14th December 1917

Bandsman W M 46534, Royal Sussex Regt, Colchester
Dear Emmie

Yours to hand. I am glad to hear that you were not actually right in bed with your finger I come to the conclusion that it must have been your left hand that you damaged. Am I right? I rubbed the eppidermis off my finger the other day and it has been rather painful but I could not get excused duty for it. I do not feel up to the mark myself tonight I think I must have a cold. I am really surprised to hear that Islington went through it so much in the last raid. I thought they weren’t coming over our way at all. Nobody wrote and told me anything about it. I think I shall be able to say that verse by the time I come home I nearly know it off by heart now. I cannot understand what you mean by “a big door key, you and I”. You don’t know how I can take a stern hand when I like I would loose all sense of ticklisment. I have not been tickled for such a long time chat I almost forget what it’s like. I will have to sample some next time I get a chance. We went trench digging this morning and had some fun in throwing the dirt over each other. I never thought I would live to be a navvy. I think this is as long as I can make this billet as there is nothing extraordinary happening lately. What does “billet” mean? I have an idea I know. Does it mean a brief note? Well my dear I will now close wishing you a “good night”.

With Love

From Yours Ever

Will xx


17th September 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

Thanks very much for the photo, it is very nice of you but would have been better had your chapeau not been so much over your face. I noticed Desmond and he looks a bit vicious. Is that Charlie Gibbs, two away from you? I also recognise the drummer. Johnnie Hilling was home on Sunday. I met Will Sharpe Sunday morning and he said you should not have gone back Sat. The Harvest Festival is to be held the last Sunday of this month. Sept 30th do try and get leave, for the Monday too, then you will be able to come to the Festival social also. You said you were going to fresh barracks is the address to be altered then? I am going to see Mr Rolfe this evening. Well there is no more this time to say, let me hear from Colchester early won’t you, hope you get along alright.

Well bye-bye Duckie

Emmie xxx


10th September 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

In answer to yours, I do not want to appear selfish, but I am really pleased it was raining in Aldershot or I should have been wild if it had been fine after all and I had stayed at home. Mr Hickin preached on Sunday evening and also explained the reason fully of his resignation. I am afraid we have misjudged him and he thought we had too, but on hearing the story from his own lips, I think the congregation is fully satisfied and agrees the course he has chosen to be correct and best.  There has been a burglary at his house, that is what brought him to London chiefly this week end. £50-worth of jewellery and other things stolen, I am told, but no clue whatever can be obtained as to who the thief is. I met Mr Hickin on Sat. and he asked me how you were. Mr Warder told me last evening he would write to you at the first opportunity in a week or two’s time he thought, he is a very busy person I suppose. Would you mind if I answered yours about a week after I wonder? I went for a nice walk Saturday evening with Maude. The war pictures are commencing again this Winter as in previous years, you will not be coming with me this time will you?

Mr Clarke came to the office this morning, he spent the week end in town (to be near his lady love I expect) and he went back to Bournemouth again this morning. He sent Mable and me a card last week and addressed me as “Dear M.” and Mabel as “Dear Alice”, now what do you think of the cheeky bounder. Why are you wanting those pieces of music and how are the concert practices proceeding. I believe I have asked you this before among the other countless questions you have not answered. The sun is shining nicely to-day, I am going to the Mish. this evening to play for Mr Chapman, the harvest anthem etc, we are having a practice. Things are looking up a little now the winter’s work is beginning to show itself. I hear Mrs Browne is going to get a concert together by the G.F.s and we are to entertain some wounded soldiers, there will be “some fun” that night you can guess. Do you remember Bert Pillar, he lived in our street, but has since gone to live in Devon, he attended the mission. Well he came to London on Sunday and called at our house. My word he is tall, he is in wounded soldier’s clothes but has grown wonderful. I went swimming on Friday (Mabel would not come) I got on alright too, I shall do a little next week by myself I think. I do not know what G. Ray is in, he was down again on Sunday, some of them seem to manage it all right. Mr Shovel’s boy next door has joined and he gets home every Sunday. You asked me in one letter if I posted the card to you directly after the all clear signal as you received it so soon. Well I hardly imagine myself writing at 2.30am and posting it that time of the morning especially after the excitement, but I wrote it as soon as I was dressed and then sent it at 7.30 so you see I was not so very late. Have you got the instep supports yet? You were not really sick were you. Bertie Cranmer has been to France some time, and also in the hospital some time with trench feet, Charlie Cranmer came home soon after him, so it was rather nice, all the boys seem to be coming now. We are expecting Jack Strong soon. What do you do when you go to the Officers’ mess? I know you get a free supper, or a tea. I am going to start Evening School next I think. I do not know what subjects to take yet. By the way, you complained some time back about the paper I left unused. You do not fill much I must say, besides you do not get many words on one line either. I would give you a prize if you could write me as much as I have you this time.

I think it is about time I drew to a close or you will begin to puff. Another thing, I have had some various selections of notepaper from you, but this dark grey blue stuff fairly makes me creep it is so drab and dreary, cut it off for a time there’s a dear boy. I am going to Lennis now to spend the rest of the evening. That chapie in my office in Mr Clarke’s place is a little more talkative now, his name is Mr Carroll, only I wish he would someetimes, but he made a joke the other day much to my amazement and then laughed and of course I heartily joined in on the rare occasion. Thank goodness this is the last week of his presence in the D.M.O. Well I really will close this time

With love from


Semper fidelis

(there were quite 4 words on each line to your last most welcome letter, I’ll pay you out my boy next time you see.


