..if you subtract fifty percent..., you would just about get to the true thing....
Lemnos, January 2nd, 1916
Just a few lines, though there is not very much news yet, I always like to write my letters on Sundays as it helps to distinguish the day from the ordinary days of the week .Thank you very much for the two parcels which arrived safely, although not quite to time for Christmas or holiday season. All the goodies were well and truly appreciated after the hard tack we got on the Peninsula. I also got three other nice parcel one from Aunty Effie, one from Amy, and one from Etty. Included in Aunty Effie's was a bonza box of Winifred cigarettes, about the best and most expensive on the market and so I couldn't give all away could I, and she did not know whether I smoked and on no account to start if I did not, but I did give some away really.
Fancy Ernie Tucker coming over on the Ulysses. If he was camped in the forecastle he would see my name and all about me carved on one of the tables. I expect I will see him before this reaches you, for in a couple of days we will be leaving for Egypt and judging from the rumours we get here, and also principally from an article which I read in an English paper, we will not be doing any more offensive fighting and our probable destination will be the Suez Canal which we will garrison so you need have no more fears on behalf, but before we go there, we will be having a couple of months spell.
We were very lucky during our fifteen weeks stay in the trenches, for nothing extra happened the whole time – all we had to put with sniping and shelling and towards the end the only shelling we cared about was the 8-2 so can't growl.
The First Division did all the deeds and deserved the praise.
Christmas Day and the New Year passed by very quietly and next festive season I will be back home again, in fact, months before, so we are counting the months.
I was too tired to sit up New Years Eve. I was pretty cold too, so Ernie and I played a few games, and then turned in, but at midnight we were wakened by the noise of thousands of sirens and fog horns or all the shipping in Lemnos Harbour.
Rockets were also soaring up, bells clanging and every imaginable sort of row but I just turned over scratched myself and went to sleep again.
There are a lot of Turkish prisoners working close by us here, a real good stamp of men they are too, and most of them are over the average height. They are no harm as fighters but the English sentry told us that they don't like Australians but I have just seen an article in one of the papers about the heroic Australians on the torpedoed “Southland” and compared it with the loss of the 'Birkenhead” and if all the Australians doings are boomed up like that, well if you subtract fifty percent from the report, you would just about get to the true thing but I suppose I should not write like this but all our chaps are laughing at the things written about the affair for we have all heard the true yarn from the thousands who were on the boat.
I don't know when I shall be able to post this as their no facilities for the mail here, so I'll say goodbye with love to all.