Migration, Memory & Memorial

1916 October to December

6th October 1916

To Elise from Abraham.

My dear child Elise

I received your loving letter and am very glad to hear that you are in good health and that, that odious plague, which ravaged with such a force on the New York infants, avoided you. I hope by the time my letter will reach you that it will no more exist and you as well as all children will have nothing to fear.

I was very glad to learn that you are going on in school splendidly. It makes me realy happy and I wish you much succeses in the future.

My dear daughter, just a few days ago Jack received a letter from you. I have read it with the greatest interest. I was very glad to hear how nicely you have spent your vacation and that it has done good to your health. I heartily thank your mother for the pleasure she has given to you and I hope you will know how to be gratefull to her for that by good behaviour, by good studying and by accepting all her teaching she will find nessecery for your own good.

I have read also the impression the war makes on you and I can see the kind of character you posses in worrying and simpatising with our dead and wounded. I myself have the greatest pity for the soldiers and sometimes that pity makes me suffer much when I hear of a battle which is going on. Since the big push started on the Somme from July the first and hearing always of the ferocious battles which is going on I became so nervous as to make me suffer.1 When I see a soldier, I see him already without legs, without hands. When I see a soldier, I consider him as a fowl feeded for slaughter with the only difference that we will not eat him up after he is dead.

How will I see Jack when he joins the army and I am afraid it won’t be long now as they will start to call up from October the 7th all those born in 1898. It makes me shudder already. Jack does not care much about it and he never cared. He is satisfied. He has always been an ardent conscriptionist and if it was in his power he would have passed conscription in the first months of the war. He is reading about the battles with no emotion, and instead of claiming peace at all costs he is claiming victory at all cost. It seems he is unconscious to the suffering the soldiers have got to endure.

I never read a paper for that reason and all what I know about the war is what Jack tells me. I hate the papers, because never they where in such a state of corruption and iypocricity as they are at the present time. Not one article in the papers is written in defence of humanity. On the contrairy all are crying for destruction, compleate destruction as humanity is going to commit suicide. And they are really commiting suicide all the nations of Europe. And there is no one to stop them. Where are all those leaders of the nations the ones who used to care so much for theire people before the war? Why do theire speeches inspire hate to each other and the songs of the poets only encourage to kill each other.

To what an hatful a criminal accusation all those people are directed. Will have to meet the victims after the war is over. I wonder what words will they find in self-defence before the dead? No! For the dead they will easily be able to find satisfaction, by erecting a huge monument with the inscribtion

In memory of the noble heroes fallen for their King and country in the great European war.

In addition, they will say many prayers for theire souls in all churches and sinagogues. After such a generous compensation, the dead will have nothing to say or to claim. But the living heroes who will come back in a shattered state of health and the able heroes who will be brought back without legs, without hands or with no eyes. For these people I mean, what an excuse will they find to give for their cilence. I am sure when all these cripples and somnabuls will start to walk in the streets we shall see a moving picture which will terrify by its reallity, not only the public, but the authors themselves and morally or phisically they will have to suffer for that.

But enough my dear child to sadden your young heart by my pesimistic feelings. You are too young to give a share of grievance to the worlds misery, and even as you say that this war touches you the most because your brother is got to be in, don’t take it for the worst, because after all, pushing away al pessimistic feelings…

[The rest of letter is missing]

October 1916

To Jacques from Louis G.


Dear Jack,

I am awfuly sorry I could not come to say goodbye as I could not get leave home. When I called at Sun St. I was given my uniform, kit and rifle. At 12 o’clock they gave me dinner at a public house next door, half past two we marched to Moorgate St. and took a train to Charing Cross and caught the 9.30 to Warminster which is 100 miles from London. The fellows here are mostly from London and are clerks. They tell me they are here nearly two years and have not sent one man out yet and now they cant send anybody out yet for another year because there are several hundred fellows here between the age of 18 and 18 and 6 months, and as you know cannot be sent out untill they are 19. We have nice little huts which are kept very clean. There is a coal stove which is kept burning all day. My luxurious bed which consists of three boards on trestles, a straw sack and four blankets. We have three meals a day, breakfast, dinner and tea. Supper you have to pay for yourself. There is a Y.M.C.A Hut here, a soldiers and sailors home where concerts are held every night. We are a half hours walk from the town and there is an Empire and picture palace here. There is lovely scenery here all hills, some of them are 800 ft. high. I will tell you more in my next letter when I shall know more of my routine.

From your most sincere friend,
Louis G.

Pte. G.,
2nd/7th City of Ldn. Regt.
No.9 camp, Hut 13
Sutton Very,
Warminster, Wilts.

P.S. Please give my love to uncle and aunt and give my kind regards to Harris and Simmy and Mr. & Mrs. B. And please let me know your exact address. Ask mother if she has received my clothes.

Louis G. Photgraph dated 2nd January 1915

Undated but presumed to have been written in 1916.

To Jacques from Louis G.

YMCA H.M. Forces on Active Service.

Dear Jack,

I am awfully sorry I did not write to you before as I have been so lazy. You know how I like to write! I have nothing unusual to relate except a fellow called me a dirty Jew so I punched him on the jaw and dipped his head in the fire pail. I am the strongest chap in my hut so I am well respected. I find the army very monotonous but I expect I shall soon get used to it. In our spare time we have wrestling boxing football or else we go for walks. I don’t know whether you know that I have been inoculated and it has had no effect, as it’s the second time it has been done, so my system has got used to it. I must now conclude my letter as I have nothing further to write. Give my love to uncle and aunt and give my kind regards to Mr. B. and family and also to Harris, Symmy and aunt.

From your most sincere friend,

23rd October 1916

To Abraham from Elise.

2157 Mapes Ave., New York

Dear Father,

I have just received your loving letter and I haven’t delayed a second.

It gave us a shock to read your letter though we knew Jacques would have to be a soldier.2 It is his own fault that he is a soldier because we told him to come and he refused because he had some silly notion.

We will not be able to rest until we get a letter from Jacques himself. I would love to have his picture

I would like to know how you enlisted him. Is it Jacob Abraham or Jacques B?

There are plenty of men who go to the army but do not go to the front. Instead, they get a position as secretary or such works there. Can’t Jacques do it?

I haven’t much to write especially when I am so downhearted and sad.

Your loving daughter,

30th October 1916

To Jacques from Dora. Written in English.

2157 Mapes Ave
New York

Dear son Jacques

It breaks my heart to hear that you are a soldier even though you are not to war yet. I am very sorry you didn’t take up my advice and save your life you should answer me immediately or else I will die of fear. How long can it take before you can be sent to the front. Can’t you get a pull so that they will not send you to the front?

