15th November 1917

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

Yours to hand. I am glad you received the goss alright. I summise it was unbroken. I think there was enough paper round it. If you by chance see Harold Day please remember me to him and give him my Luck. He is lucky in getting a fortnight. All our week end leaves are from Friday till tuesday now; that will be much better than Sat & Sun. We went to officers’ Club and as there was no piano there I did not play. We had a nice tea. One slice of bread cut in half to make two and a 1/2d bun and a mug of tea. Every one was so disgusted that I went back to barracks to save their teas. Of course I had another tea in barracks. Our Club is called “Les Amis” and we have a decent time with each other. I don’t quite catch the joke “when you have gone away”, I heard all about Lloyd George’s speach it does seem rather serious. We were served out with steel helmets this evening we will be soldiers soon. I wonder how George Todd likes the army; fancy him going so quickly. I will close now as I have another three letters to write very unusual.

With Love From Will.

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13th November 1917

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

Thanks for letter received this evening. It has been very foggy here today; we went out this morning to fire at four hundred yards but as we could not see fifty in front of us we went for a route march instead. I will be playing in the orchestra at Officers’ Club tomorrow afternoon so I will have to get time off. It starts about 2 o’clock and I think we have tea there and play till about six. We sing “We’’ll all have a holiday in the summer time but it won’t be beside the sea”. You guess I wouldn’t mind if you were there especially in peace time. George Todd is rather unlucky in being moved so far away, would you please get me his address, I would like to write to see what he thinks of the Army. I will enclose a discription of the stops soft and loud on the organ I do hope you get on with it. Second thoughts I don’t think I will do that You may ask Claude if you like, if it is right for me to put it that way. Lord French did inspect us but it was not much. We just marched past him in collum of route, or in fours. I did not dream of you on Sunday night I wish I had done though. We have formed a little club of some of the band boys and we meet together on Monday nights for games etc. We also wish to keep up friendship after the war if that is possible. Well my dear I will have to “pack up” now as they want me to practice.

With best Love From Will xx

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11th November 1917

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

After a hard days work for a Sunday I am trying to liven myself up by writing you. We went out firing this morning about 8 o’clock and after waiting for an hour and a half in the cold for markers, found they were not forthcoming so we had to find our own. After firing ten rounds we returned to barracks at 2.30 o’clock. I did not do bad considering we could hardly see the targets as the sun was shining in our eyes. You say that you have had a good time at G.T.S. well! I wouldn’t mind waiting outside an hour in the rain for you, as I sometimes used to, because it was well worth it. I suppose I ought to apolise for writing you such a letter as I did on Thursday especially as I had such a sweet one from you the very next day. On Friday I had to fill in a form of where I worked and what I did in Civy life. I believe it is something to do with demobilisation. Oh! when the war is over what will we do? I am very sorry to hear of Mabel Hill but perhaps it is for the best. George Todd is lucky to be at Hounslow, what is he in? How did you like the Lord Mayor’s show this year was it good? I don’t think I will go down town tonight I feel as if all I want to do is to go to sleep and dream of you dear. It seems quite a long time since I saw you last so I will be glad when this invincible six days leave comes. I have not found a suitable little box yet to send your goss in but I will not be long. Look out for it about Wednesday. If I have no xmas box to give you I will give you myself if I come home; will I do dear?

Much Love From Will xx

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10th November 1917

Bandsman WM 46534, 52 Royal Sussex Regt, Colchester
Dear Emmie

Thanks for nice letter: I have not got it to hand so please excuse me if I forget any questions you might have asked. I am in the Christian Science rooms writing this and I feel so lonely. The Captain told us today that the Colonel is seeing about our six days leave. Let’s hope that he succeeds in doing somthing good. I have just been told that we are going firing again tomorrow Sun: I don’t care for that much, but I am going to get out of it if I can by playing the organ at church in the morning. I have just lit my pipe which is against the rules of C.S. and the lady comes in about every five minutes to see if “your nibs are alright” or if there is enough coal on the fire. I should think she comes in to see if we are up to any mischief or not. I went to the pictures this afternoon and they were not bad but they would have been twenty times better if I had you with me. I havn’t really got used to being away from you yet as before I feel home sick but with and “e” on this time. We have been issued with hat badges and I have had a look in the shops for a decent broach but have not seen one yet. There is perhaps one possibility of me being home for Christmas but I wouldn’t build any hopes on it if I were you. As I am at a loss to know what to write about I will conclude now but will write again soon. Pleases don’t tell me I write too often

