26th October 1918

Dear Emmie

It is now five days since I have heard from you so I am just writing a few lines to let you know that I am still going strong. We have had a quiet time this last week although we (the drums) have had plenty of playing to do. We are supposed to have a canteen but they have [had] nothing to sell for some time so please send me some cigarettes as soon as poss.

We are still going forward fairly quickly but Johny is going back equally as fast. We are now in the 3rd army: I don’t know if I told you before. Mabel will be 21 tomorrow I sent her a letter the other day wishing her “many happy returns” and I dare say she has had it by now. By the time you receive this I will have been out here seven months. It does seem a long time and I am longing to see you but I suppose it will be about another three months before I start thinking of leave unless they send more a month than they are sending now.

I saw some civilians today as we passed through some captured villages and they are all round the troops. As we passed through one place we struck up a French march and one lady burst into tears and went indoors. About a fortnight ago I think I told you we were in private-houses; well we went straight from there into a stable and it was the worst place I have ever been in but we soon cleared it out and made it inhabitable. Well my dear I must close now but will write again as soon as poss.

With Fondest Love

From Yours Ever

Will xxx

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21st October 1918

Dear Emmie

Yours to hand of the 16th inst received this afternoon. Sorry that I made that mistake again on field-card but I won’t do it again until the next time. It was quite unintentional. You know the old saying “reverse your dreams” well that is what Les had better do. I don’t suppose it will be many months before we all see Blightly again, perhaps for good, but I hope not in blues.

I didn’t recognise the picture of Trafalgar sqr. when I first looked at it but after a while I guessed. It doesn’t make a very good picture of a battle-field because of the strait walls standing and the traffic in the back-ground but do doubt it brought in a lot of money. You ask how many hundreds to go on leave before me: well there [are] 100 men over 10 months and they havn’t started yet. The 12 monthers are going now. I expect my next leave from France will be my first and last at least I hope so. Will I must close now so as to drop a line to Mable too.

Bon Nuit

Best Love

From Will xx.

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19th October 1918

Dear Emmie

In answer to yours of the 14th inst: I carried that stamp all the way from Blightly and have had it about seven months: about time I used it. It is against the rules to take letters from France and post them in England. I am glad to hear George Todd is alright as a P. of W. and I don’t suppose he will be in Germany long from now. I hade a letter from Dad today and he mentioned that Mabel was becoming engaged. I don’t know what to think about it. I don’t suppose she will see much of him now especially if they take “special” care of him as they do some. I was also ignorant of the fact that Mabel had turned Christadelphian but I am pretty sure that I never will.

I am surprised at Mr Howard not being able to play that “Christ & his Soldiers” is it because the organ is not big enough. Perhaps he could manage it on the organ when it is finished. I have been having a decent tune on the cornet this evening and it goes alright with the clarinette. It wouldn’t take much for us to get up an orchestra but of course the men want a little security on the safety of their instruments. We’ll I haven’t any more to write this time so will conclude with

Best Love

From Will xx

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18th October 1918

Dearest Emmie

I have received the writing-pad and books for which I thank you very much. We are still having a fairly good time but not quite as bon as when I wrote before. We came out of a smart house into a pig sty (literally). Of course we cleaned the place out and now it is alright but if the Germans were billeted in such places, as seems evident, they must be a dirty lot. I wrote a letter to W.L. the other day so I don’t know if he will get it or not: I suppose it will be forwarded on. Of course no one can be forced into joining up and I know that he won’t give way once he has started. He states some peculiar facts but they are true and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he got off. I don’t know what his father must think of him being an old Soldier but of course everyone has a right to his own opinion and “here’s” to the man who can stick to it whatever it may be.

Well I don’t think I have any more to write this time so I will conclude

With Fondest Love

From Yours Ever

Will xx

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16th October 1918

Dear Emmie

Yours to hand of the 4th inst. We are now frying some chips for supper, sounds alright doesn’t it. Our only difficulty is in getting fat to fry in. Did I tell you that the other day we made a jam tart of flour, water and jam and bacon fat and it tasted très bon.