With love and billions of kisses from Elisa and myself.

I am your loving mother,

13th November 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Dear Parents

I am expecting to be sent to Salisbury Plain. Up to now I am in London. I just had a good dinner in a restaurant (meat pie and pudding) and everything (kit and bag) has been given me.

Will write later on.

With best love,

13th November 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Dear parents,

I am writing this in the train going to Newton Abbott in Devonshire (Cornish Riviera), a long way off from London. But the weather there is quite good. We shall be in billets (loge chez l’habitant). It is a pity I am sent so far, because it will cost a lot to come on leave. But if l can, I will get a transfer nearer. Will let you know more later on.

With love, Jacques

13th November 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Dear parents,

At last, I am able to write and tell you my day’s experiences. First of all, we had to wait at the Headquarters until 10.30. Then we got into khaki and at 12 we had dinner, and a very good dinner too, at a restaurant – at 2.30 we took a train at Farringdon for Paddington and at 3.30 we started off on the Cornish Riviera express for Newton Abbott, where I am at present. Newton Abbott is a small place (15000 to 20000 inhabitants, with only 2 picture palaces – but it is only 65 miles from Torquay which is a sea port and a very important town. The only trouble is that I am very far from London. We got to Newton Abbott at 7.30. The train we took is a through train, very fast and non-stop from London to Exeter 164 miles. Newton Abbott is 186 miles from London. When we got here there was a big fog and nothing ready. So we were put into billets and will be for a very long time. They put 2 soldiers in each private house and I can assure you that it is very comfortable. We have a good supper, a clean room with bed and mattress to sleep on. And I have received orders to report at a certain place tomorrow morning, 11.30. Seems almost too good to last, doesn’t it? The weather is very warm here, because of the sea and the air is good. Of course I cannot judge yet, but if it doesn’t suit me, I will apply for a transfer. If you post letters in the evening I can get them here next day. I will write you further when I know more and let you know what I want.

I am not writing to anybody else but you. So please make excuses for me to Uncle and Harris. Give my best regards to all of them. Thank Harris for what he has done for me. I had no time to thank him properly yesterday evening. Do not be downhearted. I am not miserable here up to now.

With best Love,

Pte. B. 8051
3/6 City of London Regt.3
Newton Abbott, (Devon)

15th November 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Pte B. 8051
C/0 Mrs. Sims
26 Netley Road,
Newton Abbott,

Dear parents,

I am in good health, and hope you are the same.

Let me know at once how you are going on especially mother’s health and grandmother’s. The air is very bracing and makes you very hungry. We had to turn up on parade at 8 o/c this morning and we had a route march with the band. We did about 8 miles to the sea and back. The scenery is lovely – Hills, fields, rivers and the sea. The weather is so warm that all the trees have got leaves and there are still fruits left on the trees. In the afternoon after 1½ hours for dinner we did some drilling and finished at 3.45. Free for the night until 9.10 o/c when we have to fall in file at a certain place and answer to our names. The food my landlady prepared is excellent and I could not wish for better. We have cider for drink. From 4 till 9 one is free to do what one likes. But the discipline is very stringent. It is always more stringent with troops in billets than with troops in camp. For instance, no one has the right to be out of doors after 9.45. p.m. or he would be arrested by the police.

Write me as often as possible do not be downhearted. I may be back home in a short time – no one can tell. Remember what I told you yesterday about the clothes and the allowance. If you don’t get any answer you must call there.

Give my best regards to all

With best love from your loving son,

P.S. Please let me know at once when mother does go in hospital. I shall be glad to know at once. If you can send me some old magazines to read at home and save me the trouble of going to the library.


Tavy Cleave, Dartmore, not far from where Jacques was stationed.

16th November 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Dear parents,

I just received your letter4 and am glad to hear you are both in good health. I am alright myself and the good air, exercise and food is doing me great good.

When you write a letter next time, do not send it to my billet address but send it through the regiment, as under:

Pte B. 8051, Coy. B
62 City of London Regt.
Newton Abbott

This is because of a new order given yesterday. Our letters are not opened or censored. So do not be afraid to write what you like. I will enquire about the allowance and let you know. You may go to Mrs. S. it would be better. I hope you have my clothes in good state. I do not see anymore to write. Tell me how you all are going on. Let me know what Debby (Mrs. S.’s friend) had.

Give my best regards to all

With best love and kisses,

Your loving son,

A bientot!

17th November 1916

To Abraham from Jacques.

Dear Father,

I just received your letter and am glad to hear you and mother are alright. I wrote you yesterday about our training, or rather, about the hours of training. The training itself is nothing. We drill exactly as we used to at school, only it is sharper. We form fours turn about and do Swedish drill. 5

We have had today our pack to put on our back, given us. It is not heavy at all. We only carry in it our overcoat. The training has done me real good but of course it makes you tired for the time being. Still that’s nothing when you have got plenty of time to sleep. The pimples of my face are nearly all gone. I have written yesterday to America but I gave them my address. I am sorry but that was before I got your letter I suppose it will be alright.

I have been paid today. I got 2/6 my first wages. I hope I shan’t have too many to get. When you send the magazines send them straight to my billets. You may also send letters straight here. In this case, don’t mention the regiment and my number 8051 in the address. I will write tomorrow to Uncle Davis. Have you got any news from Louis? I would like to know how he is going on.

I am quite comfortable here and enjoy myself as if I was having holidays, so don’t worry.

Let me know as often as you can how you are going on and what you are doing, how you are living, how work is, etc. I hope you will send me a long letter on Sunday.

With best regards to everybody and best love both to you, mother and grandmother. Hoping all three are in best health.

Your loving son,

19th November 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Dear parents,

I received yesterday Harris’s cigarettes and wrote to thank him. It is very good of him to have sent them and I am very grateful. Yesterday afternoon and today, Sunday, we are free. So I think I will go to Torquay to see the sea this afternoon. The country round here is very pretty and we all take walks when we are off duty. The weather is much warmer today. But the last few days it was rather cold. I see in the papers that there was a good fog last Monday in London and the weather is cold there. We are better off here. The houses we are billeted in are like those near the Scrubs,6 with garden in front and back. The food is very good and varied. I had yesterday at dinner, chicken, potatoes, fruit and pudding together with cider.

I may be able to get some leave for Christmas but am not quite sure. In any case I will let you know.

Address all letters to my billet address, but don’t mention my regimental number or the name of the regiment, like this:

Pte. B.,
c/o Mrs. Syms,
26 Netley Road,
Newton Abbott,

I have no news to write. I am in excellent health and hope you are all the same. I hope grandmother is not affected so much with her cough this winter. I suppose you are working and busy enough. Let me know at once when mother goes in the hospital.