With Best Love From Will xx

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8th November 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe, Band Room No 5, 52 Royal Sussex R, Googerat Barks, Colchester
Please don’t forget [swastika sign]

Dear Emmie.

Received your letter yesterday but did not have time to answer it. I thought I would not hurry it and leave out words, etc: We have an extra hour off this afternoon so I am answering it now. I am going to Officer’s Mess this evening to while away the time. I am sorry to hear such bad news from Russia. I should think it will tend to lengthen the war. I think we might be going as stretcher bearers later on. Of course I am not sure but that is the only “better job” he will be able to give us I think. I was going down town this evening to look for some badges and to post your piece of goss but officers mess has put the cap on it. They want me to play at Sergeant’s Mess tomorrow night but I think I will get “Des” to do it if he will. We have been going to get our extra pay every week since it came out only they havn’t started paying it us yet. I hear now that we are going to get it from the first of Jan 1918 but nothing is official. You say that the sun has been shining gloriously in London, well! it did here but it finished up with a hail storm. I did notice your long letter and I think it is unkind of you suggesting that I don’t appreciate your letters; I notice that your last was very curt and if I was to say “I do not mean to summise one little thing” what would you say? I think “Suspence” was very good and I only just guessed what it was coming to as I was nearing the end. I almost kicked myself when I read that your brother Will took you out: I never thought of him at all. I havn’t that wandering feeling tonight yet but I know what it is like. I will now close with

Very best Love From Will xx

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7th November 1917

Bmn. W.M. Colchester
Dear Emmie

Thanks for letter; I will answer it as soon as poss: We started our firing course today and we are to be inspected by Lord French tomorrow. This evening we were given our sholders numerals “Royal Sussex” and we might get our badges tomorrow.

Love Will x

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5th November 1917

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

In answer to yours received this afternoon. Thanks for Mags. Of course you will not be surprised when I ask you who this “decent sport” is to perhaps take pity on a lonely maid. Two or three times you have said that you would like me to be home for christmas; I hope I am but I think that is as far as I shall get “hoping”. If I do manage it I will be exceedingly lucky. It is not likely that they will let a whole battalion home together and ours is not the only one here. I do remember the first morn of 1917 the year in which everybody thought that the war was going to end. I hope that this thought proves to be true only it is drawing very close. Our Regt. Is an infantry regt. I do not consider it a very foolish question to ask. I did not go on parades this morning but voluntiers were asked for, for signaling, and when C. Gibbs offered himself and they found out he was a bandsman the captain said that he had a better job for us later on than that. I think we will get our badges this week and I have enclosed a sketch of it. I am not sure it will be quite the same that is why I have not bought you one yet. I meant to have my photo taken before I met with this bit of fate but it came too quickly. C.G. had his hair cut very short on Sat last but he had to have it done again by the army barber today. I don’t think there was much in that mobilisation last Sat: it was the same last year “an attempted landing on the east coast”. all rumour. I did enjoy playing the organ again Sun: as I said in my other letter it went very well. I could write more now only I want you to get this tomorrow. The post goes at nine in five minutes time so Good night with

Best Love From Will. xx

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4th November 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, Band Room No 5, 52 Royal Sussex Regt, Goojerat Brks, Colchester
Dear Emmie

