22 May 1917
Dear Mother & Father
Our mail arrived last Thursday and mine included a letter & Guardian dated 27th and the parcel dated April 12th. I have fixed myself up with the bags etc and am alright now. The cake was alright although a bit broken up with being so long on the way. It was rather dry but was quite palatable. It will perhaps be as well if you stop sending it whilst out here, as I can get along quite well without it. The things, especially parcels are very irregular and it is a shame to have to waste anything.
We have had a petty hot week again, but at last night the weather changed suddenly and it has blown a gale of wind since. There is very little rain out here and the weather is generally very decent.
Things are pretty much the same and we are still slowly discharging our cargo and taking odd rubbish in board, in its place. I expect we shall remain here several weeks yet but I am quite contented to stay here for a spell. They have taken my W/T instruments out and loaned them to another ship for a short time, after which I shall have the pleasure of fixing them up again to my satisfaction. We were all last Sunday on the job, and you can bet I didn’t think very kind things of the people responsible for its removal.
Your news of Mrs Neill was just too late as I had remembered him & written by the previous mail.
Glad Mrs Fraser & Father had a good time. She would make a fine pal for Dad & no doubt they had a good time together. John seems to be getting more a by every time I hear and I often wish I could see him playing his little games.
Glad of news of Mr Simpson and Frank As Son. I bet Frank would want the Shoehorn that afternoon.
I was not over surprised at the action, re the M/ton (Middleton) Corp Coal. I was a bit suspicious of one of them Dad will know which.
Your news of Mrs Moorhouse surprise me. I thought she was more or less a fixture at M/J, but it was very kind of her to see you, but such a proposition is out of the question.
Sorry Uncle Robt is so ill but I suppose it will be a happy release if he is taken, and we shall have to hope for the best.
Glad Dad & yourself are on the improve and that everyone else is alright.
Fanny does not seem to alter much, still the same old Tom boy.
Hope the roosters have luck, there will be quite a farmyard next time I come home.
Things seem to be tightening up at home, and I suppose there are many things that are practically unobtainable. Potatoes, with us, are somewhat of a luxury and they are not now a regular item of our daily fare. We supplement Rice and peas in their place and I don’t find any difference. It does not trouble me so long as there is something and we do quite well for food here.
Let me have nany news of uncle Sam I am sorry I cannot wish them every happiness, in person, but I will leave that for you to do on my behalf, if the happy event takes place whilst I am so far away.
I wrote Auntie Bessie last mail but I am sorry to learn she is so unwell.
Everyone seems to be the same but you must all buck up and all be quite well by next mail.
This weeks mail has not yet arrived but it is expected any day now.
I had a couple of letters from a French sailor last mail & the Dunois (1) has paid a visit to England from what I can gather.
I have also heard from Davies, who is at the north of Scotland, along with Smith, & they are having a pretty rough time and were just about to push off for 3 weeks at sea.
I must now park up as it is almost bed time and I have yet to write to Smith & the Froggie.
With love & kisses to all
(1) It sounds as if James is still in contact with some of the French sailors from The Dunois that rescued him in February 1917.
James’s next post will be on 31st May.