30th April 1918

Dear Emmie

Another month more and another month less and another month nearer the end of the war. (That is all about one month.) I am sorry I made that mistake in my last letter with regards to Mr Rolfe. I am glad you are able to carry on still with your lessons. We were as near to moving this morning as to get into motors all ready for a joy ride and the drivers had taken their seats when the word came and cancelled the move. Our dinner was well on the way and had to be caught up and returned about three o’cl this afternoon. I can’t think how I made that mistake in your birthday especially only one day. It must have been that I was in such a hurry to catch the post corporal that I ran one short. The card I sent you did not strike me as being extra pretty but it was the best I could find and I knew violets would please you.

Have you yet discovered who “Reg” is, if so you had better refer him to me; at any rate I would like you tell me all about him. I hope he doesn’t cut me out, of course he may or rather might try but I don’t think he will succeed. By the way you didn’t say what it said on that card I suppose I may know, mayn’t I? Desmond and one of the other band boys have been in the line. Bert (Not Humbert Bertie) heard from them the other day. I think we have been very lucky for you know we just missed it today. I am sorry that I waste so much paper by leaving it blank but you know the officer has about 100 every afternoon to read in his spare time and men in some Regts are only allowed to write two letters apiece per week. I will now close hoping all are well at home.

With Fondest Love

From Will xxx

PS. 1/5/18 We are on the move today will write again as soon as poss.


28th April 1918

Dear Emmie

Yours to hand of the 19 inst. I have not heard from home yet it is over a month now, you might just remind them will you please? Of course there may be some letters in the post. Has W.L. heard any more about “joining up” he has not written me at all mainly because I have not written him perhaps and I don’t feel in the right mode lately. I am sorry to hear Mr Rolfe has moved I meant to take lessons from him “apres la gare” and of course you have had to drop yours.

We had a morning service in a barn this morning it is the best we can do here. I have not seen any apropriate silk cards yet to send you. There is a band of some description being made up and I dare say your humble will take some part in it. Do you see anything of Evelyn Von Lindon now? I don’t know what she would say if she saw the mistake in spelling. I wonder if the Germans were to win wether she would still be Dutch after the war. We got payed yesterday the huge amount of five franks and one packet of biscuits from the canteen costs 2F.50c. I cannot think of any more to write now as life is rather monotonous here so I will conclude with

Best Love

 Will xx

P.S. I received a letter from home by this evenings post.

P.S.S. 29/4/18 We are now on the move and I will write again as soon as poss.


27th April 1918

Dear Emmie

At last I have an hour to sit and write undisturbed. I have a green envelope and I think I can write anything except tell you where I am. I write you a short letter this morning as I hadn’t time last night. I am now going to answer a part of your letter of the 12th inst. You speak about the W.a.a.c.s and the Wrens again. You say you would have no fear by my side; perhaps not but then France is a big place and it is a 100-1 that I would not see you.

I sent you a silk card last Thursday week for your birthday you don’t say whether you have received it or not. I hope Mr Chapman’s concert goes off well especially at the piano. Yours just received of the 20th inst. I am sorry to hear that you are so lonely and only wish that I be with you but as the colonel told us the other day “There is a war on.” You say this is the seventh letter you have written me without hearing from me. It is the same in every case here I think that the letters must have been delayed while we were moving at any rate I hope you have received one by now. I know what it is like to see the postman go by without getting a letter and I am sorry that you haven’t heard from me yet. You know I would write every day if I had the opportunity and I hope you won’t be cross if I miss a day or perhaps two. You know it matters a lot now in what expression you write as you only can keep my spirits up. We have a shower now and again but otherwise the weather is very good. I dare say your uncle Newman likes Leeds better than France. He is lucky. I am supposed to be passed out in first aid and stretcher bearing now but I still use my rifle. I have a white band with S.B. in red on it on my left arm. K.T. was engaged once before wasn’t she? I am surprised at Miss Saxton though but these things will happen though. I have received those little violets and they are now in my note book. I will let you see them when I come home. I don’t suppose the GNR will be closing down will it? If you go and join up perhaps it will have to though. I would like to know when you had the last air raid. I pray every night that you will be kept safe from all air raids and I don’t doubt that you will.  It is not a very good sight to see people walking along the roads with as much of their homes with them as poss who are evacuating one of the towns here. It makes the men fight so as such a thing will never happen in England. Well my dear I will now close with best Love

From Yours Ever

Will xxx


26th April 1918

Dear Emmie

I have only a few minutes to spare now before going on parade; I hadn’t time to write last night as we all had to go to a concert and arrived back about 9.15pm. It was not so bad as I expected it would be; there was one good turn a Celo solo and obligato to two songs one of wich was “Un peu d’amour”. Three of the boys were dressed as girls and the dresses and make up were very good. I won’t see much of C.G. now as he is in another Regt. “R.W.K.” I will keep up correspondence with him; he is in the same Brigade as me.

