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

31 Aug 1916 … can now walk about quite well

Ward No 2
VAD Hosp
Newton Abbot

My Dear Mother & Father,
Received your letter this morning. You’ll be pleased to hear I’m getting on A1 & can now walk about quite well. My jaw is still fixed up and going quite well. Yesterday afternoon I went to the local cinema & this afternoon for a drive in a four-wheeler. Ethel is coming up again tomorrow afternoon & goes home Saturday I understand. Had twenty hours rain here Tuesday to Wednesday & this morning a slight shower. Hope old Kel is going on alright, will write him again soon. You can send a few shillings next week if you like, though I have no particular hurry for it. I have not heard from Paula since you were here so have not written to her. Ethel played a few tunes to the chaps up here the other day, cheered them up quite a lot.

Kind regards to all neighbours & love to both.

Your affect Son
Jack

 

 

16 August 1916 I can manage to get about with a walking stick now …

V.A.D. Hospital, Newton Abbot

My Dear Mother & Father
Received your letter today. I can manage to get about with a walking stick now but my leg will be some time before it’s healed up. Am expecting Bulletins [sometime] glad to know you got yours. Kind regards to all neighbours & love to all.

Your affect Son
Jack
16 Aug 1916001

16 Apr 1916 Enclosed a few flowers, picked in small wood west of Arras …

No 58 Grenadiers
LRB

My Dear Mother & Father
Received letter today also Tit-bits &c. many thanks. All men on leave have to be back in France by April 18th & all leave here has been stopped so my hopes have been flattened some. Over here we are getting a proper April weather, how is it at home? Had a FS [Field Service] card from Pat today, he’s writing later. Should like a towel socks & handkerchiefs in next parcel. Send via Southampton the rate of postage for more than 7lbs is much cheaper than through ordinary parcel post. Enclosed a few flowers, picked in small wood west of Arras, keep them for souvenirs. Am still keeping fit, also merry & bright. Kind regards to all neighbours & love to all at home. Hoping this will find all well.

I remain
Your affect Son
Jack
16 Apr 191600716 Apr 1916 pg2008

14 Apr 1916 Have not heard anything about my leave yet

No 58 Grenadiers
L.R.B.

My Dear Mother & Father
Received your letter today, glad to hear all are well at home. I’m still in the best of health & enjoying life more or less.

The weather is very unsettled still plenty of rain with intermediate periods of sunshine. Have not heard anything about my leave yet, still living in hopes of getting it soon. Hope you are looking after the garden it should begin to look smart very soon as spring is well in. Hope Dad is still keeping fit & as cheerful as usual.
Will write again shortly.
Kind regards to all neighbours & love to all at home.

Your affect Son
Jack
14 Apr 1916 00514 Apr 1916 pg2006

13 Mar 1916 … this new Division of Services is one of the assault

No 58 Grenadier Co
LRB

My Dear Mother & Father
A few lines to let you know I’m still keeping A1. The weather here today is glorious just like midsummer as also was yesterday’s. Yesterday we had a march of fifteen miles to another place just outside Doullens** where Pat was – rather a warm job with overcoats & full pack, still I managed it quite well & feel none the worse for it. We are about ten miles behind the firing line here and can hear the reports of the guns quite plainly. At Victoria there is a notice up to the effect that leave has been suspended in the BEF [British Expeditionary Force] from March 1st till further notice, which I hear out here might mean until August, what hopes eh! There’s a possibility of us not going up the line for a few weeks but when we do I expect we shall see some dirty work as this new Division of Services is one of the assault.

If you can possibly manage it I should like some brasso during the next week or so, but if it will inconvenience you at all don’t trouble about it. We got pretty good grub & are looked after rather well now a bit different to last year. Hope Ethel is getting on alright at bus & at home also keeping well. How’s the baby getting on now, well I hope. Received your tit bits yesterday many thanks. When I do come home shall expect the garden looking smart. King regards to all neighbours & love to all at home.

Your affect son
Jack

** Hubert Brown in his diary for the 12 March stated: “Up at 5.30 am to move off, marching to Gerzaincourt [Gezaincourt] via Bernaville about 15 miles.”

 

8 Mar 1916 By the way you sent “Womans Life” …

No 58 Grenadier Co
LRB

My Dear Mother & Father
Just a few lines to let your know I’m still keeping A1. The weather here has been fine lately & today the sun is shining brightly & makes one feel happy to be alive. Had a fine game of footer yesterday afternoon, our company played another & beat them by 4 goals to 2. Next time you send a parcel I should like a pair or two of socks & a few more handkerchiefs as I’m short of both. Leave is still suspended, my only chance as far as I can see is a Blighty touch in the Spring. I receive Tit-bits &c each week thanks. By the way you sent “Womans Life” in with the other papers last week, any joke going! Heard from Mr Hudson the other day will answer him as soon as poss. Kind regards to all neighbours and love to Ethel & selves. Hoping this will find you all well at home.

I remain
Your affect Son
Jack
8 Mar 1916033

 

28 Feb 1916 Yesterday we marched 14 miles in the snow

No 58 B Section
Grenadier Co
LRB

My Dear Mother & Father
Just a few lines to let you know I’m quite well & cheerful. Have not been able to write during the last three to four days as we have been on the move, and we have received no letters either for that period. Yesterday we marched 14 miles in the snow, it was a devil of a trip either up to the ankles in the snow or sliding about in the slush. Have had plenty of snow over here during the last week & quite a lot of fun out of it. I received your parcel safely many thanks. Have not received cigs from Mr L yet. Will write again as soon as poss. Love to Ethel & selves & hoping this will find you all well.

I remain

Your affect Son
Jack
28 Feb 1916032

 

23 Feb 1916 … got quite a lot of fun out of it with the boys

No 58 B Section
Grenadier Co
LRB

My Dear Mother & Father
Just a few lines to let you know I’m still OK. I have not had a letter from you for two days but hope to receive one this evening. Received Mrs Liddell’s parcel yesterday, shall write & thank her tomorrow. Had a fall of snow here yesterday, got quite a lot of fun out of it with the boys. Leave is going on, but very slowly so don’t know quite when I shall get mine. Hope Dad is still busy & in the best of health also Eth & yourself. Kind regards to neighbours & love to all at home.

Your affect Son
Jack
23 Feb 1916031

22 Nov 1915 A letter to Jack from E Reginald Watts

c/o Mrs Spalding,
4 Victoria Road
Sutton

Dear Jack
I daresay you will wonder who is writing to you. You may remember me or you may not. I used to reside at a certain house named ‘Lyndale” in Park Lane, so if you are not dead, please let me know & I will come and see you next Sunday afternoon. I think I saw you last about six years ago, and it is about eight I think since I moved away. Please give my kind regards to all at home, I trust all are well.  Hoping you are enjoying the best of health etc.,

I remain

Yours sincerely,
E Reginald Watts
[He clearly isn’t aware that Jack is on the front]