if we are loosing most of our best men.

We do not exactly go from 7.30 to 4pm without food because we are searved with day rations, a piece of cake, which, if we do not eat it after breakfast to stay our hunger we have it about noon. Another thing about this cake is that when finding it was too bad for human consumption we gave it to some gypsy children and they would not eat it. Will you please tell Mr Warder that as I am likely to be home next week I will not be writing to him. If I do come home next Saturday would you like me to tell you what time I arrive in London, or would you like to have a little supprise. Mrs Flowers has also asked me down for a day when I am up and I could take you; but I do not think there would be time do you? Would you let me know exactly what happened at Dean St. I hope none of the machines are damaged. I went to the pictures last night with two other boys and in the middle of one the main picture they stopped and gave out the notice that 4 enemy machines were brought down. I will now conclude trusting by God that you will always be safe from air raids.

With Love From Your Sweetheart Will xxx


4th July 1917

Pte W. Metcalfe 46534, (Band) 19 Platoon, E. Coy 100 T.R.B., Talavera Barracks, Wellington Lines, Aldershot
Dear Emmie

I am writing this at 9p.m. sitting on the window-sill to get as much light as possible. I was about to write this, this morning and we had to fall in over an hour before the originally stated time.

I am glad to hear the Bazaar went off well; the takings were very good considering the times. Dear Emmie, there is never a day passes that I do not miss you; but I do my work mechanically so as the time goes quickly and it will not seem so long till we meet again. I know I always think of you as my “Ideal” but I do not seem to be able to express my feelings for you in writing but I will have a good go when I am with you; it is more my nature.

I would like to know who the “we” were who “walked along the river-side to Hammersmith”.

Please will you let me have Mr Warder’s address again. These last two days I have been working harder than I have ever worked before. I think the marching with full pack knocks me up rather but I suppose I will get used to that soon. We went from 7.30am breakfast to 4pm dinner. We will get to bed about 10ish tonight and we have to get up at 4am tomorrow. I know you must be lonely now Mabel and Maud are away but cheer up, you know how much I love you.

Please excuse scribble as I am in rather an uncomfortable posture.

With Heaps of pure Love I am Your Ever Loving Will xxxx