With best regards to everybody and love and kisses to all three.

From your loving son,

21st November 1916

To Abraham from Jacques.

Dear father,

I have just received a letter from uncle, telling me that I have a little brother. Accept my congratulation and best wishes for mother and for him. I hope I shall be able to see them soon.

Write me at once and tell me how they are, mother and baby.

With best wishes of good luck,

21st November 1916

To Jane and Davis G from Jacques.

Dear Uncle and Aunt,

I have just received your letter and was pleased to hear that I have a little brother. It is so far the only news I have of it. I have had no letter from home for a few days and therefore your letter is twice welcome. I hope mother is alright and the baby and father. I hope yourself and family are in good health and busy.

As very likely father lets you read my letters, you will hear from him how I live, in today’s letter. It is much better than I expected and I only hope it will last. I am living as comfortably as I used to at home.

I am sorry to hear Louis got his wrist and ankle sprained. How did he manage it? You may trust me for not doing such a trick, unless necessarily. If Louis wanted to I daresay he could get transferred to my regiment. As things are at present, he would not be sorry for it. Of course, I do not know how we shall be later on. But for the present I like it.

Ask father to let you read the letter I am sending him today. I hope he is not downhearted over my going. Tell him to make the best of it, to be glad that it is not worst and hope for the best.

The training is very light and has done me good. I will have my photo taken and send you one and Annie and Joe another one.

With best love and regards to everybody and hoping you are all in good health.

Your nephew,
Jack B.

C/o Mrs. S.,
26 Netley Road,
Newton Abbott,

22nd November 1916

To Abraham from Jacques.

Dear father,

I have just received your letter of yesterday. I was not aware you sent the magazines as I have not got them yet.

I did not know either that Mother had gone into the Hospital and had got a son. Let me know at once how both are going on. I hope earnestly that they are doing well. I am glad to hear you work now at the “Globe Wernicke” 7. Very likely the wages are higher. But how do you manage to live on 27/-8 a week? Write more fully about what you are all doing. I am longing to know.

I was inoculated 9 yesterday and am free for 3 days. It makes you a bit stiff in the back but it is not as bad as I thought. Do not expect a letter from me every day, because I may not be able to write every day. I am getting on alright. The weather is warm and lovely; sun is shining. When you go up any hill you can see the sea, which is 6 miles away. But we cannot go there without a permit. I shall try and get one if I can and run down there. I am enjoying myself fine, I can assure you.

I had a letter from Louis, he is alright he says. They had 6 inches of snow down there, while we had none. I wrote to Dora last Friday. Do not worry, it will be alright. The letters are opened by the General Censor only and our regiment has nothing to do with it. To what address did you send the letter and the magazines to. Let me know.

I hope you and grandmother are alright and taking care of yourself. I expect I will send you a photo next week. Do not send any more magazines, as I have plenty to read. Do not send any stamps. I have enough money left. Tell Harris I am enjoying his cigarettes.

I am sharing a front room with another soldier and we have a chest of drawers to put our things in and a clean comfortable bed to sleep on. Our room is nicely furnished with rugs and everything. I am very pleased about it.

Give my best regards to Mr. & Mrs. S. and family. I have no time to write to Harris now, but give him my best love and regards and ask him to write to me. I hope they are all alright.

With fondest love to both of you,

Your loving son

Kiss Pauli for me.

22nd November 1916

To Rachel from Jacques.

Dear Mother,

I have just heard that you have had a baby son and hasten to send you my best wishes of prompt recovery for you and good health and luck for my little brother.

I hope I shall be soon able to see you both, and hope that both of you are going on alright as I am at present.

I will send you a photo of myself next week if I can.

With best wishes and congratulations.

With love and kisses from your loving son.

Pte B.
c/o Mrs Syms
26 Netley Road
Newton Abbott

24th November 1916

To Abraham from Jacques.

Dear Father

I just received your letter and I am glad to learn everything is going on alright.

About the letter and the magazines there was some difficulty but I shall get them tomorrow. They got mislaid.

You seem to have a good job at the Globe Wernicke – I expect you like it better than pressing – Besides it is near home and you have no fares to pay.

I am glad to hear mother and baby are aright. How does the baby look like? Does he look healthy?

I am glad Annie has been so good to you. It will certainly save you something won’t it? I got a letter from Louis today. He does not seem to like it at all, and is very pessimist. He says he walks knee deep in mud etc. Of course his training is harding because he is in a different regiment. I hope he will be alright. But he ought to cheer up and not be so gloomy. What’s the use of grumbling for nothing. I daresay he is really in a bad condition. From what I heard from our soldiers who came from Salisbury Plain, it is really bad up there. That’s why we were moved here. Nobody could stick it. But he is a fool in writing such letters.

You seem to have forgotten one page in your letter so that I can’t make it out.

You don’t understand how I can manage about money. Well, it is simple, first of all, I have everything I want in the way of food and lodging. Then I get 3/6 a week plus 3d a day in a lump the last Friday of the month for living in billets. For instance, today I got 5/9, next week and for 3 consecutively I shall get 3/6, then the last Friday in December I shall have, if we are still in billets by then, 3/6 plus 7/6 (30 days at 3d each). I hope you see what I mean. My expenses are very little since I have cigarettes sent free. I spend about 2d a day for beer, 7d a week for empire and 3d for papers. That’s all, of course, except the stamps. You see I don’t spend much. Let me know about the allowance when you know about it.

I am in good health. I got over inoculation alright. It is not very painful and as you have nothing to do it is worth it.

We shall have to have another dose next week and then it will be finished.

I hope you are able to manage alright about money. I have got plenty of it. I will have my photo taken next week and send you one.

With best regards to everybody and with best wishes of good health and luck to you, mother, baby and grandmother.

With fondest love and kisses,

Your loving son,

PS. Kiss my little brother for me. Excuse me to Harris but I am too busy to write to him today. Kiss Pauli for me.


27th November 1916

To Abraham from Jacques.

Dear Father,

I have just received your letter and am glad to hear that all of you are alright. I hope baby will soon be strong enough for circumcision10 but they shouldn’t have vaccinated him so soon. I hope he will get over it alright.

Louis has been lucky to get leave. I hope I shall soon get leave myself. I will ask you soon to write a letter, which I will send you to the commanding officer here. It will help me a lot. But not just yet though.

As I told you there is nothing I want now, expect the blades. I have everything I want. I will let you know if I require anything.

