A Letter From the Front, 1916

Roy Hungerford Wilshire [E.6.13a.1b] was born on 12 July 1895 at Mooriwarra, Mosman, NSW. He served with the AIF in World War I, initially as a driver with the 8th Field Ambulance, Sec A. Roy was later attached to the Australian Army Pay Corps and made an Hon 2nd Corporal. His regimental number was 6678. This letter (below) was written to his Aunt, Ada Mabel Swire (nee Hungerford) [E.615a/E.104a=] from the Western Front, France.



Dearest Auntie

Many thanks for your P.C and birthday greetings I received about 10 days ago. We have been going like fury day and night for the past few days and so delayed my answering it. Shells get too close to us at times – circled our quarters the other day but did no damage. You can hear them coming and you wonder where it is going to land and it pays you to get under cover and look smart about it. The guns keep

us awake at times. They make such a noise. I have seen a good deal of war now and would not mind a change. There are terrible sights to be witnessed, and the Australian soldiers are very brave and cheerfully however badly they may be wounded. The German prisoners I have seen – some have been here to have their wounds dressed are well clothed and fed by the look of them and just as well as we are. They are rather scared some of them when they come in to have their wounds dressed for fear they will be finished altogether, but are soon reassured.

I think the newspapers have perverted the minds of a good many re the Huns and their work. From information I have got they do not treat the people very badly at all. Of course there are exceptions – the Prussians and Bavarians are the worst. I think they are very cold blooded. The French women are very brave and would stop and let their home be plundered over them rather than leave it. France is very beautiful and so are the people, of course I mean the women –

folk. We pass many an enjoyable evening at some of the homes near here and one can soon pick up their sayings and improve his vocabulary. It is much easier to understand them than it is for you to speak their tongue. That is how I find it. A great saying is “Aprés la Geurre” used in the same way as we would say sarcastically “Perhaps” or “Next Week” or something after that style. Quite a lot of things are going to happen “Aprés la Geurre” – one little fair haired girl told me she would come to Australia with me “Aprés la Geurre”. They are very

funny at times. We get plenty of good food both in camp and what we have from the people about. I have polished off lots of fried eggs milk and coffee bread and butter since we arrived. Some of the girls also know a few Arabic sayings the Australians (of course) have taught them and some of our slang expressions. They seem to be very quick at picking up anything. They all are very strong in their regard for their Church and never fail to

attend each Sunday.
How are Uncle and Rosamund1 both blooming I hope & yourself as well.
Kindest regards to Uncle

fondest love
from your affectionate nephew

A signature, probably signifying “approved”
after censorship review and ready for posting.

  1. Uncle: Ernest Swire [E.10.4a/E.6.15a=] and Rosamund (sic): Rosamond Hester Swire [E.10.4a.1b/E.6.15a.1b]

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