Pte. A. Smith letter 2 Dec 1916

No 27521

Pte. A. Smith

3rd Essex Regt

Att 27th Training Reserve

“G” Company

Parkeston Harwich


Dec 2nd 16


Dear Father


Thank you very much for your parcel received this afternoon.  I was looking forward to it coming; it is a very nice cake & the jelly & paste will be tres bon for lunch or supper all the things are very nice.

Well Dad how is everything going I hope you are quite well?  Pleased to say I am A1 & settled down to the army again now.  We are having a farely good time considering, it is very cold out in the fields drilling but we have a comfortable billet a good fire every evening.  I don’t know how long they will let us stop here but I think we are safe for a while.

You will notice I have given you the army address this time the letters etc come through alright, but the postmen make a fuss about having to deliver each one separate so it will be better in future to direct them to the Regiment.

I hope Jess, Ethel & Winnie are quite well I will write to them the first opportunity but I have been writing about two letters each day I cannot get level with them yet.

I am looking forward to seeing you soon I think it is farely certain we get six days either before or after Xmas.

Well I think I must finish now.


With much love to you all

From your devoted



A.A. Laporte Payne letter 2 December 1916

A.A. Laporte Payne letter 2 December 1916



Dec 2 1916


Muriel Mine,


Haven’t you received my last three letters? Oh! Oh! & Oh!  I wrote in reply to your ‘ordinary’ letter – it was a horrid letter – mine I mean – then I wrote again saying how sorry I was I wrote as I did.  Then in answer to your letter of Nov 22nd I wrote again.  Haven’t you received any of these?


I have been perfectly miserable the last eight days because I had not heard from you and made sure that I had offended you in some way. I know I give numerous occasions for offence.  Everything has been going wrong and if I had not heard from you I don’t know what I should have done.  I have longed to hear from you – so very much – and I am happy now although your letter was short and rather ‘cold’ but I don’t wonder.  Heavens! What could you have thought of my silence!  Where can those letters have gone to?  Mails of course do get lost or destroyed sometimes – but why three in succession?  And why those three of all.  Please let me know if you have got them now.  I wrote in my last to thank you so much for the photo and the box of cigarettes.  I know I posted my first before Nov 21st and your letter comes to me dated the 28th.


This loss or delay is most annoying.


You are I know frightfully busy but if you can, darling, let me have even a p.c. or a line to let me know how you are faring. I don’t want another week like this.  I was so afraid that you were angry with me or did not want me to write so often that I did not dare write again until I heard from you.


If you don’t hear from me in reasonable time you will know that something has prevented me and it was quite impossible or the posts have gone wrong.


I think I must number my letters so that I can find out if one goes astray.


You have guessed right, I think about my feelings when I tossed the half-penny in the garden. It was the old struggle only worse between what ‘I want’ and what ‘I ought to do’.  Tails – luckily for you then, had it.


You were not writing in gasps because of the cold morning were you? You were secretly annoyed with me for not writing.  I know what I should have felt.  You are a darling and most forgiving to write again.


Christmas will be very strange this year – perfectly horrid. I shan’t have a chance of seeing you.  But I don’t want anything from anybody – only you whom I can’t, but I should like a really nice letter from you and don’t be so restrained in your Christmas letter please.


I am so sorry to hear that Mrs. Cross is starting a cold – or rather was. I do hope she is better now – and you too.  I hope you are keeping well.  You never say anything about yourself.


What a compliment old Swinly paid me.  I too am very glad I am hot.  That sounds rude doesn’t it?  You’re hotter.  There is one sentence in your letter which I enjoyed reading more than anything else.  I will leave you to guess which it was.


I am afraid this letter is rather formal but it is probably the effect of my letters going astray. I hate the thought of letters to you getting lost.


When you write again please leave out the division.


The weather has been truly awful. It has been horribly cold here.  I have just finished my two days and nights in the trenches.  It was not pleasant down there last night.


How has the photo turned out? I am longing to get one.


Have you been to see Reg lately? I heard from him the other day.  I hope Humphrey entertained you well at tea the other day.  I went out to tea yesterday with the Sappers – we had ration bread, jam & tea and a very stale cake – but company was good.  I had dinner with some Australians.


I am going out to dinner to night with another battery and I am to take some very particular records with me. We must try and be cheerful sometimes.  It is Saturday night again.  At 8.30 p.m. I shall drink a very special toast.


I have bought a record of the ‘Happy Day’. It was the end of a glorious week for me.  Ages ago it seems now.  The worst of a good time is the end – so dreaded that it comes all the quicker.


I must close now as I have some returns to get off,


With all my love, darling,