31st March 1918

Rest Camp, Folkestone
Dear Emmie

We arrived in Folkestone about 3.30 o’cl. this morning and were travelling since 8 o’cl last night. We were officially warned for draught yesterday morning. What was left of the band, played us to the station through the rain. The spirit of the boys was very good and they were very orderly. We stopped at Liverpool St station and some of the boys people were there. You will find out where I am when I put W.R.M. on top of my letters with a slight break in of the letters of the following words. Write letter as soon as poss. Love From Will


30th March 1918

Dear Emmie

Yours to hand of the 28th which I received this morning. I have posted a letter to No.16 for you and also one for your Mother. There is not much to write about only that we have all our equipment ready to move at any time. All I hope is that I am able to take communion tomorrow morning at church. I did not go yesterday morning but heard Stainer’s Crucifiction in the evening which was not bad for a war-time attempt. The P.R.I. Principal of the Regimental Institute wants to pay us 2/6 for playing on the pier one Sun afternoon and as we are not contented we are going to interview him in mass formation this afternoon. I am sending this express hoping that you will get it before you return home. I will conclude now

With Best Love

From Yours Ever



25th March 1918

Dear Emmie

Thanks for letter + paper. I am glad I did not put you out last week. I hope to get my pass any time this week. There is a lot of “wind up” here about the German offensive; to look at things straight it means us going out soon. I am not pessimistic about it though. I am going to find out about my leave now hoping to see you soon. Love

From Will


24th March 1918

Bandsman W Metcalfe
Dear Emmie

I am now sitting in my billit where I might have been at 16 Tiber St in the arm chair with you on my knee. Oh! the thought of it makes me say xyz the army. Never mind my leave is to come and I expect to be home any time next week except Monday. The band is on a tank “stunt” for a week beginning April 1st 18 and I believe the drum major wants to take me. At that rate I should be home Tuesday and return Sunday. There is one thing I have my leave to come and then perhaps one after that for to bring my instrument home. I have heard some bad news from the Front I hope it is not too serious. The band played at the brigade sports yesterday and had a race. As usual the man with the big drum won as he has a start in front of the others.

It is a glorious day today and we are playing on the pier this afternoon. It is such a nice day that it ought to be a record for takings on the pier. I have about 10/- to come for last week so I will be rich when I come home. How long was you away from the office or did you get to work Friday morning. I received your telegram in record time; about 2.30 or rather 14.30 army time. I missed my breakfast this morning through waking up at 7 o’cl summer time. Had it have been ordinary time it would have been 6 o’cl or 06.00 army time. Well my dear I will conclude now hoping to see you soon.

With most affect Love

From Your Will xx


22nd March 1918

Dear Emmie

I am very sorry to have put you out so, but my leave was stopped this morning. I was quite ready, had had an early breakfast and was feeling as if I was at home when I found that I was unlucky as my pass had not been put in. You can imagine my disappointment. As I am writing this the boys are marching off to the station. I hope you will be able to cancel the week you have got off because next week is holiday week and you will have one or two days given you then. I have a good piece of news and that is, I don’t think that this is my last leave, most likely it is but I am going to try to get another one to bring my cornet home because I will leave it behind. I would write more now only I don’t feel up to it. I will now conclude hoping that I am not disappointed next week.

With most affect. Love

From Your

Will xxxx


20th March 1918

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Band Room, Russel House, Jetty St, 52. Graduated Batt, Royal Sussex Regt, Cromer, Norfolk
Dear Emmie

Yours to hand of the 19th. I half expected such an answer, before I sent my letter to you and now I have got it I suppose I must put up with it. If you would rather save your week until the summer by all means do so I would not like to know that I was spoiling your holiday in any way. I will arrive in London about 12 noon on Friday. I think it is Liverpool St where my train gets it. Well I must get on or I will have somebody running me for neglect of duty.

Love From Will x


17th March 1918

Dear Emmie

Although I did not write to you for two days I fully expected a nice long letter from you yesterday but perhaps you didn’t  have time to write much, as you waited until the last post for one from me. Your letter was very abrupt and didn’t please me as they usually do. Last night I dreamed all about pillar-boxes and letters that wouldn’t go in, because we were talking about a certain pillar-box where the letters get stuck at the top for someone else to pull out. (Dinner time)

I have just received your letter of yesterday so it has not been long coming. What have you been imagining? I don’t think there is much to imagine you seem to write with a suspicious air. I am certain that we are having leave 6 days starting next Friday. I would very much like you to get time off so as we can make the best of our time. I am playing on the pier this afternoon and evening so I will have pounds to draw.