Thanks for mag & programme, I didn’t know one of the songs I must be getting behind the times. I don’t get much practice for singing or playing now; singing of the march does more harm than good to ones voice. I will write another letter this afternoon so will conclude now to catch the post.

With Love

From Will xx


23rd April 1918

Pte W Metcalfe 19013, Stretcher Bearer, 9th R.S.Rt. etc.
Dearest Emmie

I am very sorry to hear that Mr Hunt has “gone under” he was such a jolly little man and witty too. I wrote to H.W. the first week I was out here but of course I gave him no address so I have not heard from him. I haven’t heard anything of the “New Man Power Bill” in fact I don’t know how the war is going on; of course I know there is one because we can hear the pea-shooters going off. I would like you to send me a weekly paper and then I might know what’s what. I don’t want to see your Dad called up; of course it would only be for labour duties wouldn’t it? I am glad to hear Bert likes the C.L.Brigade of course it is alright as long as he doesn’t get the military spirit in him it doesn’t seem to do much good to most men. I am not having a rough time in fact it feels rather cushy on the straw. We have “organised games” every afternoon for 1½ hrs and it is good fun and exercise. We have games so that everybody is doing his bit and nobody is idle. The main games this afternoon were “punch ball” and “Tug O’ War”; the former we won by 1-0 and the latter we lost by two pulls against three. I have not forgotten your friend he wrote today but he missed the post. I have just been told that there was a collection. I am very surprised that W.A. has to join up; what is he going in? he has been rejected umpteen times. He always had a dislike for the latest fashion but I have no doubt he will make a good soldier as far as smartness goes, he knows all his drills. I suppose W.L. never goes in the Mission now. I would like to see him called up only because I don’t think his C.O. grounds are genuine: I always like to see a proper C.O. get his way.

I am sorry to hear that the bread at home is so bad; we get good bread but little of it. Anything that you would like to send me that is not rationed I will accept with the greatest of pleasure but I don’t want you to send me rationed goods. I meant you to understand that cigarettes were very cheap and easy to get and I don’t know how you read it the other way.

I must close now as my pen is running out.

With Love

From Will xx


22nd April 1916

Dear Emmie

I received your letters of the seventeenth and eighteenth yesterday and those of the 12th and 13th this evening. We are still billeted in the barn I spoke of and we make ourselves very comfortable in the straw. I will have to finish writing this letter tomorrow as it is getting late and dark. I am not answering any of your letters by this but will make a special effort next time. I am writing or rather sending a field postcard to Ma & Pa and please will you tell them that I will write a letter as soon as possible. We are having fine weather now but we have had a little snow as you have in England. I am concluding now having answered your special request and will write you a longer letter this afternoon.

With Best Love

From Yours

Will xx


21st April 1918

Dear Emmie

I am just writing to let you know that I am alright but there is nothing at all of any importance to tell you. I hope you are getting my letters; I haven’t received one from you yet. I will let you have my address a little fuller this time: It is “Pte W.M. 19073, 3 Platoon A Coy, 9th Royal Sussex Regt, 24 Div, B.E.F. France”. Do you feel any older now? It sounds a lot doesn’t it, 20 and never been k-d. We had a bath today: No! not an annual, a monthly! It was a warm shower. 21/4/18 I went to a service in a barn this morning and H.C. at 12 o’cl: there were about 20 there very good I think. We never hardly get any field post-cards and I haven’t had a green envelopes yet or I would write oftener. Please will you send me a little paper & envelopes as this is the sample of it out here.

There is a roumer that a big mail has come in so I hope there are some letters for me. This letter will not go until tomorrow evening so I hope you get it some time next week. I have just bought a couple of eggs that is how we live out here it takes us about an hour to get a drop of water to boiling point. I must close now and will write again as soon as possible.

With Fondest Love

From Will xx

PS. Please remember me to your Ma & Pa.


18th April 1918

Dear Emmie

Just a few lines while I have time hoping you are quite well at home and free from air raids. I am now in another barn miles away from the first one and we have taken the ground floor this time; saves climbing ladders. I do miss your letters I haven’t had one yet since I left England; I don’t dout that you have written me but your letters like everybody elses must have got delayed in the post. One man who hadn’t had a letter for a month received 23 by this evenings post. I sent you a silk card this morning I hadn’t time to write anything more as the post was just going. I wish you a happy birthday and sincerely hope that I spend the next with you. We are able to buy eggs at 3½d each here and that is all. The canteen has cigarettes only and there are no Y.M.C.As’ or any other huts here. The only consolation we have is that every day is one nearer the end of the war which eventually must come. We know no news here, only that the Germans have made a push. Please send me the Mission Mag when it comes out I would like to know something that is going on. Well my dear I will have to close now as I can hardly see

With Much Love

From Yours Ever

Will xx

[Transcriber’s note: This letter is incorrectly dated 18th May 1918]