26 Dec 1916 Each man had a stocking Xmas morn

Ward B16
1st Southern
Birmingham

My Dear Mother & Father
Many thanks for Xmas card received this morning. Had a fairly decent time yesterday, plenty of grub & in the evening there was a concert in the ward but I did not worry about it. Had a card from Alice Philpot with yours, I shall have to write her shortly. Each man had a stocking Xmas morn containing card, handkerchief packet of cigs, cig case, pencil, cake of soap & an apple & orange. The weather here is keeping fine rather cold though. Hope [ald] will have a decent time on furlough, only wish I could have mine with him. Have only had about four Xmas cards & one or two letters lately so shall not have a lot to answer. Hope you all had a decent time at home, wish I’d been there, should have had a glorious [drunk].  Kind regards to all neighbours & love to Ethel & selves.

Your affect Son
Jack

P.S. The watch is always stopping & gains & loses in turn anything from ½ – ¾ of an hour every hour or so might send it home & you can raffle it or lose it or perhaps change it.

 

19 Dec 1916 Have had a good fall of snow here

Ward B16
1st Southern
Birmingham

My Dear Mother & Father
Received your letter last evening, pleased to hear all are well. Thanks very much for [   ]. Shall write again to Pay Office if they don’t send my cash soon. Have had a good fall of snow here during the last few days & it’s still coming down. Will send letter when I get some news. Hope Dad is still busy and enjoying life. Have not heard from Teddy since I last wrote him. Kind regards to all neighbours & love to all at home.

Your affect Son
Jack x

15 Dec 1916 … finished up by kissing a number of the lads, I was unlucky

Ward B16
1st Southern Genl
Birmingham

My Dear Mother & Father
Received you letter this morning pleased to hear all are well. You can get the ring you suggested as you know more about them than I do. Had a fine concert here this afternoon about the best that has been here. There were a few of the artists from Razzle dazzle, an American singer, five little American girls in another turn & there were several other good artistes, one being a French piece of goods, she sang pretty good English & was encored about three times & finished up by kissing a number of the lads, I was unlucky. Most of these people appear at the Grand Theatre Birmingham. The Dentist came round this morning and enquired whether I played cards & drank beer – now do I – because he’s getting up a whist drive and [beans] for xmas for the jaw cases, I guess we’ll enjoy ourselves this trip. I’ve got to write to the Firm to let them know that I’m here for Xmas as they’re sending special parcels to the troops. If you get anything I might fancy & you can sport it send it along for Xmas. Hope Dad is still keeping A1 also busy & how is Miss Widdicombe? Will write again when I get any news. Kind regards to all neighbours & love to Ethel & selves.

Your affect Son
Jack x

 

14 Dec 1916 I was up in the Salient now I’m safe in Blighty

no return address

My Dear Mother and Father
Expect by now you’ve received my letter. Will you when you send my ring enclose the watch with it as the latter will be useful now I get out afternoons. Sorry I shall not be able to be home for Xmas anyway enjoy yourself as last Xmas I was up in the Salient now I’m safe in Blighty. Am waiting for Ethel’s letter. Kind regards to neighbours & love to all at home.

Your affect Son
Jack x

8 Dec 1916 … so I should think I’m here for Xmas

Ward B16
1st Southern Genl
Birmingham

My Dear Mother & Father
Received your P.C. this morning, & cannot understand why you have not had more than 1 P.C. as I’ve written quite three times. We can get out here from 2 – 4pm every day so this afternoon I’m going to have a look around Brum. Saw the Dentist yesterday & he told me to call again in a fortnight so I should think I’m here for Xmas. I’m keeping more or less fit & cheerful & am looking forward to a good old beano when I leave here. There is a concert tonight, shall have to imagine I’m at the Empire or there about. I miss the beer I used to get at Solihull, shall have to be a TT for a short while. Hope Ethel is still merry & bright and keeping the house going & also learning “Alice”. Kind regards to all neighbours & love to all at home.

