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

 

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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

24 Aug 1916 I’ve lost about 10lbs since I’ve been wounded

24 Aug 1916 photo001

The  letter contains a photograph of Jack in Hospital, second from the right with two other soldiers and a nurse.

Ward No 2
VAD Hosp
Newton Abbot

My Dear Mother and Father,
At last a few lines. Received your PC this morning pleased to hear both are well. Tuesday I went by motor boat from here to Teignmouth had tea & came back by train. Wednesday I went out to tea & Thursday to Totnes by bike & down the river from there to Dartmouth; I went & saw Grandpa, Ethel met me at the pontoon. Left Dartmouth & went back to Totnes had tea and then finished the journey by bike. You’ll be pleased to hear I’m still going strong though I’ve lost about 10lbs since I’ve been wounded. Have had a lot of rain here during the last week; what is it like at home? I got a nice pair of shoes from Uncle Will, light ones with elastic in the sides jolly fine for walking about in. Kind regards to all. Love to both.

Your affectionate Son
Jack
24 Aug 1916 001

 

22 Aug 1916 My mouth will not be opened for a fortnight or so yet.

No 2 Ward
VAD Hosp.
Newton Abbot

My Dear Mother & Father,
Received your letters & card this morning, pleased to hear everything is A1. That piece that came out of my jaw is a part of the jaw not lead. I got another small splinter out yesterday & there is another piece working out now. My mouth will not be opened for a fortnight or so yet. The leg is getting on fine but I don’t want it to get well too soon. Have had some fine weather here lately & I think today is going to be a scorcher. Kind regards to all neighbours & love to all.

Your affect Son
Jack
23 Aug 1916001

21 Aug 1916 My face has spoiled the photographs …

Ward No 2
VAD
Newton Abbot

My Dear Mother & Father,
A few lines to let you know I’m getting on alright. Sorry I’ve not written for a day or two. Ethel came this afternoon with Auntie & the [youngest]. I think Ethel is looking up fine. The weather here is grand, have had no showers lately. Hope Dad is still busy and keeping in the best of health. Had a letter from Pat the other day & one from his ma. Thanks very much for the tobacco. My face has spoiled the photographs otherwise they are not bad. Kind regards to all neighbours & love to Dad & self. Trusting this will find you well.

Your affect Son
Jack
21 Aug 1916001

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

15 August 1916 Shall be able to walk about with only a stick shortly

Ward no 2
VAD Hosp,
Newton Abbot

My Dear Mother & Father,
Received your letter today also pipe &c many thanks. I’ve just smoked a pipe of tobacco it’s grand after not having smoked one for nearly seven weeks. The weather here is fair now, rather showery at times. Shall be able to walk about with only a stick shortly. Had a nice letter from Uncle Will Haniford today, he seemed rather pleased with me for writing him. Let me know when Ethel is coming down. By the way, I bet she won’t be very pleased with people telling her she’s like me, after she’s seen my phiz. I shall not want any more money for some time as its impossible for me to spend it at present. Mr Hudson is going to send you the “Bulletin” with the a/c in. Kind regards to all neighbours & love to Ethel & selves.

Your affect Son
Jack
15 Aug 1916001