A Letter from Walter

This is a copy of Walter's letter of 13 April 1917, to his brother Bert, which has also survived the years. Although many letters are mentioned in the diary, this one is not.

Dear Bert,

Am writing a few hurried lines to let you know of the chief accidents of the past week, and to make use of you as a newsvendor as your discretion permits you. On Monday there was a medical examination of probables for a higher department of service in His Majesty's Forces. After being examined by the oculist at the Military Hospital, and tested for glasses I am passed out of the old category to A1 - a full blown soldier if you please! A number of others who have shared a like fortune are transferred en masse to A Company, same Battalion. Please note my number is now 276745; and will you accept the office of publisher of these innovations, as otherwise I shall possibly miss the previous correspondence addressed to me. Also Private instead of Drummer, Bugler or any other ------er. We commence the category training as soon as the gas and bombing courses are completed.

The army training resembles a large dinner now in its number of courses. Every other day something is bound to appear in Batt. orders about this course or the other course.

I was minus a few necessities in the kit inspection always held before a transfer. I had to report a deficit of a shaving brush, a cap comforter and a pair of socks. We had another inspection in marching order. The Captain, who must have been looking down the report, came running out of the stores: "Shuttleworth, what size are your feet?" "Six-fives I believe, Sir." "Well, how is it you're short of a pair of socks?" "Worn them out, Sir." "And why didn't you buy a new pair with your kit money instead of leaving it till today?" "I thought I could get a pair from the Company Stores, Sir." (This was a mistake, though.) "Well, I don't want you to go into your new company without a pair - I'll see if I can get you some." And he went and brought me a pair of his own. How's it done? Couldn't tell you!

Tell Vi and Nellie the new address and I think that is about all. Sorry to hear Fred is not well. Hope Annie and the boy are alright.