16, Tiber St
In answer to your, thanks for the drawing. I wondered whatever it was, very lifelike too I must admit. I hope you are in no immediate hurry for the gauntlets, I went to the Scotch Wool stores this afternoon after work and they were closed when I arrived but I will hurry along when I get the wool, in the meantime if your hands are getting very cold, the only suggestion I can offer is, that you get someone with warm hands to hold yours, rather an economic suggestion don’t you think? I think I must consider that during this war time too and it will save me buying gloves.
It has been bitterly cold to-day red noses are becoming more popular now, I am meeting them by the dozens. Is it right you are going to have more money? That will make you 7/- per wk, irrespective of what your Mother receives won’t it? You will be getting quite wealthy sure on that. I suppose you will want to save now. I read in the papers to-night “German Navy Mutiny”, sounds healthy doesn’t it, also that typhus hunger is breaking out over several parts of Germany, so things seems a bit ruffled in the Faderland. Did you know that when those recent Air Raids were on, we had the mobile guns up and down the streets? They were along Copenhagen St I think, but I know for certain they were along Barnsbury. Guns are going to be run along the Railways for the next raid. “Some Barrage” we have got for the Bing Boys on their next visit, but I pity our hearing after it is all over. I hope you are able to get the week-end, let me know if you possibly can in case I happen to be going anywhere, for I suppose you would like to see me for a few minutes if you came home.
I went to Mr Rolfe on Monday. I think he is a very clever fellow, but I do not care for him very much. I noticed the photographs of some good old English gentlemen on the wall, bearing the names of Ernst, etc. I prefer “Horace” myself, sounds more British don’t you think? I do not know now exactly how you managed to remain in the band. I thought it consisted of unfit, and you are a fitun (no remarks please) so will you tell me? Well I shall be closing now I think and get on with a very interesting story I have commenced. It is about a solider in France who loved his girl so much and was always thinking of her, and constantly had her in his mind through all the horrors of the battle he was in, and he got shell shock and was sent to a hospital, and when he was a little better he could not bear his girl near him, he simply would not see her, you see she brought back to him all he had been through as her image had been with him through all the terrors of the battle, so you see I am anxious to know how it all ends, rather sad don’t you think, but as I read it, it seems very feasible the way it is explained , however, things like this, they say, must be after a famous victory, so I will conclude now with fondest love to my dear boy. x
Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Band Room No 5, Goojerat Barracks, 256 Infantry Battn., Colchester
I am sorry I did not answer your letters yesterday evening, but I was so tired after yesterday’s manoeveres that I went straight to bed. We got up at 5.30, had breakfast and started away with about 2 sq ins of bread and meat (at 7 o’clock) as day rations. We marched about seven miles and had a rest.
One good job was that we were out as a band. We were supposed to be having a battle, but all I saw of the enemy was one prisoner. We returned back to barracks at 5 o’clock: making 10 hours marching (over 15 miles) on not enough food for a cat. We had a good meat tea and then turned in. We are starting fires in our rooms now, it does strike rather cold lately. I would to make me a pair of woollen gloves please, there’s a dear. I cannot describe how I miss you and I will try to get leave soon. You know I am very lucky having had three leaves; most of the boys have only had one. One of the band boys tried for leave last week with the excuse of going home to get his cornet mended. The captain wrote on the back “Try parcel post”. I havn’t got your letters to hand now so I will answer them tomorrow. I hope you are not troubled so much with air raids lately. I think you have had your dose. I hear we are going to have one of these manoeuvres again next week, it will last two or three days so I don’t know how I will go on about answering your letters promptly.
Oct 7th. 17.
I have just come back from Church parade; it is pouring of rain here this morning and we got soaked through. I hope it is not like this next week when we are sleeping in a field especially if the gate is open. Please tell Mabel that I am not going to write home any more I am tired of waiting weeks for answers. It might wake her up a bit. Harold always seems to be going through the wars, perhaps it will do him good having a holiday. I would like to know where G Ray is stationed he seems to get a lot of leave. Our captain says he dare says it pays to send 9d home to a chum for to send down a telegram saying that a brother is home from the front. One boy wanted leave because his uncle had come home from France: another boy wanted leave because his chum’s uncle had come home. All the band has put in for a week end so I will let you know how we go on about getting it. I meant that we got rifles to drill with from the stores: we have not had them before. I should certainly try for a rise if I were you; don’t you think you would get it. This afternoon we are playing the orchestra for the benefit of the boys as it is wet. This lasts from 2 till 4 o’clock and then I am going down to St Botolph to tea with Mr Hume. That means that I must go to this evenings service there so I will have to stop writing now to get ready.
I hear some rumours of six days leave but I will not mention that now in case nothing comes of it. Well I now conclude hoping you get this first post Monday morning.
With my fondest Love to my only girl in the world
PS How about [swastika] I missed it last time.
Bandsman W Metcalfe. Colchester.
It has been a wet day today and I see by the papers that the people in London are clapping their hands as it is anti-air raid weather. We are on a big “stunt” tomorrow a retreat from Colchester: it will take all day so I don’t know whether I will get time to write. I think we get our rise tomorrow; we can all do with it.
Love from Will.
I am just writing you a card as I havn’t had a letter from you today. I think it must be due to the raids that the post is delayed. All letters are coming in late. Today we had an air raid warning an we could hear the gun going off. We have had to turn our lights out every night for about a week. We are playing the band for a 3 ½ hours route march tomorrow so think of me between 9AM and 12.30. I see by the papers that you have been having a lively time but hope & trust that you will be kept safe from any harm. I went to the pictures last night and saw Charlie. C. It reminded me very much of Pykes Circuit, Seven Sisters Rd where we sometimes went.
I now conclude
Much Love Will x