Letter to Jack, 16th July 1918

July 16th /18

32507/ 9th Bn Y & L
C Coy 12 platoon
Dear Jack
I have received your letters dated 8th July. I was very pleased to get one. We have been up the mountains for about 7 or 8 weeks and I could not get any envelopes they were all stuck so I have not been able to write many letters. We have started to come down so I hope we shall be down for two or three weeks rest. It is very hot on the plains. We have been rigged out with drill khaki it is very thin alright for for summer, we have also got those big helmets. I am glad to hear that you are all getting on well.

Some of or chaps were very bad last month with a complaint we called mountain fever. I had a slight attack but I did not go sick. all the use goes out of your legs, sore throat and cough but you soon get well, we were isolated for a fortnight but we are alright now. I should not be surprised if we don't get on another front again, perhaps the Piave. I am in good health at present. We have had some trying jobs lately in front line on advance posts what they call sacrifice posts out all night about a thousand yards in front of our own wire and we have to stick it and only retire in case of a big bombardment, any minor raids we have to stick at all costs. This last month it has been something like France only the Austrians front line is at least two kilos away. I have had a letter from Ilkeston and they are getting on well they are making Willie a suit or two so I expect he will fancy himself. I have also had a letter from Mr Leverton. Hope you will keep writing every week as I am always glad to get a letter.
With best Love to you

This so similar in content and style to Harry's letter to Kate dated 8th July that it MUST have been written at the same time. Harry even used the same poorly sharpened purple pencil!
The date would seem to tie in with the events of the War Diary (the kit issue and the location) so it seems pretty certain that Harry put the wrong date on the other letter. It also tells us that it only takes about a week for a letter to get from England to Italy. Not bad in 1918. BL


Anonymous said...

That 'mountain fever' sounds suspiciously like the Spanish flu! Had people started to put the pieces together yet, and realize the sheer worldwide extent of it?

Anonymous said...

Note the reference to the Austrians being 2 kilos (i.e. kilometres) away. Not the first metric reference he has used, and strangely reminiscent of soldiers jargon 80 years later. Any knwoledge of whther the British Army used metric measures operationally?

jilcov said...

I am glad to hear that you are all getting on well

Anonymous said...

Excellent speed for postage. Better even than in the U.S. South on the Border with Mexico. Read about my latest adventures before the AEF came across.

Best regards!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Harry wrote the letter to kate while up in the mountains but could only send it once he got back down. So instead of writing a new letter he sent the one he already wrote.

Anonymous said...

Hi Swill. Well I have read everything and just cannot believe it. Who would have thought that a few old letters would have opened such a big door. Well done, when I meet you I must remember to curtsey....lol. sonia.