One of our boys has managed to get into a band in France; that is just what your humble WM is going to have a smack at. I thank you for getting that swastika for me, I will always wear it so as to remind me of you. You would be surprised at the way I am writing this; lounging on the floor in a properly eastern fashion. I am sorry to hear that here will be more serious times with food shortage I suppose I will have to bring about a dozen food tickets with me. (I will now have to leave this again to play on the pier.)

Again I write, this time to finish this little “billit”. This afternoon the orchestra went very well but there were not so many people on the pier; three hundred less this week but that was because all our boys were on parade. It is a shame making them parade on a Sunday afternoon; they had to do some entraining drill for when we move in about a months time. I think we are going under canvas or in huts for the summer, I hope it is the latter. I went to the pictures last night; here they have two houses like a theatre and two pictures completed the programme, I hope to see some better ones when I am home. I don’t mind if Friby does make a little excitement when I am home as long as he doesn’t kill anybody. By going down tubes one loses the excitement. Yesterday C.G. and I explored a wreck which is stranded on the beach and we had a fine time climbing the rigging. We had to climb about 60’ to get onto the deck and when I got onto the bridge I imagined i was in the navy. I let C.G. down the hold by a hand crane and when he let me down he stopped me in mid air for about five minutes. You know I want you wear something pretty on this auspicious occasion it will help to make me love you all the more. Well my dear I must conclude now as it will be time for the concert soon. It seems funny concerts on Sunday but there is nothing more to do here and it is the only time Soldiers get for a little recreation.

Best Love


Your affect. boy


P.S. Please excuse mistakes and words if they are not there.


16th March 1918

Dear Emmie

I am glad to hear you received the Goss unbroken. You won’t be long will you? what. I passed through Gunton Station this afternoon. It is very funny how these things occur but I don’t believe I will be able to go to Gunton because it is “out of bounds”. I would have been surprised to see you at N.Walsham, would I have stopped blowing? Just think you. I do not know what week my leave will be I think some are going next Friday, but I will let you know as soon as possible. I am sorry you don’t like fancy names but I will try to keep my place in future. So sorry to hear you had a raid the other night I think they are more bother than what they are worth to keep on dropping those bomb-bombs. I am now back from my “weeks holiday” and have some stiff times in sight. I don’t fancy drills tomorrow and I have got used to sleeping in a proper bed but the change comes tonight.

Well my dear I really don’t know what to write about and I have a lot of work to do in getting ready for parade tomorrow so the best thing for me to do now is “pack”. I am longing to see you but I am sorry it is to be the last time before going across. The worst part is saying good by. It must not be good by “but au revoir”.

With Fondest Love

From Yours Ever

Will. xxxxxx

PS. Thank you for the Birthday Card. Sweet 19 and never been (?) It is a sweet little verse which I know is true.


14th March 1918

Dear Emmie

I am sorry to have kept you so long without a letter but I have really had no time. Last night I didn’t get off parade until 6 o’cl and then we played at a military hospital so you see I have been very busy. We have had a funny day today. Gas! Gas! Gas! We drew overseas gas respiraters yesterday and have been through both tear and poisonous gas today. We were payed this evening and the boys who are on their final leave this week have drawn £3, quite a large sum. – Tea time –

We have had macaroni-cheese and potatoes for tea, I have never had it before and I don’t think I like it as well as a good macaroni milk pudding. We had an air-raid warning the other night but nothing exciting happened although we could hear distant gunfire. Sometimes your letters take two to three days to reach me; I cannot understand it. There is only one post that goes to London from here each day.

I had my twentieth birthday last Sunday and Mum’s was on Wednesday. I am looking forward to seeing you next Friday and I am sorry my leave does not cover Easter. I am waiting for you to take me to that picture palace as I haven’t been to one for quite a long time now. I wrote home for some reading matter chiefly news and I had in return three thick books of Daily Sketches but the funny part about them is that they are three years old 1915 editions. Never mind they will do to start a fire with. I don’t want you to say anything to anybody at home about it or they will think me dissatisfied. It will be the last leave I will have before going over the “pond” so we must make the best of it, As long as I know you are alright at home I can bear anything here. It will be hard saying “au revoir” when my time is up, but we must think of all the other people who have to go through the same ordeal. Well I don’t want to make you feel miserable so I will change the subject. I am playing at Officers’ Mess tonight at which we get a drink and supper now, tomorrow evening is a dance and Sunday we are on the pier. When us C Company boys [go] it will make a great strain upon the band and I don’t think they will be able to have an orchestra.

Well I must close now

With most affect. Love

From Yours Ever