05-06-1941 Letter from Redbank Army Camp,
Brisbane (4 pages)
Dear Nell, well old girl I am a little slow in answering your welcome letter & to also thank you for the Postal Note which enabled me to spend a very pleasant Saturday in the City. I went to a Comedy show, with a girl with blue eyes & hair very much like yours. But Sister, you must not send me any more, because I know kid, you are like me, you can spend your wages, & you find it hard to save, and after all I am better off being single than a host of other poor beggars here, married men only get 18/- a pay, so I am miles better off than them. But I go far too rash on pay days to make mine last, & the penalty is, sit out here at the Camp & go to the free Concerts & things. We have had a few day off wet, miserable weather & from what I hear is fairly general, so you probably had your share up that way.
I had a letter from Ann & Mum yesterday & they are all well. We had the Governor out to inspect the camp yesterday & there was great preparations for his arrival. They had a Guard of Honour at the Main Gate where fifty picked men in Battle Dress Presented Arms to him on his arrival while he took the salute, & the Band played ‘God Save the King’.& Sis, your big Soldier brother was one of the men, picked out of 4000, so I am coming on. I will enclose a Telly (Telegraph, Bob) photo of it, but you can’t pick me out, we then marched about wherever he went in the camp, & on his departure he inspected us, & congratulated us as a Guard, & said we were as fine a type of men he had ever saw together. All six footers & quite a few taller, & three parts were Westerners. All our arms were aching though when we finished, holding the rifle at the slope at attention with bayonet fixed gets very tiresome.
However all our old instructors are very proud of us & were as pleased as kids at the show we put up.
He gave a speech from a lorry through a Mike to every man jack in the camp & it was a sight I shall never forget, men & more men marched in their Greens, & paraded up in endless line after line, each Company together, & where we were on the top of a slope looking down on a sea of brown hats it was great, then after each Company marched past a Saluting place where each mob got the Eyes Right as they went passed – as far as one could see either way was bobbing – swinging Diggers, it was great.
There are three chaps that I sleep alongside of & eat & work with, that come from Bowen, & know Uncle Jack & family well, they all worked with either Uncle or the boys butchering their, so we have something to talk about always, they are all young & jolly decent chaps. I will also be going to fight alongside of them, as we are all in the one Platoon, which is thirty men. We have a Leiutenant Grimstone going over with us & he is in charge of our Platoon, he is a fine soldier only a young chap & he is anxious to get us as perfect as he can before we get (Over There). He was chosen out of 100 others to be our Officer of the Honour Guard yesterday, so he must be a good man. I will put a cross on him in the Photo. He is dressed just as we are & as he will go into battle, with a Private’s uniform on & no Stripes or Pips for the reason they shoot at Officers first. Now Darling Sister, this is the last letter I will be writing you from this Sunny, Smiling land of ours, we are off any old day now, where or the exact day we have not been told, but early next week sometime. We are reinforcements for the Second 15th. Our colours are Chocolate & Blue on a light blue background. I will have posted to you a little broach of our Colours which you can wear for me while far away. I have had my photo taken & will do my best to get them ‘ere I leave, but there are hundreds ahead of me, but if you don’t receive it for a while be patient, as he will be paid, & he will forward them to you all. Nell it is just a Photo, but it is a likeness if nothing more, & I was never handsome. Now old mate, I will draw to a close for this time, so trusting this reaches you safely, & finds you in good health & I will be looking forward to another letter from you soon, just write to the same address, till you hear from me again, it will be forwarded to me wherever I go, so I will say Farewell & Au Revoir for this time
& the Fondest love always,
From your loving brother
David xxxxx For you Nell