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.

 

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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