31st October 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, 256 Infantry Batt, Colchester
Dear Emmie

I think it is my turn to pinch you because you made a mistake saying “it’s the last day of the month” yesterday; there are thirty one days in October. I wish I could have been with you in the granary Monday night, I know you must have been thinking of me. I hear there was an attempted raid on this morning only they did not get through. Were you called up. Nothing further was said about my leave. I did not expect them to go into details. I told C.G. how I got home and I fancy he will be on the same track. (I hope he succeeds) Dear Emmie what was you going to say about that song? I am sorry you do not see all the sweet compliments I pay you. You are a darling girl to me. (one compliment.) Putting all jokes on one side I don’t know how I would go on without you although I see so little of you. I think I will be playing the organ at another church next Sunday morning, if so it will be the biggest one I have ever played. But still I would sooner be with you my first and only love. This is not sarcasm it is only a coincidence. This is the second attempt I have made to write this letter and now I have made a mess up of it. One of the boys says.

Paper is bad

blame the pen


I think I will pack up now as the time is getting on

With much Love From Will


29th October 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, 256 Infantry Battn, Colchester
Dear Emmie

You may depend I did not feel much like drill today although my leave was short. I arrived at Colchester last night at five minutes to ten and I was in barracks by just after lights out. I fixed my equipment together before I turned in so I was all ready for parade this morning. This afternoon we played a draught away to the station who are going to Frinton on Sea. There is a row going on about somebody having somebody else’s blanket and I can’t hear to write. I am enclosing a letter from an old intimate friend of C. Gibbs’ to him and I think it sounds suggestive until it winds up. Please return it as he wishes to keep it. I don’t suppose I can express in this letter how I enjoyed myself yesterday. I would like to thank your Mother for the way she looked after me when I had no mother to go to. etc.etc. I will be writing to Dad and Mum and W.L. this evening. I cannot think what else to write this time but will have more to say next time. I will now conclude.

With Love

From Your Will xx



26th October 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Colchester
Dear Emmie

No doubt you wonder why I have not written before. Well, I thought I was sure of seeing you tomorrow, but I am not quite so sure now. I have been trying today but have not got one step forward towards get. leave. If I do get a pass the earliest I will be home will be 5 o’clock.pm. If I do not come home I would like you to tell me that dream in your next letter. I am going to the station tonight to find out the time of the trains in case I need them. I did not go on parade at all this morning I chanced getting caught so I had an easy time. It will be about another two months before we get our six days leave and then:- well, I don’t know what will happen. The Captain said that he wouldn’t grant leaves under eight weeks. It is only five weeks since I was home but it seems like five years. I am going to bring some of Desmond’s compositions home tomorrow (needless to say “if I get my pass”.) As I forgot your badge I will try to recompense you by buying you a piece of Goss. Well my Love I will close now hoping that my luck will serve me at the right moment.

From your sweetheart Will xx


24th October 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

In answer to yours I hope you can get home, let me know, if you can. If you do not get home don’t forget to send Mabel a birthday card, I know she will be pleased if you do. I will tell you that dream when I see you. We had a warning last evening & after scrambling together we found it was false, 2 GNR van boys spread the warning & have now been locked up. Before going any further I must apologise for the untidy state of this letter, but it is the war time ink I am using & blots every word nearly, so please accept my humble apologies. It is raining to-night so I presume we are safe, all meetings are closed this week (including Wed evening service) so I have nothing much doing. I worked until 7 o’clock last night I think I ought to have a “halo” you know for it is real work. Thanks awfully very much for that ”duckie “little badge” you have got for me (or to be more explicit, the one you “promised” me several weeks ago) I am going to get it myself now. You wait until we meet my friend, we shall have something to talk about, that’s all I promise you. (I guess you are thinking about cancelling any probability of leave now) however a most enthusiastic lover you are to be sure. I have heard it said “sarcasm is a cheap form of wit”, so I think I will say no more in reference to above. I had an answer to my application for increase, & it was in the negative, but I shall not let the matter rest there. I am going to write another letter to the bounders & I would not mind a guarantee I have my way in the end if it is only 1/0d I get, so I shall get busy when I have closed this letter. I suppose you will disclose your little plan to me Will when I see you, I hope though it has not too many trimmings to it. Well I will close now, wishing you luck for this week end,

