Mrs. J.J. McMahon
c/o Lt. Col. Grimstead
122 Queen Victoria St.
Yours received this PM. Was glad to hear you’d not died and having a good time. Hope you have better weather than we are having in this God forsaken land. Mebby I have done wrong in not telling you the truth about those grave locations but I came to the conclusion that what people did not know would hot hurt them. My dear child you need not think I hiked over that accursed country last spring for pleasure. I went with maps, compass & locations of 13 graves and found them frauds, every damned one of them. That is the reason I never sent the map location home. Planned to get a picture of a grave for Mother the same as we did for hundreds of other Mothers. And shut our mouths. Mother need never know. I am trusting you to keep it to yourself. Don’t you think I am right? So you are learning a thing or two about the ways of this country are you? Don’t worry about Meg “drinking and smoking”. Worse luck, she does not care about either. Therefore, I catch Hell every time I want a drink. I do persuade her to take a haul at my cigarette occasionally. Reckon I can teach her in time to smoke but am afraid the drink is impossible. However, “while there is life there is hopes”. But still she’s not a bad sort, perhaps I can teach her to swear if all else fails. She is young yet you know. And it would sure be a shame to disappoint some of the good people at home. I reckon she will like most of the people I do and they will like her. The rest can go to you know where and if she don’t like the country, well we flit, that’s all. I am not married to the country and I am to the girl. And glad of it. As to Noble’s wife, poor kid. Reckon she dropped a hornet’s nest, what do you think? Am not worrying about Meg at any rate.
Well Ollie, I didn’t know what to think about your S. M. It’s damn funny I never heard the name before, & he did not know mine. C & D Coy’s used to work together you know. I was pretty well known in that old Bn. I thought. Reckon that he must have pulling your leg. Lots of “birds” wearing our dress that never seen that Bn..
I sure would like to see him. Hope you make Italy & Switzerland. For my own part I want to make home just as quick as God & the Army will let me. Will see you when you get back to Eng. I hope. Expect to be going to Buxton in a few days. But it may be months before I can get home.
But if I send “Ginger” home with you will be able to make it sooner. There are more than 1800 families waiting at Buxton now & no boat in sight. However, will send for “Meg: when I get to Buxton and that will help the time along. I get so damned lonesome around this place I don’t know what to do with myself. Am afraid my soldering days is over. The last two leaves I had, overstayed both (caught Hell too) so daren’t take another short leave. Would be shot sure as my memory is getting bad as to dates. Can’t soldier any more-to H_ _ _ with the whole outfit. I want to go home!
By the way have you a camera? Would it be any use for me to send you mine now? Forgot all about it when I was in London & dare not sent it. I got off in such a hurry I did not think of anything. By the way what hotel did you stop at when you were in London & where were you on Sunday? I’ll bet we passed in the street. Well I must ring off. Probably you will never get this anyway. It’s fine tonight for a change. One of those damned lonesome feeling nights, and I am lonesome believe me. I hear tonight we are all leaving for Buxton the 12th then I hope will get indefinite leave until we sail. Will let you know if I am, will write the strand P. the 20th at any rate. By the way I was in Amiens a year ago last Xmas morning & could not rustle even a bite of bread. Times have changed since then eh?
Love from "Meg" and Jack
PS I hope you get a chance to go to Avion in front of Vimy. I can tell you stories about that place to make you laugh. We dubbed it the moving city. We spent months on that cursed front. I could shut my eyes and draw a map of the trench system even yet.
PSS Had a letter from old Auntie a couple of days ago. She wants us to come by way of NY and give her a call. Will if I get the chance. Most as soon see her as Mum. Write often if only a note. I want to keep track of you if possible. Jack