12 June 1917 – James “increasing in breadth far too quickly….in fact this is rather a holiday than anything else for me.”

12 June 1917

Same Address

Dear Mother & Father

The mail had arrived on board this afternoon and yours is as follows, letters of May 20th & 26, parcels of papers of 11th May including socks, cake, etc.  The cake is fine as usual but look here, you are allowed your rations of flour etc and will have quite enough to do to keep inside the limit.  We get our rations and so far on this ship we have had too much rather than too little, in fact they tell me I am increasing in breadth far too quickly.

If you have any spare sugar or flour let john have some extra in his tea or make him an extra small loaf.

You have no need to worry about me as I am getting along fine in everyway in fact this is rather a holiday than anything else for me. We are still in harbour but are clearing out our cargo at a good rate and I don’t think it will be very long before we get underway.  Glad you are still able to get a few Harpies.  We have done splendidly so far and have only gone a few days without since arriving here.

Sorry to hear of Tom Newport’s wound and hope he will soon be A1 again.

Yes Ma, my dress is almost a costume just a pair of pants and a light flannel and they are too warm. Glad Dad has taken the plunge at last.

Glad of news of Walt Butt. He seems to have struck a pretty tough ship.  I prefer mine.  It must have been a great sight to see the moggie going round the stable door on one leg, some sport, eh Mother ?

Glad of news of W Simpson, Uncle Robert, J Atkinson & H Hey. Margaret R tells me Fred has applied for a transfer to the Indian Army so he looks like making the army his profession.

Ellen is lucky having holidays in war time but I hope she had a right good time. The G.S. seems like the army & navy gives leave when it suits them and everyone else go to pot.

Glad the procession passed off alright. Glad the reading passed off A1.  I had a first class description of it from ?

Did Uncle Ernest say anything about receiving a letter from me? I envy Uncle his motor trip to the Lakes but perhaps I shall get there after the war.  This ship I like as well as can be expected and I get along quite well with the ships company.

You make me smile when you talk of Chaplains, Doctors & Sundays.

We have none of the above and there is a naval phrase which says “Six days shalt thou labour & the seventh work a good deal harder”, the latter part of the phrase is often expressed in a good deal stronger language than the above. Sunday is like any other day but there is no work to do if you are in harbour.  The doctoring part if necessary is generally done by one of the officers who generally know a little Red Cross work. Any hospital cases are immediately sent ashore but these are very few.

Dad mentioned something about John wishing to join the Mercantile Marine. Engineering Branch. I have made a few enquiries and from what I can gather he cannot do better, if of course, he is quite determined on this line, to apply to the Mercantile Engineering Association. I believe that you have to have finished your time and then have to have about 18 months sea service before you can pass for a Second Engineers Certificate.  I have a letter from John Bromley & he has tried to get into RNAS R.F.C Motor Boat Reserve and the Navy without success.  He wants to look out for himself as a couple of months extra in the Service is worth the sacrifice if you get into the branch you prefer.

Must now pack up as the mail is just on closing.

With Best love & kisses to all


P.S. The W/T book arrived a few days after the last mail. It had been delayed owing to Registration.



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