30th December 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, 52 Batt. Royal Sussex Regt, Colchester
Dearest Emmie

Yours to hand of the 27th inst. I have received that parcel Mum sent, it took six days coming. This is not my last leave I am sure to have another before I go abroad. “A” Company has had theirs’. I want you to have Sat morn and Monday off if possible, I know I am asking a lot but I think you will get it. Perhaps I won’t tell you how many pretty girls I kissed under the mistletoe. I don’t think I will “have a surprise one of these days” because I know you won’t be so silly as to join such as the W.A.A.C. Although you are so much older than me I think I saw more of “the world” than you before I joined up and it’s not worth knowing in its present state. I do not know what time I will be home Friday but it will be some time pm. I am going out to the organ blower’s house to tea this evening and I will let you know what its like when I write next time. I have missed something in one or two of your letters lately. I cannot tell you in words what exstacy I feel when I think of coming home to see you. I hope the time goes quickly. I went to the pictures yesterday and saw the “Mystery Man”. It is about a girl being forced to marry a cripple for his money and he has an accident which makes him whole and everybody thinks he is dead. The girls mother tries to get her money but the husband unbeknown to all comes back and helps the girl out of all difficulty and she falls in love with him. After that he makes himself known and I suppose they live happily ever after together. It was a picture out of the common. It is a very miserable day today; the snow is about three inches thick and it is raining so I guess we will have more slosh. I don’t think there is any more to say now only get your strength up to withstand all the Kisses I have in store for you. Well my darling I will conclude now

With Very Best Love

Absolutely Yours

Will xxxx


28th December 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Colchester
Dear Emmie

I am dodging parades this morning I am supposed to be on orchestra practice and the Drum major is laughing at the idea. I am counting the days for next Friday to come and I hope you and I are not disappointed by it being postponed. I did not know that Mum was going to Bowe’s Park Christmas (or had been) I had a parcel down on Boxing Day.

I noticed in the Mag. that the Mission had been taken over by All Saints I am rather sorry but yet I think it will be for the best. I wish I had been singing outside your house on Christmas night this year, did any one go out at all. I have been doing rather a lot of work lately. Tuesday night 12 midnight sergeants’ mess. Wednesday night Sergeants’ dance till 1 o’cl the next morning, Thursday night Pantomime (Babes in the Wood) 11pm and I suppose it will be the same tonight, so I think we deserve a little time off.

I know how much you ant me and I want you very much too and I don’t think that you are a selfish girl, I think that I am the selfish one if any. I do not think there is anything to forgive you for, I ought to ask you to forgive me for not asking you down Christmas. I didn’t have much spare time but I think I could have made a bit more if you had come. The snow is still on the ground and it snowed again this morning. How is it in London. A lot of the boys who come back from leave say that we are better off for food in the Army than in London. I hope you manage to get enough. Do you still have to stand in queues for food now. Well my love I will now close

Hoping to be with you soon

Much Love

From Will xx


26th December 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Colchester
Dearest Emmie

In answer to yours of the 23rd inst. I wrote an answer to your Sat. morning letter but I forger whether I posted it or not: at least I cannot find it so I suppose by this time you have it. I have been working a lot on the piano this Christmas but I am being paid for it by a week end leave from the 4th Jan to the 8th noon. I played the organ at church yesterday morning, played at a concert from 4 to 6pm. and at sergeant’s mess from 7 till 12 o’cl: I am playing the fiddle tonight at sergeants’ mess at a dance. If I hadn’t have taken up the fiddle in the nick of time I don’t suppose I would have been entitled to this leave. Could you get the Sat. morn and Mon. off and Tuesday iff poss. I know it is rather a lot after Christmas but have you more help at the office now. I am sorry I could not get Christmas leave but now we have it to look forward to. I hope you have had a pleasant time under the circs and I would like to hear detailed how you spent your time. I went to early communion with C.G. yesterday morn and was invited to a clergyman’s house to tea but could not accept it. I have not had even a card from home only a card via home from Mr Newman but I suppose I must write them a line and thank them for the parcel they didn’t send me which must have been lost in the post. I am glad you like the brooch thank you very much for the pouch; if you received that other letter I think that I thanked you before. I don’t suppose you will suffer many tears or any more than you would have done without pearls. It is very Christmasified here with the snow about four inches thick on the ground.

