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Date: September 18th 1916
Mum - (Jennie Winterbottom)
Sydney Winterbottom

Sept. 18, 1916

Dear Mum:

Thanks for your welcome letter. Letters from home are the best prize possible here.

It has been raining today. In the morning we marched over a couple of miles to our bombing school. This bombing school is a pretty little green hollow. The school simple consists of a bog tent for lectures, and some trenches and fortified mounds to throw th bombs from. We didn’t throw any real bombs today, simply practiced throwing “jam tins” or dummy bombs and listened to a lecture. We are taught to throw overhand as a cricketer does and not to pitch them like a baseball.

They practice with bombs which have a small charge of explosive without the shrapnel to get the fellows used to the work. Gee! Though it is funny how some guys will play the fool even with bombs. For instant one silly ass was showing how smart he was by catching a bomb and returning it. All went well until the bally thing went off (it was only made of paper and powder) and burnt his hand badly. Another fellow got his head burnt when another burst about a foot from it. That was Hector whom you are always asking if I have met.

I received a nice letter from Ursie. You know she wrote me some time ago and enclosed a fine pair of socks. By the way Mum I am very much in need of all the good strong socks you could make if you feel like knitting in your spare moments. If I was you I wouldn’t knit one more darned pair at the Red Cross or what ever it is. I haven’t yet met a single fellow who told me they issue them in France. You must remember old girl that the socks the women knit for the “brave soldier lads” are very often sold by some vile scoundrel who is getting rich by your willing labour. Don’t think I am writing rot because Im darned sure that it isnt. If you do knit some please knit them with the strongest and thickest wool you can get and draw whatever money out of my savings you’ll need to buy the wool. And if you at home ever need any dough don’t hesitate to take mine as it is the wish of my heart to help out some way even it if is with a few dollars. Now is you really need the dough don’t pass mine by but dig in.

I went to Folkstone Parish last Sunday evening and enjoyed a very nice service. The church is a great big stone building situated in the nicest, greenest, quietest churchyard imaginable. Inside the roof is held up by great big stone pillars. There is a sort of big hall business (?) especially for the choir and it is a nice choir too with boys, women, and mens voices. But one of the best things is the organ. The organ has the most beautiful tone and the player can make it sound just like voices were singing in the distance. It is great and I only wish you could enjoy it too. The church also has proper peals of bells.

Adrian is trying to get his leave this week. I have put in my name but don’t know if we will both get off together. I am going to write to Uncle Barney and see if he can put me up for a few days. Did I tell you that I received a letter from Orlow again asking me to visit them as she would like me to tell her about you. And she also told me to try and come shortly to see the hop pickers in full swing. I haven’t yet answered the letter but will soon do so.

Now Mum I suppose you know by this time that I expect to go to France very shortly. I honestly expect to be over there in three weeks. Now Mum you mustn’t worry about me or even allow yourself to have anything but a cheerful view of this business. I would like you all as one best loved by me to just ask God when you are at church to strengthen the boys you happen to know to be able to do as well as the other lads have done and give them strength and courage to a be brave or at least a manly soldier in action.

Write when you can and don’t think this letter a morbid one as I don’t often write such stuff.

With love to you all I am your loving son,


[Editor’s note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]