06 April 1917
Good Friday night
Dear Mother & Father
I received quite a mail this morning, Bible & letter of April 1st readdressed from the Amphitrite, also Guardian of Mar 31/17. Your letter dated March 4/17 also arrived this morning but I think you are exactly a month behind.
Lancashire seems to be a stricken place, what with blizzards & measles & general complaints at no 30. However, I hope that no one is afflicted with anything worse than a cold. I hope that all will be well again by this and I hope you have a good Easter.
Today is Good Friday and it has been a splendid day warm & sunshine all day. Here we are, getting dizzy, swinging round a Buoy within sight of some splendid scenery & we cant go ashore to explore it. Never mind, we must not grumble when we compare our lot with Tommy’s in the trenches.
We can see the Eddystone lighthouse from here and expect that by Sunday night we shall be leaving it astern.
Get my watch off as soon as you can as I want it badly.
I cannot get ashore or I should have tried to obtain some real cream for your Easter Sunday tea.
Have the buttons mounted on a pin & let Grandma have one.
I sent Lois & Maggie one each a couple of days ago. I sent a parcel ashore last night but it was too late for post and it will be sent off Saturday morning. The parcel arrived just before I left Pompey and I acknowledged receiving it in a former letter. Give my kind regards to Mrs Fraser & Father, to all next door & at No 9 McSkew Rd.
Hoping that everyone will soon be well again. I am quite in the pink & quite satisfied with this ship.
With Best love to all
PS The buttons are in the parcel. J
DIARY: Good Friday. In Sound.
The Eddystone Lighthouse is about 12 miles SSW of Plymouth and marks the dangerous Eddystone rocks. The lighthouse that James saw is still the current one and that is the 4th lighthouse on this site.
1698-1703: Winstanley’s Lighthouse
1709-1755: Rudyard’s Lighthouse
1759-1877: Smeaton Tower, now rebuilt on Plymouth Hoe
1882-present: Douglass’s Lighthouse
The Eddystone Lighthouse today, with the stump of Smeaton’s Tower:
In this letter, James wrote about receiving his Bible. We still have it, though it has now lost its cover. It is very small, measuring 7cm / 2.75 inches wide and 12 cm / 4.5 inches long. Like his Diary, it is hard to know why it did not disappear when James was killed at sea.
James’s Bible that he was sent on 6 April 1917: