Topic: Gillanders WD - WWI letter 1916

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Dear Ken,

Again I have your letter today for which thanks very much. Oct 1st was the date you wrote it on. I also had a letter from Auntie Doll same mail. The English & N.Z. mails generally get in same day. I am glad to see you are getting on so well with the ploughing Alec had just finished the hill below die bush when you were writing but I have a vision in my minds eye that when you read this you will be just about nailing up the gates, that is if nothing unforseen happens. How is the grass is it hanging out alright I hope it is.

Do you know what I would like very much just now, listen & I will tell you, a good look around the pigs & calves, of course I don't mean firstly but secondly. How did you get on with the bush, old Harry did not finish it by himself did he? I was always very sceptical about it I must confess, but I guess you would have managed somehow. If I had been at home one of us might have been able to go into the bush with him, but you have never been stuck yet for some way out of the difficulty have you. I have not had a weekly since the first two but my change of address might have something to do with it, But I have seen one as late as Oct 4th three days later than your letter & see in it some terribly long casualty lists there must be very solid fighting going on in France. I noticed one of the Scowns Kaharamea wounded I think that is old Gadsby nephew, also young Wells Te Kuiti those were the only two that I knew.

There is nothing very serious doing here at present just keeping in touch with each other but we the ordinary soldiers of rank & file never know when We or the enemy might attack. I see by Aunt Doll's letter that John Loch, is engaged in the same sort of work as myself only she would have known at die time of writing what I was doing. I have never regretted joining this corps as shortly after we came out here the rest of the sixteenth were put into the camel corps, mules are bad enough but camels are a sight worse from what I have seen of them & their ways & we see a good bit of them about here. I think I would sooner be in the mtds, but as it turned out the 16th weren't required to reinforce & they had to do something with 'em as they & 17th, 18th & 19ths were almost on top of them, so I was very lucky to get out here in any shape or form. I know what this is like & never having been in the mtds I am not in a position to speak & am perfectly satisfied where I am.

I am chief officer in charge of this part of the A.S.C. so you see I am getting on I the world; the only thing is that I am the only A.S.C. man left & have to be trooper, corporal & officer all in one. There are two N.F.A. men come up & help me. Peter went into the hospital with some kind of dysentery & was sent to Port Said. I expect it will be a month or two for he will join up again perhaps more.
I go down & have my meals with some of the ambulance boys. There are six of us all together in the mess including George Miller brother of Sam Miller Owhanga a chap never knows who he is going to run up against does he. He saw my name somewhere & came up to the tent & asked me if I came out on the Devon then we got talking & telling each other how small the world was after all. George is a corporal & has been over here since the 2nds I don't remember Sam much but if he is anything like George he is very nice. One of the Whittle boys I told you about before got a kick from a horse & had his leg broken. I think there was a piece broken out, he will most likely be away for a few months at any rate. & he might get a trip to N.Z. but I don't think so.

Just had an interruption to go for a patient about three miles away who had got sick this morning. I have to walk all the way when I have a load on but you should just see me cutting it out when I am running empty & the old sledge bumping along behind me. Well dear folk I must close for want of something to say.

I am quite well & in great health never had such a good holiday before. I hope you are all doing well & not kept too busy & getting plenty of cream. I hope you have all recovered from Christmas & New ear Festivities.
With best love from Will

Negotiable Southern & Northern Banks.

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