I am glad your Dad is getting the chair ready for us again we’ll have to mind how we go next time. Of course that is an old complaint with armchairs, ours has it at home. I wonder how it caught it. Glad you liked the “Better ‘ole”. I wish I could have been with you but never mind this last week I have had to find one or two better ‘oles. I think I mentioned that I have received my cornet, last Monday week, but have not been able to undo the parcel: no time. That sounds as if I am busy doesn’t it. The months do certainly fly by, it will soon be Christmas and by then I hope that this conflict is over. It is possible but I don’t think probable. We mustn’t get too excited about peace before it’s here (in fact that’s general orders of the day). I guess Harold Day was busy for a little while when the she’ll burst near him, at any rate I’m glad he wasn’t hurt. Sometimes shells do have a habit of dropping uncomfortably near but as long as no one is hurt they can fall where they like.

The nights do draw in quickly now and if your office is moved you won’t have so far to walk home although it is not much farther. Perhaps Mr.P. will open an office in Rue de Tibre if you ask him. I hope that you enjoy the dance: I presume you’re[?] to go. Well I must close now as I am almost monopalizing the table and lamp.

With Love

From Yours Ever

Will xx

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15th October 1918

Dearest Emmie

Yours to hand of the 7th inst: Yes, we did enjoy that little rest although it was only for a few days and I don’t suppose we will have another time like that for some time to come. Your idea of an Estaminet I fear is wrong but of course there are “some” and ”some” compre? I should think that the Marlboro’ would pay better as a cinema and if it is very good you will have to take me there one of these times. I would like to get my photo taken but as we are at least 30 miles from civilization it would be rather difficult. You would be surprised to see the Batt: turn out to catch a glance of a civilian but that is what would happen should one drop this way. I would certainly like to see the battered village in Trafalgar Square and the trenches and would be able to compare it with the actual. Thanks also for the Mag: I suppose I should drop a few lines to Mr Ferraro; well I will do so if I get time. I sent a letter to Harold Day yesterday but I don’t know if he will get it because I’ve written to an address I had about two years ago. I have written Mr Avery and also to a friend (male) at Colchester, so you see I have been busy. Well my dear I must draw to a close now and help with the veg for dinner.

With Fondest Love

from Yours Ever

Will xx

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15th October 1918

Dearest Emmie

I don’t know what you must be thinking of me writing so little lately but I have been busy. We are now on open warfare and I, being up the line and advancing so quickly, have had very little chance to write. We are now in a village which four days ago was occupied by “Jerry”. There were a few people left behind and of course they have been sent away. We are now in civilian houses which have not been shelled very much. Everything is like home. Beds to sleep in, plenty of coal and fires and also plenty of veg: which we lose no time in digging and having for dinner. Of course when we first took over the houses we were very careful with what we touched; especially wires and electric switches etc. We lit an oil lamp and it had not been alight two minutes before it went up as if it had been set to go off. Of course it might have been a trick of a Jerry and perhaps not: anyway we are very careful. I hear from the papers that the latest big town taken is in ruins but I fear that statement is a bit exaggerated. I am pleased to say that our Batt. casualties have been very slight and I hope they remain low. I haven’t had a letter from you now for over a week but I know there must be some for me somewhere. I went over a ruined church yesterday but there was no organ in it. It [was] a pity to see all the vestments strewn over the floor which must have cost over £1,000. There are plenty of pianos in the empty houses and I have lost no time in having a tune. There is a lot of buck-shee furniture everywhere, one side-board in a house or cabinet is worth about £300. It is a shame to see the destruction but if course this is only a pin’s point on the line. The boys are now making something with flour and water. Some want to make pancakes and some jam tart. I think it looks like the paste we used to use at the shop. The latest up last night was that peace had been declared but the guns are still going this morning so I suppose they have not heard of it. If they are going to have peace this year they had better hurry up about it.

I am very lucky in one way and that is so far I have always been in a house, barn or cellar every night whereas most of the boys have been in the open. We have had to dig in about half-a-dozen times and I am getting quite used to it. How is the organ at the church going on have they finished it yet. I don’t think I have nay more to write this time so will close with

Fondest Love

From Yours Ever

Will xx

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13th October 1918

Dear Emmie

A few more lines to let you know that I am still O.K. We are having a fairly good time and I will write more when I have more time. I guess you will expect a long letter next time, what? I hear there is a mail up so expect a letter or two from you. Please remember me to your Ma & Pa.

Fondest Love

From Will xx

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12th October 1918

Dear Emmie

Yours to hand of the 3rd inst. we are very busy lately and I havn’t had much time to write. I don’t know if this letter will get away today. My cornet came last Monday but I havn’t even had time to look at that. I havn’t had any letters lately but I dare say there are some waiting for me. I am not allowed to write a long letter this time, hope you are alright.

Fondest Love from Will

P.S. Please excuse writing.

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