Railhead: ‘we are living very well’

This is one of many letters sent by staff of the Great Western Railway Audit office at Paddington who had enlisted to fight in the First World War. (RAIL 253/516)

Montague Percy Pond, 9 October 1915, France. Born: 13 September 1888, Regiment: Railway Troop, Royal Engineers, Regiment number: 87749, Rank: Sapper, Died: Killed in action on 6 May 1917

Transcript

Dear Dada,

Many thanks for the Slough paper and magazines. Was very sorry to see that Jefferies and How have lost their lives. I heard from Arthur this morning and he tells me that Fred Blane has died of wounds in the Dardanelles. I expect you remember him in the “Windsor Operatic Society”. [Line censored]…

Harold White (Ginger) who lived with Arthur has joined the Royal Artillery Garrison and is now at Plymouth. Arthur has sold the motorbike. Petrol is too expensive he says. Since I wrote last I have been moved to a little village about 2½ miles out of the town I was in then. It is a dead and alive hole with only a few houses and two cafes, only one of which is open. The other has had all the windows blown out.

We expect to move further on still in a day or two. We have changed our truck for a much larger one and have made ourselves very comfortable. It is about 30 feet long, so we have divided it off (with our ground sheets for curtains) at one end to make a bedroom, and the rest of the truck we have fitted up with desks and cupboards. I spent the other evening making a table out of bacon boxes etc. At present we are living very well indeed, with bacon and kidneys for breakfast, steaks and vegetables for dinner, jam and honey etc. for tea and bread and cheese and pickles for supper. Not bad for “active service”. The Post Office cook still does all our cooking. There are four of us on the staff here now. One attached to each of the three divisions, and one learning the work who will probably leave soon to take charge of a division. There have been plenty of aeroplanes over here lately. A German came over the other evening and our people shelled it for about half an hour. I don’t know whether it was brought down or not. I had a nice long letter from Mr Hunt yesterday. He sent me photo of the “Roll of Honour” and told me all the latest Audit office news. Well, I don’t think I have much more to tell you at present so will conclude with love to all,

Yours, affectionately,

Mont.

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