I have no news to write now so will conclude with best wishes of good health, as I am at present.

With best love to mother, baby, grandmother and yourself.

Your loving son,

November 1916

To Abraham from Jacques

Don’t think I am short of money. I have really plenty left, and when my leave comes, I shall be able to pay for my fares myself. You see, the good of billets is that not only you have no extra expenses (food or supper) you also get 3d more a day – if you like you can get me at Boot’s the Chemists, in Portobello Road, 6 blades for my razor. It will cost 8d, I think. Say it is for a 3/11 safety razor bought at their place. I don’t want them just yet. Any time before Christmas will do.

The letter I sent to Dora has been stopped by the Censor and returned (not opened) to me. The address of my regiment (which was on the envelope) must not be given. So that settles it. you have no more to worry about. I will send you a letter without my address and you will forward it to her. There will be consequently be nothing more to fear on the ground about the allowance. I hope you are working alright, and that you are not needing the allowance overmuch. If you do keep on worrying them. that’s the only way.

If you can’t get any thing nice for baby with 5/- (What is his name you never told me) keep the money and next week I will send you more.

Don’t forget to answer at once. Let me know my little brother’s name, how he and all are going on. How trade is, etc.

You can write a good letter when you want to and you must not be so lazy as all that. You must not be lonely and sad, but try and enjoy yourself. I expect the baby will, soon. We shan’t be separated for ever. Peace will come one day. Everything has its day, even Francis Joseph’s 11 death. He is dead at last. I didn’t think he would die so young, really. I thought he would live over the war he had created.

I am going to write to Louis today – and after, as the weather is so beautiful, go out for a stroll (as the people here say).

Give my best love and regards to Aunty Uncle and family, and kiss Annie’s baby for me. Give my best regards to Mr S., Mrs S. and family. I hope they are getting on alright and busy.

With best love and many kisses and with best wishes of health luck and prosperity for my little brother.

I am you loving son, Jacques

PS. I am glad to hear Grandmother is in good health. She has really got to be, now that she has a new grandchild.

27th November 1916

To Jacques from Elise.

2157 Mapes Ave,
New York,

Dear loving brother Jacques,

We weren’t surprised to hear that you were a soldier we were expecting it all along but still it is a sad thing. Dear Jacques I have some money saved. Do you need it? If you do I will send it to you if you will tell me how to send it Where are you? How long will they train you before they send you to the front?

Please do not forget to write to us often. We are all broken hearted but mother suffers the most. We are all hoping that you will get out safe and sound. Please send me your picture and we will send you ours. How is papa? Poor man he must be all broken hearted. How I wish that this crazy war stopped. We are all in good health. There isn’t much to write.

With best love and millions of kisses from mother and myself,

I am, your loving sister, Elisa

27th November 1916

To Abraham from Elise.

Dear Loving Father,

You must please excuse me for writing such a bad and foolish letter the last time.12 I did not mean to write it. I had just finished reading Jacques letter and was so excited that I didn’t know what I was writing. I sympathise with you and it was a great misfortune to have this happen in our family. It must be very hard for you because you see these things every day. But still keep your courage and hope for the best. Please make Jacques accept my money. I have some money saved and I want to send it to him because I am sure he shall need it.

There isn’t much to write. Things are always the same. Please answer as soon as possible and send me your picture I will try to send mine.

With love and many many millions of kisses,

I am, your loving daughter,

December 1916

To Elise from Abraham 20

My dear child Elisa

I received your letter and am glad to hear about your health.

Now I must tell you that what we expected arrived. Jacques is a soldier now. He joined the army – 10th Nov, so he’s been in about a month in the army. Up to the present he is all right over there as you will see of some of his letters I am sending you. He is in a good regiment and in a good place where rich people go for holydays in winter because it is warm and healthy whether over there. I must not tell you where he is, the sensor will not let it pass. He has sent you a letter with his adress and the letter was returned to him because of the adress He is lodged in a private house and has private food. He is more than satisfied, he says, Don’t worry about him – he is lucky – and we must hope that his luck will not abandon him till he comes home. He will have to send you letters first to my adress and I will send it to you and so return. He will have his photo taken presently and will send you one.

Pleas send me a letter and tell me all about you.

With fondest love and many kisses from your loving father
Abraham B.

1st December 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Dear parents.

I received your letter and am glad to hear that mother and baby have returned from the hospital. I hope baby will get over his circumcision alright. I have little prospect of getting leave next week because one has to be 4 weeks in the army before obtaining any. But still, I will try. If you like write a letter to my Commanding Officer. Write something like this:

The Commanding Officer,
3/6 City Of London (Res) Regt.
Newton Abbott,

Sir, On the occasion of my newly born son’s baptism, which will take place next Sunday can you grant leave for the next weekend to my son Pte. B.., 8051, B. Coy, to enable him to be present at this ceremony.

I hope you will be able to do so.

I am, Sir, yours most respectfully


Or words to this effect. Write a short letter and send it as soon as you can. It may have some effect.

When you send the blades, will you also send me my electric lamp? I will get a battery here. Do not get one for me. An electric lamp is very useful here, because the country roads are very dark and it is dangerous to go for a walk in the dark.

I am in good health and hope you are all the same. I have been inoculated for the second time today, but am scarcely feeling anything. We have 3 days free again. The training is very slow. We only work about 6 hours a day. It is slow because we have plenty of time before us, because we cannot be sent out until we are 19 and that wont be for another 7 months in my case.

It is not worth while sending any cigarettes or pipe You know I am not a great smoker and if I want a smoke I can always buy a packet of cigarettes.

Write me often and tell me what you are doing, how you are all going on, if you are busy. Write without fail on Sunday. I am glad to hear baby asked you to send me his love. I only hope he does not ask you to do it in the middle of the night. How is he? Is he quiet at night? Have you heard anything about the allowance yet?

If you haven’t and are short of money or anyhow, you can write to the local war Pensions Committee, Town Hall, Kensington, and explain that you were dependent on me and that I have made an allowance, but you have received nothing and ask them to let you have something on account, as you are dependent on it. This will wake them up. You are perfectly entitled to an allowance, and you must see that you get. When you write, write so that mother is supposed to do it, not you, and sign for her.

I have grown haIf an inch since I joined. I will send you some photos if I cannot get any leave next week. Do not forget to write addressing it, Commanding Officer, 3/6 (Res) City of London Regt. Newton Abbott, Devonshire.

If I get leave I will have my photo taken in London. I had a letter from Louis . He seems glad to have had leave. Done him a world of good, he says. I wish I could get some. The place here is alright. We have concerts, places of entertainment and we have parties at our landlady’s, playing piano or phonograph. I am much better off than Louis in this respect. But of course, I don’t expect it will ever last. I shall have to rough it one day. Up to now, I am more than satisfied.