9th September 1917

16 Tiber St

How sad I am, I could not come. I was all ready, my sandwiches cut too, and then the rain came and lasted so long, so I could not start. It has been a miserable day, so dull and showery, I’ve been wondering if it was fine at Aldershot. You must try and get leave for the 14th.

Have been seeing all the Russians (men only) leaving the country this evening at Euston, there were myriads of them, and a great deal of unrest you may be sure. They were hissed and booed awful, of course there were the hooligans about and when Maude and I left Euston the hooligans shouted out that we were Russians been to see the menfolk off and they prepared to round on us, there were about 40 of them. I’ve never been so frightened so I shouted out We are English, then they cheered and let us go on triumphantly, what experiences we do have in war time, it is surprising.

Well the hour is approaching bed time, bye the way, we had a bit of a warning this afternoon and had to let our kiddies out of Sunday School about 3.30, another piece of excitement. The all clear signal was given though shortly after. Well write to be quick and tell me a lot.

Fondest love, from your



6th September 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

In reply to yours, the weather is very doubtful here. I am half afraid it will be wet for Sunday, but we will hope for the best. I will come if it is not raining, I think I am too much of a burden when it is wet. No, we do not have signals when there is a night raid, that’s the worst part, we are all supposed to be under cover that time of night. I have just heard a piece of bad news. Harry Lawford has been killed in action, not long after the death of his poor mother was it? This war is the cause of some suffering. Well excuse me finishing now, I will tell you the rest on Sunday.

Fondest Love




5th September 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

In answer to yours. In the first place I expect you have heard of the Air Raid last night. We were all asleep and had to get up, the bombs did sound horrible, your people went to the tube but as usual we did not know what to do, and as Mrs Chard and Claude were not prepared we all stayed indoors until it passed over. The all clear signal was not given until about 2 o’clock this morning. Now I suppose this means we shall be sitting up until the early hours of the morning. The damage is very bad in Edgware Rd I hear, Bourne & Hollingsworth’s shop in Oxford St has caught it, and Charing Cross Rd is in a very bad condition. As usual not one air raider was brought down. I shall be pleased to come to Aldershot next Sunday, Sept 9th. I suppose that will be the last time too. Have all the band been removed to another Company and will it make any difference? Mr Clarke is on his holidays I do not think he will have another honeymoon myself. I expect you felt rather hungry by the time you got back that day, with only 6 biscuits. I think I should have contrived somehow to take something else with me.

I think I write much more in one line Will than you, perhaps that is why I have left so much paper clear lately as you say, but otherwise I cannot account for it. Bertie Cranmer is home on leave and is looking trés fit, he has plenty to say to all the neighbours as you may guess. I sent you the magazine so that you could read Mr Newman’s letter about Mr Hickin. George Ray was at church in khaki on Sunday, he looked very smart too especially with his hair cropped short. I am going swimming again on Friday and am looking forward to it ever so much. Mabel is coming too I think. Well I have no more to tell you this time Will, only you know I am always thinking of you and of course I want you more especially as I know I cannot have you near me. Well I will close now, with

Best love from




3rd September 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

Thanks very much for the china. I like it, it is supposed to be a thistle, very pretty too. So you had it fine after all, I was thinking about you all. Glad you are able to come home Sept.14th, is it going to be a weekend, or only for the day? I went to the Opera House, Sta. evening with Maude, they have pictures there now, and I spent a most enjoyable evening. Mr Warder told me he heard from you on Saturday. I was rather surprised, but I cannot say why I should have been. I am writing this at work. I have another young gentleman for the fortnight in the office with me, we sit all day and say not a word. I’m becoming quite like a mouse, there is more work done as a result though. Well I will conclude now, with

Love from Emmie

PS. My people wish to be remembered.


1st September 1917

16, Tiber Street
Dear Will

In answer to yours, I understand your idea in getting out of the difficulty, but I do not at all care for that, it does not seem the proper thing somehow to me, however I will not think any more about it although it recalled Will’s words before you joined, to the effect, of confiding in him, if there was anything you did not want me to know. I hope you are not going to take advantage of his offer. It is raining very hard to-day, not promising for Sunday, but I hope it clears over anyhow. I went for your music stand last evening, it was at the Mission after all. Well I can think of no more this time so will end.

With love from Emmie xx


30th August 1917

16, Tiber Street, Kings Cross
Dear Will

Am pleased you received the watch safely. I thought the promptness would surprise you. Now I have got something on my mind. When I told Mabel Will L. had sent you a pipe, she thought it funny he did not say anything to her about it, so when she mentioned to him, this is what he says: “Oh, I did not say anything to you, as Son did not want Emmie to know” It hurts me very much when I think of this, & I ask you, “is it true?”. I cannot say any more on the subject now, as I want to hear from you first, but it keeps coming into my thoughts, well, & I cannot tell you the rest. Do you remember what W.L. said to you before you joined up?

You seem to be having a very lively time, & that Mr Gibbs rises rather early to perform his jokes, but as long as you enjoy yourselves & forget the bitter side, that is all that matters at present. I am thankful you are able to have a good time. I shall appreciate the china very much if you manage to get it, sorry you did not like the expression but I did not want you to run about too much after it, especially as you say the least bit of exertion now overcomes you, do not grow lazy though. Mr Warder’s address once again, 9, Lysander Grove, Highgate, N. 

Well dear Will I do not feel I can write any more somehow my thoughts keep wandering to what I mentioned before, I feel surprised & yet – well I will not say any more, but will close with love from

Emmie x

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