From: South Dibgate Camp
1 Dec. 1918
Dearest Mother -
Last Wednesday, I received your letter of Nov. 11 which came thru very quickly and which I was so glad to get as it contained news of how you heard of armistice. Queer tho, your letter of Nov. 4 has not yet come. I should get it soon.
On Thursday, I received a letter from Ollie which I was surprised to get. But, in it she said they were sending a parcel for Christmas. That parcel arrived in good shape at noon today. There was in it - some maple sugar, four russet apples which had scarcely spoiled a bit (apples are a risky thing to send, they almost always go bad, but this parcel came in about three weeks and I was so glad they had not spoiled as you can't imagine how good it was to taste an apple again. A very inferior sort of apples are sold around here but they are poor and very expensive), some bars of chocolate, gum, handkerchief, soap, & toothpaste.
Last Mon. we changed our huts and had fewer in each hut. We hadn't been in them three days when we heard we were to move again on Saturday. We did move on Sat. but it turned out to be only a short one - from St. Martin's across a little valley to South Dibgate Camp. I doubt if we are going to stay here long. I think they want these camps for repatriated prisoners and the like. They were getting a list of all colonials and certain service imperials and I have an idea that we may continue course. The rest would possibly be demobilized soon. If we didn't stay on here, we should likely be sent back to our units - maybe even to France again and, in that case, would not, I think, get demobilized as soon as if we stayed here.
I am hoping to get Christmas leave now in about three weeks and would sure like it if Casey could get leave at the same time so that we could have it together. I did, of course, sign on, as you said, for duration of war and six months after. But that doesn't mean that I won't get demobilized until May or, on the other hand, that I should be free then because, as I said in last letter, they can only ship so many at a time - men in hospitals, men of low categories and of long service would naturally, I think, be given preference. Men will be needed for a long time in camps in England, in the bases and devastated areas of France, and in the army of occupation at the Rhine. Now in this cadet course, there is no object in keeping us unless it be to finish course which, if it were properly started up again, shouldn't take more than about three months at the outside. If I were in the battery now, you can see how there would be a reason for being kept in and there were fellows in it who had been away from home much longer who might have first consideration. Then, too, that six months - is it to be counted from the commencement of the armistice or from the time that peace has been definitely signed?
The other day, I saw train after train of soldiers going towards Folkestone on their way to France. These are probably to help clear up the back areas and maybe release some who have been there a long time. I have heard that roads in France, near where the front lines used to be are almost impassable - there are so many tourists and people high up who are going around curious to see what a front line looks like. Seems rather amusing to some who know it all too well.
Yes, I suppose one would think that they would find out whether a person could fly first, because many are not suited to flying, and I suppose they are sent back to their units or given some ground duties in RAF. I believe they used to in the RFC give commissions before the candidate had any flying. Then, he could not give up commission but would, I suppose, be transferred to another branch of service or be given duties in Flying Corps where he would not have to fly.
Strange to say so, but I am rather glad Harold T. is out of the way for good. He seemed such an evil, sinister fellow and I had a queer fancy that he meant Gladys ill. Bessie McL. - I knew by sight and I have heard of Helen D. But, I knew Helen Brown quite well. She went to High School when I did - was considered one of the prettiest girls around Athens.
Love and wishing you a Merry Xmas.