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Date: January 10th 1917
Shorey Neville

235006, D Coy.,
203rd battalion
Bramshott Camp,

Jan. 10/17

Dear May,

I was never in doubt as to the issue of our dry campaign, still, it is a relief to be told. It makes me wish there was a little civilization here.

The battalion moved camp today, leaving nine huts of quarantines behind. Another battalion moved in this afternoon, and, as they were responsible for feeding us, and were unsettled themselves, we have been out of it, and had no supper at all. So, with the connivance of the sergeant of the guard, thirty of us broke quarantine and went after grub. I went straight to the nearest pie counter, and came straight back. To my surprise, I was among the last to return, so for just about the first time in history, the privilege was not abused.

Our hut is due for release on Friday, and I hope we will be here over the week-end, as we will be almost the first to get out. I may get a chance to say goodbye to some folks. From now on, I suppose it will be always speak and pass, with never a chance to get acquainted. Well, that means that good behavior is necessary.

I had my final typhoid shot two days ago, and am still sick, with am arm that breaks off if anybody passes near enough to stir the air. I am reported dentally fit. Now, in the ordinary course, I may expect a two weeks' final musketry course, including range practice and gas drill, and then perhaps I may be eligible for draft. But my lungs are a little off color, so the chances are I will break down under gas-practice. The helmet is hard to breathe through at first, and if a fellow coughs he is done for the minute, as the eye pieces film over.

Well, I think I am ready to do my part, if I am so unlucky as to get to the front.

Thank you for news of Walter Pavly. Where are the 249th quartered?

I talked suffrage a little to my new friends in London, and I am afraid I cut loose on the bar-maid proposition. So when your letters came I sent a few quotations, and they created considerable interest.

Don't talk prices! Sugar 6½d lb., and obtainable only at the rate of half a pound with each shilling's worth of other groceries. Eggs 4½d apiece. Coal limited in quantity and away up in price. Gasoline limited to 28 gals. per car per month. Price in the neighborhood of 2/. Bread made of whole wheat flour, 4 or 5d per loaf. We still get white bread, but I do not understand why. Surely the natural flour is better for us than for the class of folks that are civilians here.

I do not know of anything in the way of clothing that you could send, that would be of use. The things we can buy are so much less in weight and bulk for the same usefulness than home-made stuff, that they are much better. I intend to provide myself with sufficient rubber dental tissue to wrap legs and body, over my underclothes. It is the best protection against the wet mud that I can think of.

We are in a mood to expect peace at any time. It seems to be in the air everywhere. Perhaps it is a sign of approaching spring, but there is snow on the channel coast - where we are going.

London address will always find me, provided the number is included. That is the one essential, the only one, I believe.


S. J. Neville