Letters from the Great War: “Well, I don’t know what to think of this War”
Editor’s Note: The Guardian will run a special feature on Saturday, November 10th on WW1. Included will be a feature on our series, “Letters from the Great War”. Make sure to check it out.
Devonport, 5 Sandringham Street, Scarborough, England, June 3rd, 1918 (Letter #29)
Your most welcome letter received a few days ago, the registered one, I mean. Glad to hear you are all well and I do hope Teddy is alright by this time. Well, you can see by this letter they are still keeping me on the move. I am now in the town from where I sailed for Egypt and I do not like it. It is too hard for me. We are supposed to be getting hospital training, but it is a damn job, carrying beds out of the wards with the patient in them. It is too heavy for me. I refused to do any more today. I am willing to do it, but I can’t. I have been excused all stretcher drills and marching by four doctors in the training battalion in Blackpool and, also, all the lifting in my old unit and I am damn sure I won’t do it here.
Well, I was over to Plymouth the other evening and I ran into two brothers from Charlottetown, PEI. They know us. They have folks in Cornwall and Nine Mile Creek, so we had a good time. They came over here on a cable ship from Halifax. They are waiting for a boat back. I am only 15 minutes walk from Plymouth. There are lots of Yankee sailors here, lots of them from Boston. Your dollar came in very handy for grub. I got 4 shillings and 2 pence for it, that is full value. I have not had a drink for 8 months, can’t afford it, it takes all I can get hold of to buy something to eat as we do not get it any other way. It is wicked here and it is damn little we get.
I am sure of getting your letters now, as long as you send them to the Scarborough address. Aunt Maggie sent me a parcel and a letter. I got the letter but the parcel she sent to the Lancaster Fusiliers unit, so I know they pinched it. Did you ever get the watch back you sent me?
Well, I do not know what to think of this war. It looks kind of bad now on the western front. I wish to God it was over. I am damn fed up. I expect to be in France or some other front in about 6 to 8 weeks time. I would rather be out at the front than be messed about here.
Well, I will have to come to a close for this time. Give my love to all and lots of xxx to Ted and Mary and a thousand thanks for the $. Remember me to Herb Hatch and old Klein. Tell him we got Jerusalem for the Jews and that I done my bit in getting it for them, so they can all go there after the war is over in 1928. What has become of Dave Ross? I never hear tell of him.
Goodbye with lots of love and best wishes from Lee.
- The US began sending over troops in the Spring of 1918, at an estimated rate of 10,000 per day. This was a tremendous boost to the Allies and helped to reinvigorate the tired soldiers.