Sad news for Ernie

So far this week no mail has arrived so I will have to answer your last weeks letter which came if I remember rightly after I had written to you. Our mails are messed about a treat, last week I got one letter on Wednesday two on Saturday afternoon, one on Sunday morning, and another Sunday evening. I got one from Aunty Eff, its just the thing having three certs every week and I can generally reckon on two or three others which are also very welcome.

Bill seemed a bit bluey over the Juniors but I think he can manage all right and Alf and Ossie says that he would rather Bill than anyone else.

Things seem pretty dear over there, fancy butter 10 piastres a pound – why, there's a day wages gone if it were me to buy.

You don't know how much Ernie appreciates your letters, he does not get too many, and I'm sure he values yours quite as much as his sisters and more than anyone else's. I think he is writing to you this mail. We are expecting the answers to the Colombo Mail, when the next lot arrive. Its a long time to wait for an answer (good spelling) isn't it. I hope you are still keeping well and that the younkers still eat like they used to, as to myself I never felt better in my life and can eat like a horse.

Last Thursday night we went out on some imaginary fight, marched about eight miles across the desert, lugging stretchers and then camped between two sand dunes. I generally take my waterproof sheet to sleep under and as a rule I sleep warm enough. We were up at four thirty am and as our transports didn't arrive with our light breakfast, it was lighter still. We started the fight at five am and we doubled and skirmished all over the place until about seven o'clock when we began the march home and the fellows were dropping out all along the line.

It's terribly heavy work marching over the soft dusty desert, under the broiling sun, especially on an empty stomach.

There were three serious cases and consequently three stretcher squads were required to carry them home, and as luck would have it, I was in the remaining squad, the other poor chaps arrived home two hours later dead beat but I wasn't sorry to be in the lucky squad. The Band are working in conjunction with the A.M.C. Corps and so far know just as much as they do.

Our duty will be to remain in the trenches with the men, fix up their wounds, then carry them to the first dressing station where our Doctor and A.M.C. men are, and then from there they are transferred to the base hospital. I am glad we will be in the trenches, and I guess I will do my bit when I get the chance. We are going to the Butts next week for four days shooting. Ralph is coming back from school today and so far is second in marks, not too bad it is.

Ernie and I bought a camera between us and now have something to keep us out of mishcheif and (out of pocket). It cost 175 disasters, not counting films, printing paper and sundries.

Stan Fletcher, the best chap in the band and my only pal amongst the musicians is a photographer and puts us up to all the points, consequently we haven't made half the mess of things that otherwise we would have so I'm sending some views of Cairo that we took last week and will be sending some every mail I expect.

Stan Fletcher and I are going to the zoo this afternoon and Ernie if he can get off so we will take some more there.

I was surprised to hear that you brought some postcards, there were one dozen cards and half a dozen cabinets from the Marlborough and one dozen from the Melba and I have none left so that's thirty I have disposed of and I thought that would be any amount.

We have just heard that Ernie's cousin has been killed. He left a fortnight before we did, and Ernie, he, and I spent his last night at Broadmeadows together. Cecil Chandler was his name and a very decent little chap he was.

There is not much news to tell you and the photos will give you ann idea of the place. I have put them all in Bill's letter. I have left this note for a day in the hope of the mail coming in and it is now Monday and no sign of any its a fortnight all but two days since the last mail and I hope it comes in before Wednesday for we have to got away four days shooting.

We have to play for a Military Funeral this afternoon, one of B. Coy 22nd, died yesterday.

I went to the Cairo Methodist Church last night and it was great to get back once more to a real Methodist Service.

We have to go to practice now so I will close with love from your loving son.

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