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Date: May 13th 1917
Jack Beck

Sunday May 13, 1917.

My dear Gertrude,

Just a month ago to-day (April 13th) that I came here from home. No news still of any move but others have had to wait longer.

Our weather keeps perfect - continued sun day after day but the country must be needing water badly. The heat has been rather trying the past two days, especially for parades on the barrack square.

I forgot to put an application for a pass in for to-day so I am confined to Woolwich, not that I had anywhere especial to go but I would have gone in to evening service somewhere. I don't feel like bothering to go out so far as Muswell Hall or I would chance it without a pass as I did before - one is far less likely to be stopped by the Military Police if one passes through London by tube or tram to another suburban part than if one goes to town itself.

On Friday evening I went with two others, on the top of a bus to Blackheath - quite a broad expanse of open ground. noted in the 18th century for highwaymen. The attraction was really the Khaki Club there, a much more homelike Soldiers Club than any here, with somethings with a smack of home cooking for supper. I enjoyed a game of chess - my first since leaving Forncett. I am thinking of walking out there after tea to service in a very interesting church - architecturally - that I saw across the heath. It depends on my feet & also the heat.

Yesterday I wasted my afternoon at least physically - intellectually I read through the "Globes" which came on Thursday - stretched on my bed or rather the biscuits which take the place of a bed. After tea I went down to the library - saw the daily & weekly papers & read a very good story in [?] Margarine for March. Had a very cheap but good & abundant supper in the C. of E. Home on my way back to barracks. A full plate of rice & stewed mixed fruits with custard over for 3/2 (6 cents).

This morning I joined the Presbyterian parade to see what it was like - only 12 of us & a very poor congregation apart from soldiers but a fairly good service & sermon.

You were talking in your last letter of furniture & our flat. I don't think that furnishing is likely to be a very delaying matter - of course it would be nice to have $2000 or so to spend on it if we had the prospects of living up to it but quite a small proportion of that will suffice. Poppy & Edgar expect to spend $1000 (£200) but of course Edgar will have the means to be is not without ambition. Not that I would suggest that I am not ambitious but mine is a little different perhaps to his - has of necessity to be. It is not impossible that there might even be no need for a flat.

I will finish this to-morrow & see what the rest of the day brings forth.


It did not bring forth much after all. I went out about five, had a walk across the Common, then down town to the YMCA & sat down for a while, & up to a church near the barracks for evening service. A good service & a very interesting church, but a congregation of not a hundred people.

From where I sat the preacher was exceedingly difficult to follow, but what I did get the thread of was very good. I retired to barracks early & did some reading.

I have had to change my barrack room this afternoon & I feel very much not at home, as one always does among new faces. The rooms in peace time hold 22, who all have beds, but these days 40 or even more are put in, sleeping on the floor. I suppose the beds have been sent to the new hospitals. The rooms are very airy however, ceilings 18 feet high. An advantage of this room is that we get in earlier to meals. We have to line up in a queue outside the Dining Room for each meal. & as our room number is called march in. this room although still on the fourth floor is called 5 rooms before the other, saves fully five minutes waiting.

I have been looking for good picture post cards of Woolwich ever since I came but have never found any really satisfactory yet. However I must buy one or two such as they are, including one of the barracks for my next letter.

Our weather as close as ever today but a pleasanter breeze seems to have got up since three oclock. We get some splendid evening effects from the barrack windows these nights looking across the Thames.

Have just written to Mrs. Cheaseman & Roy - the news of Robin put it out of my head for some time.

Must close. Hope all continues to be well.

With very best love.


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