Letters from the Great War – “They can only get you once”

Southport, England, October 13th, 1915 – (Letter #5)

My Dear Brother;

Just a few lines to let you know I have received your registered letter. I have written two letters before and told you I am getting my letters all O.K. but didn’t get any papers, only one bundle and there was a piece about the Iberian in it, so you will remember I have not received a paper from you or from home since I told you I received about two letters one day.

Now, Jack, I sent Mary a brooch just the same as my hat badge and, also, Lillian and Eugene, a broken set of shoulder epaulets, sent them in the papers and I feel bad they did not get them. I paid four shillings for the two brooches, as you know, money is awful scarce around here. It is like hen’s teeth. I also sent you some photos in my second last letter. I wonder if you received them, also sent some home.

Well, dear brother, I may not receive many more letters from you as I am in the next draft. Got all my equipment all ready now to go on a minute’s notice, but I don’t think we will leave here much before Christmas. It is hard to tell now on account of Bulgaria. We heard last week that we were going to be sent to Servia. I do not care where they send me. We are doing pretty good work, now if we can only keep it up. But my God, there is some awful looking sights coming back here every day from the Lancaster Fusiliers. Well, I am willing to take my chances. To hell with them, they can only get you once.

Well, you believe me, they don’t run on me much. There is some awful good fellows amongst the bunch and some bum ones. There is 53 now in my billet and I gave about ten of them a damn good licking, so now they are alright. The English is like a dog; the more you abuse them, the better they like you.

I wish you could send me your picture snapshots – I mean you and the kids. I should like to have them with your name and address on them, so if anything happens and they are found on me, you will be notified. Anybody finding them on me will let you know and you can also put in a claim for my belongings. They will give you everything I have and also back money, that is if I am killed. There is quite a little now, I mean button money and billet money, as I have never received any yet. I will let it stay where it is now. I hope you will get this letter alright. I would like to have that watch, but don’t send it in papers, as I will never get it.

Well, Jack, I will have to come to a close for this time. You keep writing. If I am gone, my mail will follow me. Give my love to all and lot of kisses for Mary and Ted.

Address my letter to #3949 Private Lee G. Darrach

3/7 Lancaster Fusiliers
Southport, England
Terra Nova, 53 Promenade

With love and best wishes, from Lee

Editor’s Note:

Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in WW1 on October 1915. Up to that point, the Central Powers were Germany, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria had been resentful of its defeat to Serbia in 1913 and loss of territory, so when they entered WW1, they declared war on Serbia. An earlier spelling was Servia which became Serbia.

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