Alf Smith’s letter

Pte. A Smith

No 27521

“C” Co 12th Batt

Essex Regt




Dear Father


I thought you would be glad to have another letter from me to let you know how things are going.

Everything is going on alright have got quite used to the life now; & no doubt being out in the open so much does one a lot of good; but for all that I shall be jolly glad to get out of it.

It has been grand weather down here just like summer until yesterday it was rather dull.  Dovercourt is not much of a place to spend a holiday; there are only a few shops & only one picture palace.  We are not allowed to go anywhere only Harwich so you can guess one gets rather sick of the place.

What do you think of the recent Zepp raids?  That was a bit of luck bringing one down.  When they are about we are called up by the corporal & supposed to stay up until he lets us know everything is alright; but that doesn’t trouble me.  I went to bed as usual; one night I only took my boots off.  I do not know the idea but I believe it is to assist in case of fires or anything like that.

We were vaccinated last Tuesday week & on Monday we had to go to the hospital to see if they had taken. As the majority of mens arms were bad we have been excused duty for two days you can bet that was a great surprise it gave me quite a shock; so I am enjoying myself alright at present.  My arm is alright but drilling & rifle practice has not allowed the places to heal.

Perhaps you would like to know how we spend our time; we are up at 6 o/c have breakfast; coming back & get ready for parade at 8-45 drill until dinner time & the same until tea time finish about 5 o/c. We have to be in by 9 P.M. then go to bed.  It is jolly early for me but there is nothing else to do.  On Saturdays we are supposed to finish at 2 P.M. & Sundays after church parade; but you never know when they are going to call upon you for guard or other duties they have always got you here.

If you care to come down I should be very pleased to see you; but nothing is certain in this game. They tell you nothing of what you are going to do.  I do not think we shall remain here very long.

When you write please mention when you will be away as we get very little notice as regards leaf (leave) & I should then know how to arrange it. They are only granting 24 hours at present which is not very long; so I thought if I went to Southend & could let you know in time you could come down there.

One of my mates with me had several parcels of cakes &c sent him so we have been alright for home made pastries they are very nice too I can tell you.

I know you do not like letter writing but shall be glad to have a few lines when you get a chance.

I think I have told you all news now so must conclude.

Hoping you are all well

With much love

Your devoted

Son Alf


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