Monthly Archives

April 1916

The farmers are finishing sowing wheat

April 25, 1916

April 25th, 1916

My dear Mother,

I am getting along well. Had several home letters lately and one from Mr Ogilvie.

The big wheat yield is good, isn’t it! We got a Sydney Mail with a photo of a big stack of wheat.  It’s a decent change after the season before.

I’ve been in France for about a month. It’s a lovely country and very heavily populated.

The farmers are finishing sowing wheat and many crops look splendid.  They are mostly small paddocks. Many are only five or six acres but it’s all cultivated with a single furrow plowsmall harrows and drills with four chutes. Women are plowing and sowing.

it has rained every second day with five or six straight for a change, but it is the wet season now.  All the fruit trees are in blossom, all the timber is planted and they prune the firewood each season.  I could count as many villages as we have houses at home. Most of them have big buildings. All the farms have mileage pits.  I could tell the age of farms by the number of silos and each is a bit bigger than the last. They build almost every farm house the same – the same four buildings all joined with a 20 yard square patch in the middle where all the stable manure input in winter.  When it dries out it is put on the ground in springtime.  There is a lot of smell that comes from the piles.  We are billeted in a farm. There is a McCormick R.B. here too.

We have had two periods in the trenches.  We get as long out as we spend in the firing line and get a good hot bath and change of underclothes when we come out.  We are much better off here for comfort than we were in Turkey and so far it has not been nearly as strenuous.

Some kisses for Nona.

Love to all


Houses form the banks of canals

April 18, 1916

Armentieres, April 1916

Dear Maude,

There are many places where houses form the banks of canals.  seems every house has bullet marks on it.  Some are smashed to smithereens but they don’t  bother shooting at it now.  the enemy held it for a while.  There are many stories of bad deeds done by them while they were here.

Love from Stid


We taught some boys about your age to catch fish

April 18, 1916

Post Card/Armentieres, April 18

Dear Ock,

We taught some boys about your age to catch fish in the stream yesterday- with worms, cotton and a rod. We got about 150 an hour, then we let them go again. We had some lollies, too for bait for ourselves and the boys’ mothers brought us some coffee-au-lai – coffee and milk. Boys pick up English very quickly.

Love from Stid

We have a fluffy little desert dog

April 6, 1916

April 6, 1916

My Dear Amy,

I got a letter yesterday dated 18th February.  Thank you much.

I got some from Claude and Little Aunt too and a couple of papers.  We have recently had a nice trip from one end of France to the other.  We passed through Paris at night and saw little of it but the country is splendid.  Winter is passing to spring and the trees are sprouting and are in blossom.  It’s all fruit trees and vines.

It was all nice sunny weather while we were coming upend the scenery is par excellence.  We traveled over the tourist route.  Some of the mountains had white peaks and we ran through two very long tunnels.  It is hilly everywhere but it all seems fertile.  All the farmers are plowing or sowing their little patches with single furrow plows.  By the way – the farmers are very old.  The young ones and women are in the shops and on the trams in towns we passed.  The people gave us a good welcome- cheered us all the way and gave us cigarettes, post cards etc.  One of our number speaks French.  He has been trying to teach us for a while.  It’s funny practicing, but the people are interested in us.  The women and kiddies are pretty- complexions real good (bon) There is a windmill in sight that has ground flour for its owners since 1760 and still going well.  We are billeted in a brick barn that is part of the main house. There are couple of women and some children – no men in it.  Most of the houses are stone with tile roofs.  The roads are white and good- a great place for cycles.  Everybody seems to ride them.  We can get good wine or beer for 1d a glass.  The beer is like good homemade – it maybe.  We have broken a few champagne bottles amongst us because it costs about 4/- and is good(very good)  Six francs.  The Franc is worth 8 1/2 pence.

We have a fluffy little desert dog we dug out near the Suez Canal and carried with us.  He toddles now and draws a lot of attention and the kiddies try to catch him.  Women have run off with him several times. He is a fine puppy and we think we maybe able to teach him to be useful. He is already recognised by the regiment.  (No. 1916 ISMAH0 home address, Ismailia.)

Love to all, your brother, STID