Letter from S Vicker Smith 2 September 1917
- Vicker Smith
58 Hopwood St
How are you? We are in the pink. Still managing to live although the D____d Germans would not let us if they could help it. I suppose you had an idea that the Zeppelins had given us a visit, they did, but I imagine that the Devils were more frightened than we were, at all events, they did not stay to drop any love tokens over the city. I saw one very high and the search lights got him I fully expected that they would manage to bring him down. Unfortunately they did not. He was too high for them to reach. Since then we have got some guns that will fetch them. They will reach much higher. There is no chance of going to bed. A great many are out for seeing the fireworks.
It is really a splendid sight. There was at the very least ten searchlights at work and the only beautiful night during August. The guns kept boom boom boom and the flashes every time it was better than Belle Vue. Unfortunately they dropped a few shells at a village called Hedon five miles out of the city and knocked a Catholic Church and a Primitive Chapel about and injured one man, but most of the shells fell into the sea or on spare land and they then skiddadled our boys were after them in their planes but I think the Zepps had to good a start. Our aero planes were all over the spot what a lot of them. We see fleets of them many a time. It is beautiful to see them sailing majestically through the air in daylight. There is never a day but we see some of them. It would be a grand sight for some of the people in Stockport.
I may say we do not have to go about the streets in darkness the same as we had in Stockport. The lamps are lit as usual but all lights must be extinguished when there is a warning and the warning comes always a few hours before they arrive. So that we have them on toast. We only want to kipper them then or roast the Swines.
I’ve not had my holidays yet and don’t seem to have time but shall have to spare a bit soon. It’s nothing but work. Oh for the OB days. Of course it won’t be bad when the war is over and we get everything into shipshape and somehow I don’t think that the war will last long now. I am of the opinion that Austria will climb down soon, in that event it would hardly be any use for Bulgaria & Turkey to continue, then we should have Germany on toast, and that’s the roasting time if only we can get them alone, we shall soon smash them and my opinion is and has been for a long time that they will have to fight at the last alone.
Shep is in France. He sends us some very nice news. I may say that he had a temporary commission offered to him but refused. He told them that he considered that as an old soldier he should have a permanent commission or remain as he is, but in his last letter he states that he thinks it is only a question of time and that very shortly. I do hope that it may be the means of him coming home again. The wife is bearing it bravely, but she cannot help but worry, and tell the truth I have a fear, though I don’t let her know, I’ve got to buck her up.
It makes me think now more than ever, if only our Government in the past had only listened to those who believed it would come, what a lot of lives (the Cream of the Country) and what a lot of money would have been saved, but no they considered that fifty or one hundred millions was throwing money away in needless armaments. Now it seems into nearly eight millions per day. I believed this would come a long time before I saw you and am extremely sorry that I was right. If only we had had half a million men to put into Belgium at the first they would not have got far and we should have been on their own ground directly and another two hundred thousand to smash the Turks on land before they started with the fleet but we had not the men and all told at first we put 50 thousand to face over one million Germans it was simply sending those boys to be slaughtered but although the mistakes have been many let me say that the Gentlemen who have had and who have it still in hand are doing wonders and whatever faults may have been committed I venture to suggest that no Country could or has done better and they are out to win this war. We have not won yet but we shall win and I am certain that lying, spying murderous devils of Germans know that they are on the verge of ruin in every sense and I hope none will be ready here as our allies to give them peace until we have knocked them to pieces.
I hope you will excuse me going off in the manner I have but I mean every word, yes if they have to send for one and all the done up old foggies the doctors think we are we might surprise some of those reptile Germans of Central Europe. I for one would have a try. It would be more lively than trying to re enter a Penny Red. How this I.B. gets on my nerves. I feel now that I detest it, yet I’ve got to do it to buy War Bread and Government Beer and both give one the tummy ache. A pint of G Beer that costs 6d & tastes like coloured dish water with a flavour kippered eye water, if you know what that is. I’m sure I don’t and the bread why it has a taste of a musty mouse trap. I think we should be better if we went same as old Neb of the long nails did “*** went out into the fields and eats grass.” I suppose it was fresh. I might try it myself only my nails are not long enough and there are too many cats around here that it might have a much more enhanced flavour than I have already told you of.
Now then I must dry up excuse all the Tommy rot. There are some friends just come to cheer us up by stating that the baby’s got the measles and has cut a double tooth with a sausage machine and the whole friends who have died and haven’t died and those who are going to die and they have just been to the cemetery to cheer them up. “What OK we shall feel as happy. Never mind it’s not as bad as a Zepp & Beechams. I don’t want either but the pill firm are suffering because they don’t sell many when the Zepps have done their work. They make *****. Best love & kind regards. First to the ladies & last to the men
Wife sends best.