Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cheshire Ridge, Anzac, Gallipoli, 9/12/15

Dear Bob,
We have been back here from Lemnos now for about five weeks and expect any day to find ourselves in the middle of winter. We had a fall of snow a week ago which made things very disagreable for a day or two and which sent a good number away frostbitten.
I recieved your parcel of butterscotch a week ago it was very welcome and did not last long I can tell you. I noticed that although it was posted in Wellington it bore an address in Mother's writing so presume she has been paying you another visit.
The weather just now is quite mild again and it is hard to imagine that only a week ago we were stamping round in an attempt to keep the ciruculation going. Waterproof capes have been provided for those men actually in the trenches and we are promised gumboots so that the next fall of snow should not inconvenience us a great deal.
Our tunnels for which we are digging for winter quarters and as protection from high explosives will soon be finished so that we will be fairly comfortable by Xmas at the latest. To get underground is the only real refuge from the cold winds that we sometimes have here.
There is a big mail in and we are all eagerly waiting for it to be sorted.
I trust you are all in good health again and that Neil and Marjory are quite recovered. Tell Elsie that I received a parcel that other day that had broken open in the post. All that reached me was a big woollen scarf and one mitten tied up with a bit of string with a label attached. The label bore a Maori Hill postmark so that I presume the parcel was from the McNicols. The scarf was very handy on the cold nights we had.
The position we are in now is about the softest one we have been in yet although it is at the same time one of the most interesting. The Turks are about 300 yards away. There is a steep scrub covered gully inbetween and we have to keep a sharp lookout. We have a fine view of all the country from Anafarta to the Salt Lake and behind us to Imbros and Samothrace, our trench being about 500 feet from the top of '971' or Chanuk Bahr [sic] so it is variously called (the maps in the papers mark it '974').
Well I must not say to much or I will offend the censor.
I will close with best Regards to Elsie and yourself, Marjory and Neil.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cheshire Ridge, Anzac, Gallipoli 8/12/15

Dear Dad,
We have now been back from Lemnos about five weeks and thanks mainly to the cold weather we are as fit as ever yet. Last week a couple of inches of snow fell and we had our first  taste of a Gallipoli winter. If it was a fair sample we are in for a rough time. The cold wind which came after the snow and blew it about was the worst part of it and the only really warm spots were underground in the tunnels we are digging for winter quarters and for protection against high explosives. The trenches soon got muddy and things became wet and afterwards froze hard so that it is not surprising that a number went away frost bitten. We have since had waterproof capes issued and hope to all have gumboots soon so that we will not dread the next fall so much. Just now the weather is mild again and the nights warm and except for the few nights the snow was on the ground we have not had any frosts although we are 600 to 900 feet above the sea. The Salt Lake which was dry all summer is now full of water and the flat land around it must be very wet so that although we do have a few cold winds up here our position on the hill tops is the more comfortable one of the two.
There is a big mail in for us and we are all waiting for it to be sorted. So far I have received two Witnesses and am waiting for some letters to come to light.
The post we are on now is a fairly interesting one we are about 300 yds away from "Jacko's" nearest trench and the Gully in between is covered with thick scrub. We have patrols out every night and have to keep a fairly sharp look out but on the whole it is the softest job we have had as yet.
From what I gather  from your letters it would seem that some of my letters have never reached you, whether they have gone down or have not been passed by the sensor will I suppose always be a mystery. We have a good view of anything that is going on from our position here. Some of the shellings our warships and batteries give the Turks are terrific.
The Turks use their field guns (75s, etc) with some effect but do not seem to have the quantity of high explosives that we have.
Well there is not much that I can write so I will close with Best Regards to all.
Your affectionate son, Rawei

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cheshire Ridge, Gallipoli, 22/11/15

Dear Mother,
It is now dark about six o'clock and I am writing this in our bivouac by the light of a lamp we have rigged up out of a two ounce tobacco tin, a bit of string and some bacon fat. It is not a bad light though hardly one candle power.
The weather is turning cold here now and we get a sprinkling of rain sometimes. We are fairly comfortable where we are now and are busy tunnelling into the hill digging our winter quarters which will be in galleries well undergound. Orders are that everyman is to be fifiteen feet undergound before the cold weather sets in we ought to be warm enough down that far.
We are being fed fairly well now. The Machine Gun Section has a cook of its own. Our Bill of Fare runs something like this.
Breakfast: Bacon, tea, bread or biscuits
Dinner: Tea, rice and a tin of bully beef if you feel like it.
Tea: Tea and stew (bully beef, rice, dried vegetables).
Sometimes we get fresh meat our supply of this depends on the weather. Often it is too rough to land stores, then we go short of fresh meat and bread. Besides this we have sugar, jam, milk issued daily and at present we have any amount of raisins. We are only waiting for an issue of flour to try our hands at a plumduff.
We are back here in much the same position as that we left when we went away for our spell and as far as I can see are likely to be here for the winter.
I received your letter in which you asked me to wire about the warm clothing. Cabling from here means writing to someone in Alexandria and enclosing the money and asking them to send it. For the present I am fairly well off for clothing and if it becomes very cold one can always put on his change of clothing besides what he wears ordinarily. That would mean a little more time spent in the daily hunt for lice and fleas. The trenches and bivouacs are all infested with these vermin and all one can do is try and keep their numbers down.
Both an outgoing and incoming mail were sunk last week; but taking it all through we do not lose much mail in that way.
I hope this finds you all in good health. I am at present in good health and spirits and now that the flies and dust have gone should be able to keep fit.
With love to all,