I have no news to write. Give my best regards to Mr. & Mrs. S. and family and to Harris, Simmy, and Perel and family. Kiss Pauli and Leon many times for me. I have just had a letter from Annie but I am too lazy to answer.

Give them my best love and apologise for me.

With fondest love and kisses to everyone of you,

Your loving son,

© IWM Art.IWM PST 5160 For more information please see Imperial War Museum Website

2nd December 1916

To Davis G from Jack.

Dear Uncle,

I received your letter yesterday and was much pleased to hear that you are all alright. I had a letter from Louis on Thursday. He seems to have greatly enjoyed his leave. He says it did him as good as a week at the seaside. I hope to get some leave soon myself. In our regiment, weekend leave is from 4.15 on Friday afternoon till the 4.55 train from Paddington on Sunday. About 1 day and a half I think we have to pay 8/6 fares! It would be worth it.

Allow me to thank you all, you, auntie and Annie for the interest you have taken to mother and my little brother. I am very grateful for it to you.

I hope you are all as busy as can be. I am in very good health. The weather is beautiful. One would never think it is December round here. The trees have got leaves. The sun is shining and makes you think of early September.

As you may have read in the letter I wrote to father, the place we are in is not very big. About 20,000 people. We live in private houses, 2 in each house. The army pays our landlady about 20/- a week for board, lodgings and the landlady gives us the best bedroom, cooks the food, etc. We have to turn up on the company parade ground at 8 o/c and then we are free again at 12.30. We go home, have dinner, return at 2 o/c work till 4.30 and are free again. Very easy life, I call it. I am quite satisfied with it, and only wish it will last. The country is beautiful. When we go up hill, we can see the sea, 6 miles away. We walk sometimes towards it. There are enough places of entertainment to please 6 regiments let alone one. The training is slow because we have plenty of time before us. But those of us who joined the same day as I did, and will be 19 or more by Xmas are trained as fast as can go and will be over the water by New Year.

But I have nothing to worry about except leave.

Your affectionate nephew,

With best love to all.

4th December 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Dear father and mother,

I am glad to hear that you are all in good health. I am also in perfect good health. I was inoculated on Friday, but have got over it very well. It is not very painful and you are free for 2 days. It is almost worth it. I was vaccinated yesterday but it does not seem to work on me up to now. I should be surprised if it did. I think I am vaccine proof. I was vaccinated twelve times at school and it never worked once.

But I think you were wrong to let Leon be vaccinated so soon. You have 6 months time to do it. Let me know more about him. I hope he is getting on fine. It is no need to hurry the circumcision if he is not quite strong enough for it. It would be harmful to him. Better wait. There is plenty of time for that. But when you know when it is going to be, write at once to the Commanding Officer, and ask for leave for a certain date. It is more than likely I shall not (nor anybody else) get leave for a long time. This government have made a new order, which you can have seen in the Daily Chronicle, suspending all leave, including weekend and Xmas leaves. So my only chance is the letter you will write. Ask for instance leave from Friday evening till Monday afternoon or even from Sat. morn. till Monday aft. I may not get it but it is better to try.

You will hear soon from the Allowance, I believe. The most you will get is 16/- and you must claim – insist upon that. You will get my half pay when you get the allowance, it will be included – for instance, the allowance is 9/- the half pay, 3/6 and the London extra all 3/6 making 16/­ altogether.

I have not received the blades and the elect. lamp. We are allowed to use it. The lights are the same as in London except they are lowered 2 hours after sunset only.13

Write me about this aeroplane dropping bombs. Did you see it? 14

I am glad you earn more at your new job. If you are sorry not to work till 8 o/c you can start finishing the glass. It will be ready then for when I come back. I have no more news to write and I am also too lazy – I will write to Lizza and Dora later on this week, for sure.

Let me know how all is getting on. I hope baby is quiet enough. Kiss him many times for me.

With best regards to everybody and fondest love to mother, you baby and grandmother.

Your loving son,

December 1916

To Jacques from Louis G.

Dear Jack

I have just received your letter so I hasten to reply. I am awfully sorry you have been innoculated, but I don’t think you will feel much of the first dose. You tell me you have easy hours, and slow training. You will get that for the first two or three weeks only. But after they have injected their dirty muck into you, they will take you in hand propperly. You can take it from me, you wont get any leave Christmas, as a matter of fact you wont be able to go home, untill you have completed your training which will be about April. I should advise you to keep your wits about you I mean in trying to get your ticket. You want to keep on feinting on parade put your finger down your throat after meals and bring it all up. as you are in town, you can buy things that will make you feverish, I mean anything that does not agree with you. Say little and keep your ears open. You could do all these things more easily than I because you look delicate. What do you think of your little brother. I am glad tunty is well. Do you hear from Eliza. The weather has turned normal again and we have had some rain and we have to walk knee deep in mud. I must conclude my letter as I have got to go to bed.

From your sincere friend

P.S. I am looking forward to your photograph. I wish to remind you that my number is 7412, not 6712. Your letter may get lost if you do it again.

5th December 1916

To Jacques’ Commanding Officer from Abraham.

The Commanding Officer,
3/6 City of London (Res) Regiment


On the occasion of my new born son, of which baptism will take place on Sunday next, I take the liberty of asking you will you be so kind as to grant leave for my son Pte. B. 8051 B. Coy for the next weekend to enable him to be present at this ceremony?

I hope Sir in a reponse favorable.

12th December 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jack.

Dear parents,

I am in good health and hope you are all the same. I hope baby has got over the circumcision by now. Let me know how he is getting on. Don’t keep me waiting for a letter. The parcel has not turned up.

You must enquire at the P. Office where you posted. There is a chance of finding it, because more than likely it is only mislaid.

I got home at 9 o/c last Sunday after a lovely journey. I greatly enjoyed my holiday and I am glad you applied for it. We shall try again in a couple of weeks. There may be another chance then.

I had a letter from Louis yesterday. He writes he went to Bath and may soon be going to Bristol. He is very much advanced with his training. He expects to go over in January or February.

I don’t think there is any chance of leave for Xmas, for anybody this year. But the order may be changed. If so, I will ask for leave.

We started eating Army food yesterday. It is not as good as having in billets. You have to turn up at 7.15 for breakfast (tea, bread, butter or bacon or herring) and for dinner there is meat, potatoes and beans or peas and pudding. There is enough to eat and it is not badly cooked. For tea we get bread, butter, jam and tea. We have no supper. We have our food in a big market. There are long tables (25 at one table) and we are about 1000 having our meals at the same time. You ought to hear the noise 1000 men can make if they want to. We have got to bring our knife, fork and spoon with us. The army food is fairly good quality. There is not too much of it, there could be more bread, especially, but there is not much to grumble about.

