7th December 1917

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

Thanks for the letter; I wondered what could have happened not getting one yesterday. I posted one to you Tuesday evening in the canteen pillar-box and I suppose it was not cleared until the next day. I will not post one there again. That was C.Gibbs’ writing on the envelope; I guessed you would wonder who it was from. You had a very narrow squeak with that bomb; how is it that no one was hurt. I quite remember that cutting now but I did not leave it in the envelope and I forgot it when I wrote you. I thought it was good so I handed it round to the boys. See how you help to keep the spirit of the Army up. I am glad to hear that you are getting on alright with the piano; I am shure you will pass me and I will have to ask you to teach me when I come home. I am also very glad to hear that Bert is getting on well. What hopes are centered in that word! “Someday”; can you remember when you used to play that for my prospective Queen when I was Prince. If you had been Cinderella I might have been able to act my part more naturally. You know that we were supposed to play out last Thursday, well on Wednesday evening Drum major came in and said that there was a special Officers’ Mess night the next night so the orchestra could not turn out. Well we divided it in half and took the best half and were able to give the concert after all. We had to do something because all the programmes and bills had been printed. You left something out of your last letter; can you remember what it was? For a wonder I have taken to cigs: again; I suppose it is because I have nothing else to do. I will close now as I am going to get some soup for supper so Good Night dearest

With Much Love

From Will xx

PS. One original joke.

Schoolmaster. Where do you get glass from?

Pupil. It grows on the tops of walls.


4th December 1917

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

How long has Mr Owens been dead now; I am glad to hear that the Mission is being so well patronised of late and I hope it continues the same. Have you done any more organ playing at all. I read through your letter of the 29t ult. and failed to see that huge joke which you called me impolite for not recognising. Do you mean “Peace is reigning now though” in your office “until the next time”. I am sorry you do not like my slangy expressions but I will try to reform. I will term you something nice when I see you next time. I have not forgotten anything of you yet; I still consider you are the prettiest and best girl that I have ever met. I shall very soon make you lose your shyness when I come home. Our “Army Council of Instruction” leave (6 days) has not started yet; week ends consist of four days now, from Friday till Tuesday. You don’t know how much I want to see you. When we were having breakfast this morning one of the officers came in and because one of the N.C.Os. did not stand up he started swearing at him at the top of his voice. About the worst flow of “French” I have heard and we get some variety here. This Lance corporal has charged the officer with swearing and has another officer to back him up besides about fifty boys. I hope he gets transferred into another batt. Well my dear I think I will leave you for a cup of Bovril now (one joke).

Fondest Love

From Will


2nd December 1917

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

Thanks very much for the letter of the 29th ult. One month nearer the end of the war; I suppose you are thinking of Christmas now. I am sorry to say that we will be drilling Boxing Day just as ordinary days. We only get two days off in the Army they are Good Friday and Christmas day; otherwise I would be dying to see you but as we don’t get Boxing day off I won’t die but I hope to have four days leave soon after. Some scandle on at the office, what! Are you going to be bridesmaid for Mr Clark if so there is a chance for some more scandle somebody might say that you are going to be maid his bride. If I am up when Bertie is home I won’t be able to speak to him without saluting. I don’t suppose it would do any good to take stripes; N.C.Os. are always getting into trouble and they have to do the dirty work. I am getting very impromtuous? Lately, when the time comes, then will I decide. My crop is progressing very well; I was going to get a hair cut yesterday only I didn’t have time.

I am going on a gas course next Tuesday; I saw my name on the order board: I don’t know why they picked me. The railway men seem to be doing very well financially, have you heard anything of your rise yet. I have not heard anything of our increase yet, I still get along on my 3/6d fifty two-times annually. I am learning how to play chess; rather a hard game: it seems to make everybodys’ head ache.

The orchestra is playing at that Baptist church next Thursday and it is a very good programme too. I hope when I come home I will be able to turn those grey hairs black but a few white hairs doesn’t make any difference to the goods.

Well my dearest I will close now with Best and Truest Love

From your affectionate partner