24th Aug 42
Dear Mother & Dad
I received your welcome letter of the seventeenth on Friday. Sorry to hear that dad has the gout again – did you try McDevitt’s cure? He reckoned the only thing that did him any good was Epsom Salts. Of course in those days he was very fat and didn’t get much exercise but I guess exercise is not your trouble.
There’s no doubt about what you say as regards easy money. There are thousands who are making fortunes that didn’t know where to get the next meal before the show. They’re living like princes now and when it’s over the blokes who have been in it will be working for them. It’s a queer show and we’re certainly the clowns of the circus.
You needn’t have any worry about seeing Tiny home on leave. He’s got my chance of getting leave and I’ve got no chance. The bludger sent me a parcel containing a bottle of blue stuff like ink with a note saying it was a good hair restorer. And of course Ack Hallam who is acting CSM got it first and passed it round the mob so I copped another blitz from the ‘Bloody no hopers’ as Haigh calls our mob. Still I’ll catch up with him one of these days.
I was quite surprised to hear of your decision about Rennies, but it’s your business – I suppose they’re paying my ten pounds a year.
The weather is getting a real punch in it now. It’s really perfect at present but will get very hot soon I think. We’re doing some route marches lately and they certainly drive the sweat out. The other day on a march we stopped for lunch near a river and of course we all sat along the bank to eat. You know the quiet that follows a meal in the open like that when everyone lays back and dozes. Well there wasn’t a sound at all, then suddenly there was a hell of a splash and everyone jumped to their feet. The piece of bank where the colonel and his offsider had been sitting had given way and the Trump and others were in the drink, floundering round in full marching order. You can imagine how the boys enjoyed it. He took it very well though and laughed with the rest when he got out. A feature of the incident was when the battalion dogs dived in, in sympathy. We’ve got three or four regulars here – OC dogs is little Woodside, a vey small foxy some of the fellows brought with them from Woodside South Australia. Of the others, a big Alsatian and Bluey are regulars and follow us on all out marches.
The same day as the swimming incident Bill Collis – you remember Basher: I’ve mentioned him in despatches before – got sconed with a limb of a tree and to use his own expression (an expression that caused a big laugh among the mob) he went quite silly for a while – but he’s quite recovered now.
On a couple of the marches we’ve had lately we’ve finished up at a beach – there’s some marvellous beaches here – and had some good swimming and at one place got a fair stack of oysters.
You never mentioned in your letter whether you’d got my wallet. Of course I may have told you about it in a letter that hasn’t arrived yet. I have it to Ack’s wife when she went home.
Well I’m afraid there isn’t any more I can write just now so with love to May & Anne and regards to the boys I’ll say cheerio.
Your loving son
PS Jim & Nuggett send their best wishes. Jim had been a sick man for a couple of days – he had a week on the grog and an enforced abstinence upset his digestion and he got an attack of diarrhoea.
“Bloody No Hopers”
Lieutenant Haigh was the Headquarters Company CSM in Syria (see post dated 24 September 1941). I assume ‘our mob’ in this context is the Carrier Platoon.
Trump in the drink
Lieutenant-Colonel Buttrose’s accidental dunking was commemorated in the top right quadrant of his shield .
Carrier in the drink
Neither the caption nor Dad’s letter divulges whether the carriers ran into trouble on the same day as the colonel, but this photo was definitely taken by Dick Lewis during the time spent at Petrie.