Let me know if you hear any more from the Allowance people. If you haven’t heard any more I shall write you a letter to send to them.

I have very little news to write so wont write another letter before Friday. I will send you a P. Card before then. I enclose a Post Card, showing you some views around here. It is very pretty.

Give my best regards to Mr. & Mrs. S. and family. I am going to send them a Post Card, too.

Give my best love to uncle and auntie and family and Harris and Simmy, etc.

With fondest love and many kisses,

Your loving son,

A bientôt

12th December 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jack

Dear Parents

This P.C. shows something of the views we get round here. the scenery is lovely – fields, rivers, rocks, & the sea. I had a lovely ride coming back from London, right along the sea for 20 minutes. I got here at 9 o/c – Very few of us got leave. I am one of the lucky ones.

I enjoyed greatly my holiday.

With best love,


Undated but probably 1916

It is unclear to whom this was sent but it was written on Rachel's behalf.


I am very sorry to trouble you but I am obliged to you as my houseband does not earn sufficient to meet the high cost of living fuel and lighting, and since my son Rifleman J. B. 8051 left us on which help we were much dependent.

13th December 1916

To Dora from Abraham. Written in English.


I received the letter you sent to Jacques but he has gone already. I have sent it to Jacques and he answered you but the letter came back to him because he wrote his address to you and he must not do it.

I have read the letter you have sent him and I want to say a few words about it or rather about the repeated reproach you make why he did not take your advice to come to America.

Of course if he would be in America he would not have been a soldier now but was he more happy. Was his life more safe as it is now? That is still an answer which we cannot give with much certitude. Let us suppose he listened to your advice and he went there. But to go there he had to go by ship and in war time ships are as dangerous for civilians as the battlefield for soldiers. What would become of your advice if he would for instance go by the Lusitania 15 (and I am sure you would advise him to go by that ship) by the Arabia 16 or by any other big liner which lies now on the bottom of the sea. Would you say your advice was good? Wouldn’t you have remorse all your life why you have advise him to go. In that case you see his life was not more safe than being in the army. But let us suppose he listened to your advice and he went to America. He went by a ship which brought him safely. Over there would he be more happy as he is now? Again I must say we can’t be sure of it and that is the reason why I never advise him to go there because I did not see his happiness in it. It is not because I did not want to lose a few shillings every week that he brings me in as you reproach me. It was because I was afraid he would have not much pleasure. I did not look after my interests in that case and it will be in your interest not his own. If he had been a workman it would be quite different. He could have found a job in America just as he could find a job in London. He could have been independent of you in case of necessity but being a clerk and knowing how difficult it is to find a place in this line, especially in a new country, surely he would have to undergo all the miseries, disappointments and reproaches that every greener has got to undergo, especially when he cannot get so quickly a suitable position. In such a case, may he be the cleverest person, the most intelligent but in the eyes to whom he is dependent may he be the most friendly to him he looks always as a fool, as a lazy and as a good for nothing. That is the reason why I did not advise him to go there. But do not misunderstand me. When I say I did not advise him it does not mean I deterred him. I would never try to keep him back of it if he would like to go himself, but he did not want it for that reason and for some other reason which is not my business to speak about it. You can see for my part I have a clear conscience against him and he will never have to reproach me in infidelity to him.

Elisa’s father, Abram

14th December 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Dear parents,

I cannot understand why I have not had a letter from you since last week. Where had you sent them to? Write on the envelope next time Mr. B. instead of Pte B. and don’t mention my number or the regiment. Write at once. I am longing to know how everyone is getting on, how Leon is, how mother is. Do not keep me waiting.

I will try and get leave for Xmas but I do not think I have much chance. I will let you know what to do later on. It would be nice if I could get home for Xmas, and find Louis there too. Still, if I don’t get leave for Xmas, I have no doubt I will get some soon after.
I had a lovely holiday. The party was very nice. I hope baby is quite well by now and getting on fine. All our family this time have been nice to us really. It is a pity I had to go away so early on Sunday. But I suppose you all managed alright without me. Ada was a very beautiful partner and I suppose Leon will be proud later on of such a godmother. Uncle and Joe were also very good to me. Will you give them my best thanks?

I am in very good health now. The weather is very cold now, freezing all day long. But we manage to keep ourselves warm very well, though. We have more food now, but no supper.

I hope you are all in good health, notwithstanding the cold and influenza. Our training is going very slow. We have had no rifles yet and we won’t have none for some time. I am keeping an eye on every possibility of getting my discharge and will write more about this later on, unless I get leave. I think I have some chance of getting discharged on medical grounds, later on, if I keep awake. But you will hear more about this in due time. Do not worry about me, I am alright and in the best of health.

I am too lazy and I want to go out for a walk in town so I will write you more news tomorrow.

Give my best regards to Mrs. & Mr. S. and family, to Harris, Simmy, Aunt Perel and the children, with kisses to all of them.

With fondest love to you all and many kisses for mother, yourself, grandmother and Leon. Your loving son,

Give my best love to Uncle and auntie and Annie, Joe, Ada and Jack

P.S. You can send me some stamps if you like

15th December 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Dear parents,

I am still without any news from you. What is the matter? I really cannot understand why you cannot manage to write to me a few words. If you have written me, and I do not get the letters, send me a registered letter, to this address: Rfn. B. 8051, 3/6 City of London Regt. B coy. Newton Abbot, Devonshire.

It will only cost 2d more, and I will be sure of getting it. Answer at once. If you go to Paddington Station PO and post your letter before 8 o/c p.m. I can get it here first post Sunday morning. I hope everybody is in good health, and that nothing is amiss. Let me know how Leon is.

I am in good health myself and have nothing to grumble about. The food is alright now. The training is still proceeding slowly, very slowly indeed, but I do not mind that at all.

We have our food in a big market, 850 men at the same time – and I may tell you it is a sight to see 850 men eating together. There is plenty of waste, and all the poor in the town flock to the doors to have the leavings.

I will try and get leave for Xmas, but I don’t stand much chance of getting any. Will you write the following letter or about the same idea.

The Commanding Officer,
3/.6 (Res) City of London Regt. Newton Abbott,



Can you grant my son, Rfn. B., 8051 B company, 3/6 City of London Regt., a few days leave for Xmas for the purpose of seeing his uncle, just come to London on leave from the French front and whom he has not seen for nearly 3 years.

There will be a big gathering at Christmas at our home of all members of our family on military service and we should all be very sorry if my son was absent.

We all hope, Sir, that you will grant us this favour and thank you in anticipation. I am, Sir, yours most respectfully,


On the envelope…The Commanding Officer, 3/6 City Of London Regiment, Newton Abbot (Devonshire)

Post this letter on Sunday, not before but not later. It may bring some result. Do not forget to write and also to write to me – I am anxious for news.

I have very little news to write. If I see you at Xmas I will tell you more. If not, I will have my photo taken. Do not forget to enquire about the parcels that I have not received. If you could manage to send me some stamps and also a few shillings, I should be glad. I am running short of money and if you send me a few shillings, they will come in handy, either in London or here for Xmas. Send the next letter to me registered. It will be safer.

Of course we may have peace or an armistice for Christmas, but I do not think Lloyd George 17 or Briand 18 will have the sense or humanity to accept Germany’s offer. Everyone was excited here about it and the soldiers are the most “peace-party” of all. If there was elections, 90% of the army would vote for peace, I believe. Did the news of Germany’s offer make much fuss in London? 19

I am much too lazy to write any more. The weather is beautiful, but terribly cold. How is it in London? I want to go out. The shops are bright and the streets are full of people, especially girls, who are very fond of soldiers.

Give my best regards to everybody. You know the list, don’t you? Kiss Pauli for me. I hope she will recognise me next time she sees me.

With fondest love and many kisses to mother, yourself, Leon (who is progressing alright, I hope) and grandmother.

Your loving son,

16th December 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques.

Dear parents,

At last I have got a letter from you. I was really relieved to read that all’s well at home. I was beginning to worry. I have written you a few letters this week. Especially one, asking you to write to my commanding officer, asking him leave for Xmas. I stand some chance of getting it. Do not fail to write. I also asked you to send me a few shillings. But don’t send if you are short because I shall try and manage with what I have already got.

Let me know when you hear any more about the lost parcel. I am glad too that you got some kind of answer from the War Office. Write back to them acknowledging receipt and asking them to hurry with the allowance, as you are very short of money.  Write on top of the letter.  “Without prejudice”

If I get leave for Xmas, it will be alright. If l don’t, I shall go to Torquay and spend 2 days there. We shall have a very fine dinner for Xmas here, given by the town.

I am in very good health and hope you are all the same. I hope you and mother and baby are getting on well. Write me a long letter on Sunday. I quite enjoyed myself last weekend and I wish I could get leave for Xmas.

How is the weather in London? It is very cold her, although the sun is shining, it is freezing all day. We keep indoors all day and have lectures on military matters, to pass the time away. We shall have at least 9 months training, so our officer told us, and he said the war will very likely be over by then. I would not be surprised if there was an armistice made for Xmas and negotiations started by New Year. They all want peace, but are afraid of each other. We shall know next week, very likely.

I am returning Liza’s letter and will forward 2 to send to America. I shall not accept any money from them. I do not think it would be right to contract any money obligations and besides, they may not be able to afford it.

I behave myself alright in the Army. I have bad no punishment yet. It is useless to go against military discipline. You only suffer and do not benefit at all. The best way is to comply with orders. It gives you a better name and you have a better chance for leave or a favour.

To get your discharge you must proceed differently. I will tell you more about it in London, next week I hope.

As I shan’t know until the last hour if I have got leave, you must not expect me or wait for me. If I get leave I may come home any time, from Thursday morning to 5 o/c in the morning on Saturday .

I hope you will write to me a long letter on Sunday. I should like to know how everyone and everything is going on, especially Leon.

I have very very little news to write about myself. I am passing the time away as agreeably as I can and it is very easy in this town. The town is giving concerts for us. The people are very fond of soldiers and opening new recreation rooms. There is nothing to complain about in this respect. We have plenty of food, and good food, too, now. This regiment enjoys the reputation of being of the best for food, so I expect we shall be alright soon.

We have very little training. We go sometimes on route marches with the band playing and it is very nice, because we do not carry any pack or rifle.

Give my best regards to everybody. With fondest love and many kisses to all,

Your loving son,


A bientot.

PS I will write a few letters tomorrow. 2 for America, and one for Herman in Paris. It will please him. Do you think I ought to write to Mme. Bernard?



18th December 1916

To Abraham from Jacques.

Dear father,

I have received your letter of Saturday. I have got now the letters you sent me last week. I have also got Lisa’s letter and have returned it to you. I have written you 1 letter on Saturday and one on Sunday. I suppose they have reached you by now. I am sorry you think the excuse for the leave is bad I think it is a good excuse. Besides, they won’t make any enquiries, don’t be afraid of that. But if you can think of a better excuse write it. The only thing is you must write at once or it will be too late.

You wonder I am short of money. I must have some money for the fares in case I get leave. I also want some extra pocket money. I also had to pay for my suppers. I should be glad if you could send me 3/6 or 4/-. If I don’t get leave I shall not want them, and will send the money back. If I do get leave it will come handy in London.

Do not forget to write to my Comm. officer. Give him any excuse you like, mine or yours. I am in good health and hope you are all the same. I am glad baby is getting on well.

The weather is still very cold here. The quality of the food is very much improved but we are shortly to have our food in our billets again I hear.

I have no news to write at present. Give my best regards to everybody.

With best love and kisses to all four of you.

Your loving son,

20 December 1916, New York.

To Rachel and Abraham from Isidore Margulies. Written in Yiddish.

Dearly beloved Sister and also my dear brother-in-law

I and my dear wife wish you Mazzeltov, and we wish you health, so that you should be able to bring up your child. We also send your new son a present of 5 dollars, and we also wish that you will receive a telegram as soon as possible, saying that peace has been concluded and your dear son is well and will be coming home.

From Margulies

21st December 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques

Dear parents,

I have not had any letter from you for 2 days. First of all, let me tell you the rather disagreeable news that I shall not have my leave for Xmas. It is only granted to trained men, and you know that I am far from being trained. But I hope earnestly to get leave sometimes in January. We shall think of something to do before then. The idea of an engagement is not bad, and we can work up it.

As I am not coming do not send any money. But if you have any cakes mother makes, send me some if you can. Send me also some toffees, if you please. If you think of something good and not expensive you can send it me. But you know what I mean, something ‘Yiddish’ that I could not get here.

Address the parcel to also all letters and parcels from today onwards. We have had strict instructions.

Rfn. B. 8051
B Coy
3/6 City of London Regt.
Newton Abbot

Do not be sorry because I cannot come. I am sure I shall get a few (3 or 4) days off in a few weeks’ time. It is only a postponement.

