Hugh S. Calverley - A Man at War...
WWI Scrapbook - Hugh Salvin Calverley
WWI Scrapbook - Hugh Salvin Calverley Details
Letter – We are in a rest gulley – Sunday 17, 1915 5th Essex, 54 Batt. BMF

Dear Mum

We had Communion today after the church parade, in the gulley in the C.O’s dugout. We had it about half an hour before you had yours in Canada. It was raining a little and that kept the flies down. The Padre brought his Communion set and clothes. There were about a dozen there: the C.O’s adjutant, Capt. Colvin and Conway, me and Gray, and two sergeants, and some men. It seemed very real out here and puts new . . .into into you.

Shells overhead sound like taxi-cabs in the street going fast and get as much attention from us. They swap shells between the batteries and don’t bother us at all. Sometimes they get a little spent stuff and plant bullets that were aimed elsewhere. Several came pattering into the bushes at church parade and created a diversion from the Padre’s sermon.

Gray bathed yesterday with Conway but I said it was too beastly cold and didn’t. Am and the family would have been in like so many others. The sea is lovely here when the sun shines. It is clear, with a nice beach running down and a nice temperature inside and out. Gray hunts for cornelions and treasures up sandstone and quartz instead. He wanted to know if a piece of quartz was water agate! Imagine Aggie’s contempt and I told him it was quartz. Guess I ought to have told him it was amber or gold.

Colvin is a brick. He gave me and Gray canned coffee, milk, lemonade and a whole tin of apricots. Very delicious. We got some things from the canteen ship. But the Australians, (the pampered darlings of the Galip), got the pick, and we had the leavings which meant a very small dog’s share of the large lists of necessaries we put in for! There are plenty of olives waiting to be picked. Black ones and unripe green ones. The black ones are beastly and draw your mouth up for hours after if you chew them. They are full of oil and I rubbed them over my hands like a kid does! I thought I would make some ‘French’ coffee out of acorns, but Prentice, our man, would have none of it.

I have a book of Morris’s poems out here and like them very much. Get the ‘Scouts Song Book’. It has some very jolly songs and 4 by C. S. C. *(Charles Stuart Calverley), and more by all the best people. It is my eye-apple just this minute. I always keep it handy and try to hum the tunes, taking Tom Pearson as a basis and constructing the other notes in the songs from those in T.P.! I do that when Gray gets his precious sands to cornelians! Get it? I shook sand or bushes all over Grays clos’ today while making the dugout snug and waterproof. He was annoyed, not the least thankful for all my hard water-tightening work! I thought of your disapproval. In this case it would have been me that would have got wet however.

The padre said he has made £20 over photos he sent to the Daily Mirror. I must take some too and smuggle them home. We are still in the same gulley as I wrote from last time. It is a pleasant place and quite pretty: olive trees, thin scrub and lots of hills, in fact all hills and gulleys.

Your letters have not started coming here yet. I expect the first one soon. Gray had two today, his two first.

Love to the family.

Your loving Hugh.

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