Best Love from Emmie xx


23rd October 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Band Room No 5, 256 Infantry Battn, Goojerat Barracks, Colchester
Dear Emmie

I have been out since ten o’clock this morning and it is now 7.30pm. Why do you hope I do not come home? What was your dream. Our captain has told us to keep our best tunics clean as we may want them on leave soon; never-the-less I will try again this week and I think I will be able to “wangle” it. If you sent me all your bills I wouldn’t let you go bare; I have an old bathing costume at home. I have managed to remember one thing concerning home affairs; it is Mabel’s birthday next Saturday: she seems to be getting quite old. You must excuse me closing so soon but you have knocked it out of me mentioning so much about leave. I am going to start that “wangle” now; the only thing I don’t care about is it is not straight. I suppose one cannot be very straight in the army. You see I nearly had to do an hours extra drill the other day for being straight. Never mind. Dear, I hope I do not have a crop (as is promised this week) to greet you with if my dark scheme succeeds.

I will now close

With Love from Will xx


22nd October 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

Glad the gloves fit alright. We had no air raid on Sat. or Sund. But I did not undress all night. I dreamt you were home again last night, but if it is as pleasant when you do come as what I dreamt, I hope you stay away, I found it hard to convince myself I had been dreaming when I awoke it seemed so real. Mr Warder enquired after you last evening, he is about the only person who ever asks after you, they are a funny lot, Mrs [Guynee] never dreams of asking me how you are, not that I want her too, but one cannot help noticing, however I expect you think I have always something to murmer about. I hear the soldiers in France are going to rebel if there are any more raids in England, it is the fault of the Govt. all over. Bert Cranmer is going to put in for a commission are you going to try again for leave & when are the 6 days you thought you were having coming off. I do not think you make a big enough effort. I guess some of the boys wangle a leave oftener than you. That was good about the route march, it took a peg out of the officers. Mr Clarke is still in the pink of condition but he tells me his love has waned a little. He had to shell out £3.3.0 for a new coat for his girl, he buys nearly all her clothes, so if his love does not wane his money will very soon, supposing I sent you all my bills, I guess I should have to go bare sooner, however we are not all alike are we? I am going to speak to Mr Hankin re my rise as soon as an opportunity arises, this evening most probably. I am going to evening classes tomorrow night, moon permitting, we only venture out on dark & wet nights now-a-days, sounds bad, but its true, quite shady characters we will become soon. a bomb was dropped in Piccadilly Circus & blew out the windows of Swan & Edgar’s big shop & neighbouring shops. The Zepps also visited Old Kent Rd. again, I think that is the nearest this time, better luck next time perhaps. Well I have to be returning to my toil now, so will close with fondest love,

Emmie xx.

I hope you will have leave for Xmas if you have to go without until I shall not mind. The war will be over March 17th 1918. Fact!


21st October 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Band Room No 5, Colchester
Dearest Emmie

I thank you very much for the gloves they “fit like a glove”. I am shure they will keep my hands warm this cold weather. You say it has been raining in London; although we are so near the sea the weather is very dry here. I see by the papers that the Zeps have started their old tricks again; I half expected a card from you this morning, but I dare say you are all spared again. I should think the French have put the “wind up” them by bringing five down. I wish they had been brought down in England. I am sorry I havn’t your last letter to hand so you will excuse me if I fail to answer any question you may have asked. I am sorry to hear you have a cold but please don’t think I “don’t care” because I care for you more every day while I am here and each night I think it is one day nearer peace. I hope you are not troubled with air raids during the period of this moon: I see it has started to show itself. How are you going on at the office; have you put in for that rise yet. How is Mr Clark going on with his girl. On Friday afternoon we were out from two till seven o’clock manoeuvering and when we got back the lights went out because of the air raid warning or I would have written before thanking you for the gloves. I started eating my ration before the order was given and was awarded one hours extra drill Saturday afternoon which I did not do. The other night some boys in A company had a free fight in their mess room over some soup so as punishment they had to go on a route march this afternoon; a thing never heard of before on a Sunday. They had been gone about ten minutes when they came to a hospital of wounded soldiers and shouted out they were doing extra drills. The boys in blue started hooting the officer till he turned back with the “wind up”. They do not have all their own way.

