September (?) 1941 - First (?) letter from Palestine
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The censor has blocked out the date on this letter C in 1941

Q.X. 11656

                                                                                                            Wotherspoon D. J.

                                                                                                            B. Coy. 20th  A.I.T.B.

                                                                                                            A.I.F. Abroad

My Dear Mother,

            Once more I take up pen to drop you a few lines. Whatever I am to write about I hardly know, I have no questions of yours to answer, as I still have no letter from you as yet. Mother Mine I know it is not your fault as I will bet my last Mil that you have written, & more than one, I bet. It is still as hot as Richmond at Xmas time, but at night it gets quite chilly. They tell me it does rain here sometimes but I fear it is something like the Boulia district, every 7 years. I had a letter from Ann the other day, the one & only letter I have received in this far off land. Mother Mine tell any of the family if writing to write Air Mail always, as ordinary way they take months to reach here.

I have seen a few more Palestine villages lately Rishon, & Jaffa . Jaffa is where the famous Oranges come from, I was just a month too early as they are all green just now. Not just small orchards like the Chinamens in Hughenden, but miles of them. Great C bwthey (?) trees with oranges they say grow that big, two men to an orange. Peanuts grow in lines between the fruit trees, with breaks of Melons & Tomatoes. Melons C Mother Mine three foot long & as thick as an oil drum. Cheap to buy, about 2/- or 3/-.

Sister Liz would have her work cut out trimming the hedges over here mostly Mimosa bush & Prickly Pear. Along all the highways for miles run this strange hedge.

Page 2.

I thought I had discovered where all our weeds and pests came to Aussie from, Palestine ,

But on talking to a chap, he told me that came over in the horse feed during the last War.

Guess my surprise when hiking along the other day, I came across a tall green bush with something familiar about it, & spare me days if its not our old friend Nagoora Burr, & just as thick & healthy as ever grew on the Flinders. Mimosa bushes, Gum trees, Mint weed & a host of others, help me to remember my beloved Droving Days in the West.

Mother old Darling, I will be going to another place shortly, so if you do not hear from me for a while, please do your best not to worry your Dear old head too much. I will always do my best to get a letter of some sort away to you from time to time.

Tell any of the family whenever they write to make sure of a letter, put an Air Mail stamp in for the reply, as I hear they are hard to get. Write to this address until you hear from me further.

I am going where I think Morrie Peut is, so if you see old George or the Mother they might like to know. Still I might never come across him.

Only heard last night Ginger Goldstiver has been here where I am, & only left a few days ago to rejoin his Unit. I was so sorry to have missed him, to think we were almost in the one camp for nearly three weeks, & never met. He got a bit of something in his foot & then had disentry bad. The chap I got the news off knew all the Richmond boys that are in Stivers mob. Joe Smith, Ginger Ginty, & a couple of others. I might meet Gordon McGinty where I am going.

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Later

 Mother Mine, I will finish off this letter to you.

Since beginning this I have been to a town Gaza , on leave & had a very interesting evening.

Only a Native town, never saw many modern buildings & no whites whatever, only my own mates. There is one Hotel & Caf combined where one can get a bottle of beer & a feed of Bacon & eggs at the same counter. Tried both & didnt like the beer & the eggs on Toast were that greasy I had a job to keep them down. I had the chance to see a Wogg funeral a few minutes after arrival there, & what a fuss. Band & all. No coffin, just rolled up in leaves & cloth & carried by all the mourners. Late that evening I heard the would-be Band coming again, & the crowd yelling so we ran out to see the funeral as we thought, & hang me if it wasnt a Wedding. They are both celebrated on a grand scale. Every few doors along the Street there are Shops & you should see them. The women are all veiled, so do not know yet if they are lovely or not.

One side of the street along the footpath were old fellows, lined along on chairs with long pipes & little cups of coffee being brought to them. The rent the chair for a small amount & when they have had their smoke & Coffee they toddle off, & another one takes his place. Camels, Donkeys, goats, cows, & an animal that I am not sure yet whether it is a Goat or a Sheep, are being driven

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about the town with a never-ending stream of Mules pulling funny little carts with wheels wobbling like they would fall off any minute, but, they never fall off. Dirty little Arabs run about & try too sell Watermelon & Grapes & all sorts of rubbish, to me as I stroll along. They have too much advantage on us yet to handle them with the Money. Tell little Jim, I am in the big money. I have had thousands in my money belt but worse luck old Dear they are only Palestine Mills. We lose five bob in the £1. on their money. One of their £1 is 1000 Mls, & one of our £1 is only worth 800mls.

I am awake up to it now, but it was dam funny the first pay day, no one knew whether he had a hundred mills piece or a Million.

The morning paper costs 10 mils, 3d in our money.

A bottle of larger is 60 mils, 1/6 in our coin.

It seems so strange Mother, every bit of plowed field I tramp over, every sandhill I top, & every Waddy (Creek) I cross & well I drink out of, has been visited 20 years ago by Australians, & in those far off days they had thousands of horses to care for & tend. I visited a pretty little Cemetery this evening & got such a surprise, the way it has been kept & looked after. It would put any Cemetery back home to shame. Every grave clean, neat little head-stone & sea-shells along every path & walkway. A line of tall Gum trees surround the place & it is a credit to the keepers, for the way they have looked after the lads from

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Down-Under, & the Tommies who sleep there, far from their Native shores. Now Mother Darling I will make this the last page for this time, I have still not received one single letter from those that are so Dear to me now, & you especially & I am a bit down hearted tonight. I sent you a cable which I hope you received, & also trust it found you well & sound. Mumsie, old sweetheart of mine, I will close now, with the fondest love to your Dear old self, & all my Brothers and Sisters, I will write to them all when I receive some mail & I feel a bit brighter, so for this time Mother, I conclude with a thousand kisses to your own sweet self, & write to me often & often & tell me any old thing that is happening, the papers & few & far between.

                                                Night Night old Darling,

                                                              I remain

                                                                        Your loving son~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                    David John.