The sad story of Walter's death

Sinai Desert – February 16th 1916

During the past week our mail has been coming in dribs and drabs and at last I have received your letters – five of them – not too bad for me, also two from Bill, one from Dad, one each from Olive and the only man besides dad you've got left, also one parcel from the nips. Poor kiddies, why do you let them spend all their slender means on this unworthy object? It was just lovely to get it from them also two Ages, one “Ahrgoose” and Globe for all of which I thank you very much. Bill seems to be having a good time and I think he will always have a better and more comfortable billet than the foot slogging concern. I wish I had tried for some other department.

Yesterday our camel patrol got chased by an enemy patrol and so we had to turn out last night and post extra outpost groups, and in case anything happened, two of us had to stop out with them with a stretcher and bandages (and I took fine care to see that my gun was in good going order) but nothing turned up and I spent a sleepless and very cold night out in the bottom of a shallow trench and, instead of getting a bit of a spell today, have been putting up a huge meat safe constructed of sandbags and even now before tea, I can hardly keep my eyes open. The poor old stretcher bearers get put on everything going, and I never had less time to write or time to myself since I enlisted years ago.

Has Lester got over his music fit? He is starting young. If the flageolet is there still, let him have that. It is the same fingering as the whistle and will no be as shrill. I hope he did not mean the Sinai Desert when he was playing “The Land that was Fairer than Day”, for he would be a long way out of it. If anything it is a bit worse than the other place.

Fancy Wally Dettmer and Ted Matt being named. They have left me a long way behind. I will have to look slippy.

That was a very strange thing for the mail to turn up the way it did. I wrote several letters over again but I do not suppose that will matter very much.

It was pretty rough about Ralph's cousin, Walter Hebbard, I was in Lone Pine to see him a couple of days before it happened and had a good old yarn to him and then on November 29th (I think), while the snow was on we got a terrific bombardment which later settled down on Lone Pine. At least they reserved all the big shells for them and kept us busy with the 75s and guns of like calibre. Well, he came out of that alright for I made enquiries and then, on the following morning when all was quiet, he took an observers place for a moment and was hardly there two minutes before a shell exploded in the trench. There is a bit of doubt as to what sort it was. The Corporal says it was a”shek bomb” (fair beggars they are too) but the men say it was a Hotchkiss shell. Anyhow, it blew one chaps foot off, injured another man and a small piece entered Wally's eye, no one though it was so serious and when they took him away he said “Good-bye, it might have been much worse” and he died a couple of days later. He was a fine fellow. I liked him very much. That is his photo on the trolley when we all went to the Nile Barrage. I saw quite a lot of him at Heliopolis and went out several times with him.

I posted home a couple of things from Gallipoli during the week, a few cartridges and things. I hope they get home safely. They are just are couple of odds and ends but I can get them fixed up into suitable souvenirs when I lob back.

I got my developed films back during the week and although I thought that I had schooled myself for failures, still I was very disappointed, but a few of them are not bad, and during the week I will perhaps have time to print a few.

Hoping all are well, your self in particular, I remain your loving son.

Ps I should have put S.A.G. on the parcel and it would be sure of getting home.

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