Greatly to my surprise I am able to write you this letter this evening. About 10.30. Friday evening we were told to pack our kit bags and be ready to move away by eight o’clock Sat morn. About midnight Fri we were all awakened by the fire-call and had to dress and get on parade. Within the same hour we were all in bed again. I hear that the fire was ten miles away and the call was continuously picked up by buglers until it reached our barracks. When we were in bed again we could still hear it being played so I don’t know how far it got. By eight o’clock the next morn. we had our full pack on and were served out with 100 rounds of live ammunition each. At 9.30. we marched off and we all prepared to be out for three or four days. We were marching towards Clacton and we all thought there was something on, an attempted landing or such like, when we met the Brigadier General (not the one we all disliked; he is in France.) and he told us to make our way back by another road and we arrived back in barracks just on two o’clock. Everybody was surprised to see us return and as we were mostly worn out we did not go out in the evening. All leave was canceled and all on leave were recalled so there were a few dissapointed ones this week. I am glad I had my few hours the week previous. I played the organ for the service this morning and it went well; I will have to see if I can get some practice on it. I wish I could be with you this evening in the arm chair or on the sofa Eh! what! I feel both love sick and home sick. I will be glad when this wicked war is over, it is a beastly bore; disarranges ones plans etc. don’t you find it so. I wish I could wait for you outside the Mish: after G.T.S. or after your evening classes. I don’t mean to have short hair long or I do mean to make my short hair long. I bought a shampoo at Boot’s and did my hair. This with some hair drill (after parade) has made a difference in three days but I don’t suppose it will be normal until I return to civvy life. It is now seven’o’clock and I am going to get some soup for supper. This mixed with some water and a couple of oxo cubes will a good stay until breakfast time tomorrow morning. Well my love I cannot express in words how much I feel towards you so I will close now hoping you understand how sacred I hold your Love

Much Love From Will xx

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2nd November 1917

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

Thanks for P.C. and letter. I am glad you had no trouble with the “war birds”. You stay in the Granary rather a long while; won’t they let you out until the “All Clear” blows? Do they blow bugles in the night. I would sooner be doing a “bit” by supporting you during air raids than playing at soldiers here. I hope the gun-firing did not break any of your Goss. I have thought of you this time; I have a little piece of “goss” in my pocket which I will send you soon. I must get some kind of a box so as it will not break. I suppose all the money E.C. will earn in the army will keep a fine house; we don’t hear any more of our extra money yet. What has G.H’s boy been doing to get a District-Court-Martial, I supposed she is ashamed of him. Do you mean by any chance mean that he has won the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Our Captain told us this morning that we can put in for leave without an excuse every eight weeks, so that will not be bad. I am very glad I had my leave last week because I look like a bald baby now: you guess why. I couldn’t dodge the barber this time; I was marched to him by a lance corporal. Emmie dear! you know I won’t run to get over the “pond” while I have vissions of you before my eyes. I am very sorry to hear of Billy Post going under, it must have been a shock for his mother. You have no need to send me down writing material thank you there is pleanty in Colchester and I know of a place where it is better quality. I now conclude hoping to hear from you by first post Monday morn

With Best Love Will xx

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31st October 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, 256 Infantry Batt, Colchester
Dear Emmie

I think it is my turn to pinch you because you made a mistake saying “it’s the last day of the month” yesterday; there are thirty one days in October. I wish I could have been with you in the granary Monday night, I know you must have been thinking of me. I hear there was an attempted raid on this morning only they did not get through. Were you called up. Nothing further was said about my leave. I did not expect them to go into details. I told C.G. how I got home and I fancy he will be on the same track. (I hope he succeeds) Dear Emmie what was you going to say about that song? I am sorry you do not see all the sweet compliments I pay you. You are a darling girl to me. (one compliment.) Putting all jokes on one side I don’t know how I would go on without you although I see so little of you. I think I will be playing the organ at another church next Sunday morning, if so it will be the biggest one I have ever played. But still I would sooner be with you my first and only love. This is not sarcasm it is only a coincidence. This is the second attempt I have made to write this letter and now I have made a mess up of it. One of the boys says.

Paper is bad

blame the pen

Amen.

I think I will pack up now as the time is getting on

With much Love From Will

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