I hope you had no trouble with air raids last night but the boys say that they heard the coast defence guns firing. Well my love I have no more to write in this letter hoping to see you soon

I remain

Yours Ever

Love Will xxx


24th December 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe, Band Room No 5, 52 Royal Sussex, Googerat Brrks, Colchester
Dearest Emmie

In answer to yours of the 22nd inst. I am sorry to have such a letter from you, I did not know I had kept you waiting so long for a letter but I know I was wondering when I was going to get one from you after the raid: I could not understand it. It hurts me very much to think that you doubt my love for you and as for not being anxious to see you I’d give all I have (8½d in coppers) to get leave.

Putting jokes on one side, in my next letter I may be able to tell you when I am getting a weekend and if I am getting one I dare say it will be next Friday week. I don’t want you to build high hopes on this but it is possible that it may happen. Please will you thank your mother for the pudding, I have sampled it and it is very nice. Thank you also for the Christmas card. I liked the words of that piece of poetry but I wish you had put “I’ve” instead of “We’ve” still the same warm heart-.

You are the only one who has written to me this Christmas and I have not heard a word from home for about a week; they are always keeping me without news; if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t know if they were alive after the raids. Please tell them I am stull waiting to hear if they are alright after the last raid. I might be writing myself but it makes me feel as if I would give up writing at all. I am playing the organ tomorrow morn, Christmas day and the band is playing the hymns in Church. Thank you very much for the tobacco pouch I like it very much. I do wish you knew how much I love you I cannot help thinking of that question. Never mind when the war is over perhaps I will always be able to be with you.

Best Love

From Will


21st December 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe, Colchester
Dear Emmie

I am sorry to say that I have another disappointment for you. I went all round Colchester tonight but could not get a Sussex brooch badge anywhere. There were plenty of a sort but not the kind you would have liked.

I have bought you this little brooch for a Xmas present and when I can get the badge you shall have it with all haste. I would like your real opinion of it (this brooch) and I hope you like it. I would like you to wear it on Christmas day for the first time. Write and tell me if you are very disappointed; I tried to get the other at my first opportunity but everywhere was sold out.

I am sorry to hear so much damage has been caused. Do you think it is safe down the tube; do many people go there now as they used to. I always like to hear the news detailed especially about air raids; you don’t know how I feel after a raid if you letter happens to be a post late. You are the only one I rely on for news and it seems to formal to say “thank you” every time you let me know special news.

I would most certainly like to read that book. I don’t suppose there is much chance of me seeing it, the play. I do not think that you are a grumbler but I do think that you misjudge me sometimes. I think that Mabel is very lucky winning that money but I don’t suppose she will win anymore for years it is mearly luck. If I think of you every minute of Christmas day I don’t think it would be very much out of the ordinary. I am more often than not thinking of you while I am awake but worse luck I don’t very often dream of you while I am asleep. I put in while “I am asleep” because I do dream of you while I am awake, understand? I know that my eight weeks is up this week but I think it will be quite another four weeks before my turn comes next. I think it impossible to let you have a letter on Xmas morn but nevertheless I will try. I now conclude

With Best Love

From Will xx


20th December 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Band Room No 5, 52nd Royal Sussex Regt, Googerat Barracks, Colchester
Dear Emmie

I have just received your letter and I was wondering what had happened it must have been delayed in the post. I hope you are not troubled again this Christmas with raids. We are having some very stiff frosty weather here and it is almost impossible to march. At last I have seen a nice little sussex brooch and I will try to let you have it before Tuesday next. “A” Coy is having their final leave, half for Christmas and half for the new year. I think I must have heard the aeroplanes over-head Tuesday last evening but perhaps they were our own.

I am still on that job I mentioned before and it is much better than being on drills. I am going to take second violin in our orchestra and I think we are playing at the Officers’ mess next Sunday. We are decorating our barrack rooms and the officers are subscribing towards it. We have four clear days off Sun. Mon. Tues. Wed. but there is some rumour that we are parading on Mon. I think I have told you all of interest in this monotonous life so I will conclude

With Fondest Love

From Will xx


17th December 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, 52 Royal Sussex Regt, Colchester
Dear Emmie

Thanks for letter received this afternoon. I am glad to hear you enjoyed yourself Sat. evening, did you go by yourself. I did not know that I hadn’t written home for such a long time but I will directly I have finished this. I don’t suppose I will be getting leave for about four weeks after Christmas. We have not heard any more of that four days out but I know it won’t be before Christmas. I am glad to say my cold has worked off thank you, we are having very cold weather lately all our parade ground was covered with ice this morning. It has been snowing today again. I would like to hear M. Gibson preach it would make a great change. Fancy it being in the mag. about me cleaning the stoke hole out, I only lit a fire. We are going to have a good spread double rations I think. We are having roast pork and roast beef for Christmas dinner and we are buying nuts and cigarettes in bulk so as they can be served out to us all at once. I dare say I will spend my Christmas at Mr Bare’s that is the clergyman. I was going to have my photo taken for you but my locks are not quite long enough yet. Those two R.S. boys must be out of my company one of them used to work at Child’s the boot repairer. I have not done any drill today I have been on fatigue making a firing point. I have to be very careful now if I am two minutes late on tea parade they will take my name for a hard fatigue.

