10 April 1917 – Heading for Gibraltar

DIARY:  At Sea steering W by SW. Ship rolling badly and a very high gale of wind blowing.  Steaming south on special course for Gibraltar.


On this day, James’s mother received this letter from P. Smith, who was probably a friend of James’s, serving in the army, probably on the Western Front. I have tried to keep the original spellings.  The letter is interesting for giving a view of what a typical Tommy was thinking at this stage of the war – surprisingly optimistic.  The envelope is interesting.


10 April 1917

Somewhere in a Dug-out

My dear Mrs Simpson

In answer to your most welcome letter which arrived with the parcel just a day or two ago and in which I was so glad to know it left you Mrs Simpson and all at home are in the enjoyment of sound health as I am glad to say. I am going on splendid, Thank God. Well, Mrs Simpson, many, many thanks for your kindness in sending me the parcel.  I can asure you it came in very acceptable. It arrived just as we where having tea and when I was told that there was a parcel for me you should see the lookes on the Boy’s faces.  Of course we done good justice to it.  Talk about a Teaparty where with salmon & cake, Chocolates, Sweets. We had a rare old time for half an hour we forgot there was a war on just like being Home again and after tea I passed the fags round and we all passed jokes round.  Listening to the Booming of our Guns telling the Germans that we where still here.  God help them.  This summer we intend to smarten them up.  I am seriously thinking this war will end the end of this year which I hope will do.  Won’t it be glorious to see the Boys coming home again.  I am sorry to tell you the weather is still very Bad.  It as changed to Rain to day.  It as been raining all day and very cold.  But the weather wont stop us from doing of what we are going to do with the help of our Officers.  God bless them all.  We will no doubt let the Germans see what British pluck can do.  Well Mrs Simpson sorry I cant give you any news as it is the same old thing so will now pull to a close so Ta Ta for the present and  thanking you again for the parcel.  So with kindest regards to self, Mr Simpson and family of course not forgetting your maid please thanks her for the Chocolates.

I Remain your very Sincerely

P Smith


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