Letter to Jack, 1st June 2009

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32507/9th Y+L
attached R.M.F
A.P.O. Box R.
L.1. I.E.F
June 1st/1919
Dear Jack
I have received the shirt alright it is very nice. but I have not got the towel yet I am sure it is very good of you to be so much trouble. but my shirt is in half it has been a job to get exchanges were we are but I think we shall get some before long. I am very pleased that you and Agnes are keeping in good health. and I hope you enjoy your holidays. the weather hear is very hot. We are at a small country place about like Cossall it is very pleasant there is only about forty infantry men here altogether. I think we are all being transfered to the Munsters that is not very nice as the Munsters have been here all the time we have been in Italy they were all old men and B1 or 2 you see they never went in the line but just did garrision duty about fifty miles behind the line but I dont care as long as I get home alright. Write and tell me as soon as you see anything about demob in the papers as we can get to know nothing about it out here. I have had a letter telling me that Annie is getting married. I hope she will be happy. I dont know what Ethel and Willie will do I am sure as it means giving the house up at Whitworth Rd. I am pleased to hear that you are thinking of getting a better job soon I hope you get to a nice place it will be alright. Write as often as you can I am getting letters pretty regular now.
With Best Love to you
both Harry
P.S It would be nice for Willie to pay you a visit if you are near Ilkeston I am sure he would enjoy himself.

Getting new kit would have been quite a problem in such a remote location and so Harry was resorting to getting stuff sent from home. This was not unusual. On active service, soldiers would use anything that made their life more comfortable.

Cossall is a close to Ilkeston in the East Midlands of England, right in the middle of D.H. Lawrence country. It is placed about mid way between Ilkeston, where Harry was living, and Awsworth, where he was brought up.

To answer a comment and to remind readers- Annie is Sarah Anne, Harry's sister. As far as I can tell, Ethel and Willie had moved in with Annie for the duration of Harry's absence. Whitworth road is about a mile (1.6 KM) from Mill Street and is in a much smarter part of town. (As a young child I used to get my hair cut in a barber's shop on the residential street, Whitworth road. My first school was just across the fields.) I suppose that if Annie gets married, Ethel and Willie will have to move back to the Mill Street address.

Harry is now attached to the 1st (Garrison) Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers. This is not a good move. The Garrison Battalion is made up of the sick, lame, halt, old and the lazy (to approximate), soldiers who are not fit for front line service. Harry has joined a group who, not having seen active service, won't have a high priority for re-patriation. BL


Kittybriton said...

Bad luck about the move old man! I'm ashamed the brass didn't see fit to get you back to Blighty after all you've done too.
Not to worry, we'll keep the home fires burning, and a pint waiting for you when you get your boots off.

Anonymous said...

Darn it, sounds like Harry's gotten stuck in a poor situation. And being such a poorly-regarded sort of unit, they won't be on any short-lists even for things like clothing and supplies. Hang in there, Harry!

Kristin said...

Who is Annie and why will Ethel and Willie be losing a house now? I wonder how much longer they can keep moving Harry around and preventing him from going home.

Anonymous said...

Makes me feel like somebody at home needs to remind the 'powers that be' that there are still men out there who seem to be being ignored. I never realised that they were left languishing for so long.

Sgt Sam Avery said...

Hello Harry:
Glad to hear you're still kicking but sorry to hear about the transfer. Had a bit of bad news myself recently when I lost my stripes due to reorganization. A common occurrence but still sour apples. Just do what I do: Pack up your troubles in the old kit bag and Smile, Smile, Smile. We're about to get into it proper where we are, so stop by for a read when you have the chance.


Chris said...

Is Harry back in England?

Anonymous said...

Poor Harry. Still getting shunted around and no idea when he'll get home. And Ethel and Willie too. I wonder how they're managing without Harry for all this time. Hard on everyone.

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