I hope everybody is alright at home, that work is plentiful and that you don’t find things hard. I am glad to read that baby and mother are well. Let me know a lot about the local happening. I like to be ‘au courant‘. Our training is proceeding as slowly as before. We have no rifles yet, and that’s a good sign.

Lloyd George having rejected Peace, it means business this time. The talk of mobilising the nation will surely be accomplished. He seems the man for it. But I am sure they could have peace on easy terms if they had really the want of peace in their minds. But I would not be surprised if there is a change of opinion in the country soon, all the same.

The weather is beautiful and warm again now. It broke out the night before last and yesterday was the worst day I can remember. It started pouring then the rain freezed and it was utterly impossible to take one step in the street. You were bound to fall down. Then it started warmer, the ice melted, we had snow, and rain, and wind and this morning the sun is shining beautifully and warm. Needless to say, we had a day of complete rest yesterday.

Give my best regards to all, not forgetting anybody. With fondest love and kisses to all four,

Your loving son,

PS I will send you another letter tomorrow Friday

22nd December 1916

To Abraham and Rachel from Jacques

Dear parents,

I received 2 letters from you today and am glad to read that you are all getting on well. I am in very good health myself and have nothing to complain about. I am sorry I could not get leave for Xmas but I hope I will get some later on.

I got a letter from Louis yesterday. He does not speak about getting leave for Xmas but he thinks he will get 6 days on January 14th. He is in good health, and is nearly trained. It is a shame they train him so quickly.

I am not training quick, because our company has plenty of time. But those over 19 are training as fast as possible. My army age is 18 and 6 months so I have plenty of time.

The idea of peace seems to make some progress after all. We hear today that President Wilson has sent another peace note. It may bring something better. At any rate, it is time for peace, isn’t it? But perhaps you have become a patriot since I am in the Army. All the same I think peace is very near now.

I do not want any blades yet. I will let you know when to get them. I will try and make my Xmas as happy and as gay as I can and it will not be so difficult. I have plenty of money and pals and although I shall be so far away I shall do my best to enjoy myself.

I have no news to write further.

Give my best regards to everybody. With fondest love and many kisses,

Your loving son,

25th December 1916

To Abraham from Jacques

Dear father,

I am in good health and hope you are all the same. I have no special news to write. We are having 2 days holidays for Xmas and we are enjoying ourselves. We had a fine dinner (turkey, pudding, beer, etc.,) given us by the town. It is very merry.

Write me a long letter. Let me know how all is going on.

With best love to mother, baby, grandmother and yourself.

Your loving son,

28th December 1916

To Abraham from Jacques

Dear father

I am in good health and hope you are all the same. We have moved today from Newton Abbot to Honington, about 35 miles nearer London, for 10 days. We are in billets, and it is very good. We are going to have food cooked by private people for a change again. The town is very small, much smaller than Newton Abbott. I will let you know my address early. In the meantime, address all letters and parcels as before, and they will be forwarded to me. I will write you a letter tomorrow. with best love and many kisses to all.

Your loving son,

28th December 1916

To Abraham from Jacques

Dear father,

I am in good health and hope you are all the same. As I wrote you we have moved from Newton Abbott for 10 days, taking everything with us. We are now settled in billets in Honington, about 35 miles nearer London. It is a very small town, about 4000 people, with only one picture palace for amusement. But as there are the Royal Fusiliers already down here there is a YMCA where we can enjoy ourselves. We are in billets and are having excellent food. The change is very nice.

We had a lovely train ride and the scenery is lovely down here. I will let you know later about the post. In the meantime, address everything as before, and it will be forwarded on to me here. If you can, send me some stamps. I am getting short of money. I had a lovely time for Xmas, but it has cost me something. I shall also want some money by in case I get leave. I believe that at the end of January we shall be moving out of Newton Abbott altogether to somewhere near London. At any rate this is the current rumour.

We had fine Xmas dinner (Turkey, fried potatoes, cabbage, pudding, beer, as much as wanted, cakes and fruit) and everything done in style. Just before we left Newton Abbott we were having excellent army food, but as the Army don’t give you any supper it is a great expense to have to buy your own every night. But as we are having food in billets again, that will be as much saved.

We are down here to do some trench digging. We have been digging trenches for the last 8 days at Newton and we are going to have 10 days more of it down here. Do not be alarmed by the words “trench digging” The work itself is very light, we dig a trench of about 6 yds long, 5 feet deep, 2ft 6 across. We are 3 to do it and do it at leisure. The work is very easy. We are 75 altogether on trench digging and we do about 100 yds of trench in a week. Very easy work.

I am glad to have at last a long letter from you. I do not think there is anything the matter in America. Such thing has happened too many times before. But I will write a letter and forward it on. I am glad to read that all are in good health and that work is good.

I am sorry Louis could not get leave. His captain did pay them a dirty trick. But the orders are that no officer or men are to travel on Railways from the 21st to the 25th. Louis is nearly trained and will soon have his 6 days. But if he is not careful he will be sent across although he says he is determined not to go. He must be careful as they are sending men over to France as fast as they can. I hope earnestly that he will find a way out of it. Our training is stopped for the time being. We cannot be sent over till we are 19 and they are not in a hurry to train us. They have other business to do.

Altogether I am having an easy life of it in the Army. Much better than I expected and only wish it could last.

I will write to you later on this subject and about leave. You know, I daresay, that the fares have been increased by 50%.

We shall see about Peace afterwards. But I think it is on the way and we may have peace quicker than it is generally expected.

Write me a long letter, telling me all you know. Let me know if you hear more news from America. If you send a parcel let me know in a separate Post Card.

I have no more news to write at present. Give my best regards to all I know.

With best love and many kisses to mother, Leon, yourself, grandmother, and wishing you all a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Your loving son,

p.s. Address the next letters you send but only the next 2 letters to

Rfn B.
c/o Mrs Howard
“Hill Side”

(Don’t enclose anything valuable in them)

If you send any letters after Monday, send them to my old address in Newton Abbott, as we shall be going back at the end of next week.

The weather is warm and wet now. I hear you have had some big fogs in London.

Let me know how you are, how Leon and all are getting on.

I hope I shall be able to see you all again soon. In the meantime don’t worry. I am alright. Do not forget to write if you hear any more about the allowance and the missing parcel. About the allowance, write there if they seem to forget you. You wont get it if you don’t ask for it. Do you draw the 3/6 a week?

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Welcome to the Migration, Memory & Memorial website, a concise and rare archive of family history dating from 1890 to 1989.

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