I will close now hoping that you enjoy you Christmas as good as poss under the circs

With Best Love From your ever loving boy Will xx


P.S Please could you get me Harold Way’s address before Christmas.


14th December 1917

Bandsman W M 46534, Royal Sussex Regt, Colchester
Dear Emmie

Yours to hand. I am glad to hear that you were not actually right in bed with your finger I come to the conclusion that it must have been your left hand that you damaged. Am I right? I rubbed the eppidermis off my finger the other day and it has been rather painful but I could not get excused duty for it. I do not feel up to the mark myself tonight I think I must have a cold. I am really surprised to hear that Islington went through it so much in the last raid. I thought they weren’t coming over our way at all. Nobody wrote and told me anything about it. I think I shall be able to say that verse by the time I come home I nearly know it off by heart now. I cannot understand what you mean by “a big door key, you and I”. You don’t know how I can take a stern hand when I like I would loose all sense of ticklisment. I have not been tickled for such a long time chat I almost forget what it’s like. I will have to sample some next time I get a chance. We went trench digging this morning and had some fun in throwing the dirt over each other. I never thought I would live to be a navvy. I think this is as long as I can make this billet as there is nothing extraordinary happening lately. What does “billet” mean? I have an idea I know. Does it mean a brief note? Well my dear I will now close wishing you a “good night”.

With Love

From Yours Ever

Will xx


12th December 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Band Room No 5, 52nd Royal Sussex Regt, Googerat Barracks, Colchester
Dear Emmie

Yours to hand; did you miss that letter Monday morning? or didn’t you expect one. I am sorry that you are still ill in bed with your finger, it would be no use me getting leave if I could not hold that dainty little hand of yours, would it? I hope it is not poisoned. Thank you very much for those cigg’s I had just run out. It is A Company that is for draught first and now they are going after Christmas. They have not had their leave yet and they think they are going to France. No doubt we will be wanted soon now that the Germans are reinforced from the eastern front. It was Church of England where I went last Sunday but very high church. They have a much more musical service there than at our place. C.G. burnt some insence at his (the clergyman’s) house. I am mess orderly today and tomorrow and I miss a route march so I don’t mind. I don’t suppose a bomb will drop over the granary again and I dare say it is the safest place to go to. I hope W. Sharp, hasn’t been gassed if so I hope he gets over it alright. I have not read of that fund you speak about but the men at the front deserve anything. I read that verse in Ruth and what is the prophecying you are going to do. I hope you enjoy yourself Saturday at the Taming of the Shrew and I wish I was going with you. Does Mr C. look any happier now that he has done the trick I think I would take a stern hand if I was him. How long has he known her not long is it? I have had a hard day today right from 6.30AM to 8p.m. I think I will knock off early tomorrow evening if possible. Well my love the time is getting on so will conclude and get to bed.

Best love, to the light of my life so far away but always in thought

Yours Ever Will xxx (Real ones).


10th December 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Colchester
Dear Emmie

Thanks very much for letter; it was a change getting one on Monday. I am sorry to hear you have hurt your finger and I hope that by the time you receive this it will be better. Last night I had a good time at a clergyman’s house. I think I should say yesterday because I had dinner and tea there. We had a very wet day yesterday so there was no church-parade; but I went to another church where C.G. goes and played on the organ there and also went home with the vicar. For all the good times in the army that I am ever likely to get; would give it all for just one evening with you. Whose christmas party are you going to. I hope you will enjoy yourself as good as circumstances will allow. You have guessed right as to what you left out of your last letter. Have you heard any more of Will Sharp. I hope he hasn’t been wounded.

Rathing strange thing: I played the Rosary yesterday evening on an old piano; perhaps it was me you heard playing. I hear that we are going out on a four days stunt some time next week so I suppose my address will be No.1 Open Air and we will have to sleep in the nice green fields. I heard that our first draught goes out on the v23rd inst they might let them see christmas in England. The other day just as I woke up I thought I could hear Dad getting the breakfast ready down stairs but as I opened my eyes I beheld the barrack room. One disappointment. I will now close

With Fondest Love to my darling