What would a war be like without the letters? Rotten.

TEL-EL-KEBIR

I have had the foregoing written for about half an hour and at last am getting a move on. There are four of us around three stumps of candles, writing or trying to write, but something keeps cropping up to talk about. The last subject was “Aunts” so you can guess the diversity of subjects. Just now the 21st Band has started grinding out ragtime, oh these wars! They are terrible for confusing one's thoughts. The Band is now on “The Minstrel Boy” and it does not sound too bumpy. (I beg your pardon Mum dear, for using slang) – I mean bad. Ernie is now squashing beside me and chattering like a married magpie.

I received the parcel today with Olive's enclosure. Poor kid, it was good of her to think of me like that. I wrote at once to thank her. I must also thank you very much for your kind thought. It's just great to get things like that from home and this is a starvation concern, every bit as bad as the trenches were. I am saving the sardines for tea tomorrow night for Cyril is coming to see me.

I am glad you spent some time with Miss Ricketts. The more you see of her the more you like her. She is one in a thousand. I hope she had a fair spell home before she was sent back again. I am glad that they told you of the evacuation before Christmas. It would make a brighter Christmas for many, but I suppose you thought that we had been sent to Serbia or somewhere else, where things were just as likely to be lively. I saw the Herald of the 22nd with the announcement in, but it did not give you any information of our whereabouts, but perhaps later they might have told you that we were at peace with the World so that people with loved ones at the front could eat their Christmas duck in comfort.

I am dead sorry about that mail that was sunk to you but I suppose that it is all in the game.

I have not started to answer my fifty or sixty letters yet. I don't seem to be able to get settled to enough to start my collosal task. I suppose all my friends have thought I had forgotten them. I have sent over to ask Amy for a typewriter. I can not promise more than a page when I do start and now we are moving again on Monday, Ismailia or somewhere so I suppose it will be a while before we are settled again and I will have more mounting up in between whiles. But, what would a war be like without the letters – Rotten.

There are a few rowdy spirits in the tent now and it's decidedly hard to write. There is one beggar flicking stones over on the sly and knocking over our candles. The tent looks like an Irish wake. We have got five candles burning now and two chaps are playing the same tune on mouth organs – one in C, one in Bb, but my soul does not seem respond to the fervent music. How would like to write under the same circumstances?

The latest subject for discussion is”what gave the camel a hump?” They are weird creatures and not attractive at all, but are very hard working critters. They have awful tempers and can be as stubborn as mules.

What awfully disjointed epistles I have been writing lately but we can only write in any odd half hour, unlike the Peninsula where you could bury yourself in your dugout and write to your hearts content when there was “nothin' and doin'”.

Don't you think I had better ring off.

We have got a rather humpty band now. Before we went to Gallipoli we had the best band in the brigade, but now we have no solo cornets. Everything depends on them, so we can only just manage to scrap through the very simplest of marches.

Oh well, I guess I'll unroll my blankets and turn in.

My word, won't I be thankful when I am back once more in my own white little bed, but what is the use of wishing, so I'll say goodnight with love to all.

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