Letters to Kate and Jack, 1st July 1919

32507/ 9th Y+L
attach /Royal Munsters Fusiliers
A.P.O. Box R, L 1
I.E.F Italy
July 1
Dear Kate
Just a few lines to let you know that I am alright and in good health I dont think I shall get leave yet a while well I am sure not, there are so many men with 18 months without a leave, I expect one before Christmas anyway now that peace is signed I hope it will not be long before we are all at home. I am still doing officers servant and cooking and we are still sleeping in the open field so we get plenty of fresh air night and day. I am pleased to hear that they are all going on alright at home, and I should like to know if Connie can walk yet she will soon have been their a year now it is a long time. I am glad to hear that Willie is keeping well and all at home. I hope Annie will be alright when married well I think she will be. Write as often as you can and let me know all the news and if you hear anything about demob in the papers. Jack as wrote to the office out hear about leave and a told him in my last letter not to do so as it was no use to write hear at all. I have never got the papers you were going to send and yesterday I got two of your letters together. Write as often as you can and let me know all the news and when Annie is getting married.
With Best Love
P.S I would be very pleased if you could send me a few cheap handkercheifs as I have not got any at all and also a tin of Pomard.

Connie has been at the school in Liverpool for almost a year. I wonder if Harry has had some unpleasant interviews with his officer over the letters from Jack trying to get him leave. He sounds quite agitated about it. Most unlike Harry. He seems relaxed enough to start to bother about a few of the finer things. Handkerchiefs and Pomard (Pomade - a fashionable, perfumed men's hair dressing.) is quite a change. Rocco has unearthed a spectacular account of civil unrest in England straight after the war. Quite unexpected to hear of race riots in Liverpool and Cardiff. BL

32507/9th Y+L
attached Royal Munster Fusiliers
A.P.O. Box R. L.1
I.E.F, Italy
July 1
Dear Jack
Just a line to let you know that I am alright and keeping in good health. The officer here as just had a letter from you asking him about leave, as I told you in my letter it is not a bit of good writing here as there is so many men with 18 months in without leave dont write here again whatever you do for I shall be surprised if I hear anything about leave for another four months at least anyway now peace is signed. I hope we shall all be home for good before long. I am still doing officers servant and cooking for him but I dont know how long it will last, I think I have kept the job. well I think I told you in my last letter that about a dozen of us were sleeping in a field in the open so we have plenty of fresh air night and day we have been out now for about five or six weeks. Do you think you will be able to get home for Annies wedding, I hope she will be alright I hope you enough (enjoy?) yourselves in the country it will be a nice change for both of you. Write as often as you can and let me know how you are getting on and if you see anything about Demob in the papers its about time they started about it. Is it true that these are are thousands listing every week in England again. I have had a letter from home and I am pleased to say that they are all getting on well could you allow Ethel 10/- a month of the money and begin the first week in July if so let me know. I will write again soon
With Best Love to you Both

A repeat of much of the letter to Kate, quite concerned about Jack writing to his officer. "thousands listing every week" refers to soldiers re-enlisting in the army. There was a huge problem with finding work and so one solution was to go back to the army. BL


Rocco said...

Found on National Archives:

Unrest and riots
Demobilisation, nonetheless, remained a difficult undertaking. Many ex-servicemen, promised a 'land fit for heroes' by the Lloyd George government, suffered when unemployment rose rapidly and the ambitious wartime programme of 'reconstruction' was shelved during the 1921 economic slump.
Some problems were caused by demobilised soldiers from the Dominions, who were often left waiting in Britain for long periods until transport could be found to ship them home. A mutiny at a camp for Canadian soldiers in Rhyl in March 1919, for example, was only suppressed after a number of men were killed. A few months later, rampaging Canadian soldiers broke into a police station in Epsom, killing one policeman and causing a serious riot.

Demobilisation also exacerbated social tensions in various British ports. A series of ugly race riots took place in Liverpool and Cardiff during June 1919, as the local white population clashed with black workers and seamen, many of whom were left unemployed at the end of the war. In Cardiff, in particular, white ex-servicemen, including Australians stationed in the area, headed lynch mobs that terrorised the city's black community during a week of violence that left three men dead and dozens more injured. In the aftermath the government repatriated hundreds of black people (600 by mid-September 1919).

Anonymous said...

Further to the previous comment, the book is now available in libraries in Wellington, New Zealand.
I have a copy and, unlike most it seems, when straight to the final chapters - no further comment!
The commentary surrounding the letters was excellent and obviously the result of a lot of hard work and research.
A masterpiece Bill - Whats next?!
Paul. New Zealand

Anonymous said...

As much as Harry would've wanted leave, Jack's letters seem to have been having almost the OPPOSITE effect: it sounds as though the officers are getting irritated by Jack's repeated requests, and Harry is trying to tell Jack to stop, before he, Harry, gets in real trouble. Maybe Harry was too good of a cook for the officer's mess to willingly let him go home!

Kittybriton said...

It's so sad that even in Harry's day, Soldiers were heroes as long as we needed men to fight. But as soon as the war has been won, priorities change.
Perhaps it is just as well that Harry is still abroad, and well away from the troubles at home.