Your affect Son
Jack
8-dec-1916-b040

8 Dec 1916 … all old crocks are being sent back …

Although dated 8 Dec 1916 it seems likely this was written before that date based on the second letter also dated 8 Dec.

Ward B16
1st Southern Genl
Birmingham

My Dear Mother & Father
I came back to this show yesterday afternoon & as I know my way about & also a few chaps have managed to settle down fairly well. Have not seen the Dentist yet, but shall do later in the day. Don’t expect I shall be home for Xmas as it’s a fortnight Monday, still if you wish to, get that ring & keep it until I return. Wonder how long I shall be in Blighty before going to France again as all old crocks are being sent back & this lad does not look ill at all. We are allowed out here from 2 pm – 4 pm now, so I shall have a look around Brum when I get the chance. Hope Dad is keeping well & still busy & how is Ethel getting on at bus:? Has Mr Cornish gone to the front yet? The weather here is wet but I think it will clear up shortly, what is it like at home?

Kind regards to all neighbours & love to Ethel & selves.

Your Affect Son
Jack

 

4 Dec 1916 After a break in letters we find Jack recuperating in Birmingham

The Hermitage
Solihull
nr Birmingham

My Dear Mother & Father
Received your letter with PO & stamps yesterday many thanks for same. I’m still going strong & keeping my pecker up. Some time this week I’m back to the Southern [1st Southern General Hospital, Birmingham]  Will let you know  [              ]. The weather here is very cold & windy, what is it like at home? Hope Dad is still well and keeping busy. How is Ethel getting on at bus & at home. [— letter later.] Kind regards to all neighbours & love to Ethel & selves.

Your affect Son

27 Oct 1916 …I’m still alive & kicking

 

Mason Ward
VAD Hosp
Newton Abbot
Devon

My Dear Mother & Father
At last a few lines to let you know I’m still alive & kicking. The weather here is horrible & has been for the last few weeks, nothing but rain all the time. Hope Dad is still fit & busy. How is Ethel getting on now dying to see dear Ernie I suppose?What do you think about this phiz of mine, is it better than the other one?  My jaw is still about the same I’m having massage for it. I received 1 alright. I told you last time I wrote. Hope all are keeping well at home & that everything is going A1. Kindest regards to all neighbours & love to Ethel & selves.

Your affect son
Jack

P.S. Hope Mrs Paterson is alright now, give her and Mr also fam. my best wishes.

 

 

20 Oct 1916 Still going strong but not too swift

Mason Ward
VAD Hosp
Newton Abbot

My Dear Mother & Father
Still going strong but not too swift. Haven’t had any letters today so shall expect a few tomorrow. Hope Dad is still well & keeping busy. How is Ethel getting on at bus: & at the piano. By the way she never sent me the notes to [ ] on. Should like Ern Millest’s address if you can get it. Hope Mr & Mrs Hudson & family are all [well] also Mr and Mrs Laurence & fam, give them my kindest regards. You can include Marjory in the programme if you wish! The weather has settled down during the last few days & is now rather cold, quite nice though. Trusting this will find all well with kind regards to all neighbours & love to Ethel & selves.

I remain

Your affect Son
Jack

18 Oct 1916 Had my gold stripe given me today

Mason Ward
VAD Hosp
Newton Abbot

My Dear Mother & Father
Received your letter this morning pleased to hear all are well. Uncle Will & Auntie Nell came up this afternoon & we went for a drive round the country. Uncle reckons Dad could get on nicely at Dartmouth why don’t you both think about it if it’s any good? I’m jolly pleased to hear that Jim Etheridge is alive & hope he’ll get on alright. Mrs Johnson got her share of bad luck if anybody does. Had my gold stripe given me today, there is an order out now for all men to be issued with them in hospital. Hope Ethel is getting on alright at business & keeping fit. Thank her for writing will write soon.

Kind regards to all neighbours & love to all at home.

Your affect Son
Jack
Congrats to Flip