I now conclude

With Very Best Love Will xx


19th October 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

Merci beaucoup for letter. How did you enjoy the route march? Bertie Cranmer is again home on leave. I met him this dinner-time going to a theatre. C. Hill was home last week. I saw Evelyn last evening at G.F.S we speak now. Maude is getting on very well indeed, the winter pulls one back though so much. You seem to get to the pictures rather often, perhaps it is that you have an extra nice companion. It is a grand day today, only a wee bit chilly. I am going to get an overcoat this afternoon. Mr Rolfe has not given me any pieces yet. I have noticed you did not ask me if I was better yet or whether I had got rid of my cold, forgive me for reminding you but I cannot help thinking of these many things you are continually forgetting. By the way, at the foot of your letter you sent your compliments, what are these for? it sounds funny to me. I believe Will Mayne is at Eastbourne. Have you any idea where your next move is to be? Your mother is having a nice long holiday one thing, she will be out of next week’s joys, if there are to be any. I shall have to conclude now and commence tapping again, so will close with love from



18th October 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Band Room No 5, 256 Infantry Battn, Goojerat Barracks, Colchester
Dear Emmie

Thanks for letter received this afternoon. I should think there is going to be some heavy gun-fire on the event of another raid, but still I hope that the weather makes it unfavourable for the “Bing Boys” as you called them once, to visit England. If ever “those” times come again I hope I will be able to make as good, if not a better impression than I made before. Now it is too late I realise the precious minutes I used to loose.* I am glad to hear that you are getting on at Mr Rolfs’, what pieces has he put you on? do I know any of them. I went to the pictures last Saturday [* You once said I was rather slow] and they were not good so I went to another Tuesday to counteract it. Charlie G. Is getting on fairly well but he will persist in reading my library just when I want it. I have a very interesting book, I don’t know whether I told you before but it is “Harry Coverdale’s Courtship”. It has been fairly fine today here. Yesterday we went on a route march in the rain and I didn’t like it much but we all got through it. I with the help of C.G. enticed one boy to fall out as he has weak ankles. He came back and got off all todays parades and in the end I think he will be reduced to B. or C2; I hope he is for his sake. I got a new pair of boots this evening and I think they will be comfortable when they are worn in a bit. We are going on a long route march tomorrow so I will have to wear my old boots or I shall be foot-sore. We are being transferred into another Brigade tomorrow so I suppose we will soon be moving again. I don’t believe soldiers ever stay in the same barracks more than two or three months, I think they get too settled. It is pay day again tomorrow so we will all be expecting our extra money. Have you spoken to E.V. lately and how is Maude going on. I hope you consider this a long letter. I have taken long enough to write it. Please remember me to your Ma and Pa and all the string of them and I will conclude by offering you my most sincere compliments or I will go one further and give you my

Best Love From Your Ever Loving Will xx


16th October 1917

Bandsman W.Metcalfe 46534 Colchester
Dear Emmie

In answer to yours of the 13th; I am sorry you had to wait in Saturday evening but you know that I was not certain until 12 o’clock Sat.

I thank you very much for the parcel received this afternoon; I have tried of the rolls and they extreemly satisfy my taste thank you. I don’t suppose I will want to take revenge after anything from the contents of that box. I have been to the pictures tonight and have left it rather late in writing this. I will be able to make some Oxo before going to bed tonight; we have a fire and plenty of water.

Fancy that policeman visiting you at such an early hour: What was you conversation. I guess it turned you a bit didn’t it. It just shows you what muddlers the English are. I bet such a thing wouldn’t occur in Germany. I don’t want you to think that I am a pro-German but you know what I mean. I have just remembered to say that I was not cross with you when I wrote last. What made you think so? I went through (Axphyxiating) poisonous gas last Sat. with a gas mask on and I was not layed out. There were no casualties. I am in the Christian Science place writing this and it is just on closing time.

I will endeavour to write you a much longer letter next time my little dear. How I wish I was with you now! I wouldn’t be thinking of going home now 9 o’clock. See how I am improving. Well I will now conclude

With Best Love

Your Will xx