Hill's letter from The Front, sent from London, 29 August 1915 / William John Rusden Hill - Page 8

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traffic and then we realised that even the "gutter imps" and the "arriets" had hearts of gold. They swarmed around our cars, cheering and greeting us, and I can tell you that we New Zealanders will always have a soft place in our hearts for the "Lydies wot wears big feavers in their hats" and goes abt. wiv blokes of the nime of "Arry and Bill". Just an impression of one of the girls who jumped on to the back step of the car I was in "clad in all the colours of the rainbow and crowned with a monster black hat and huge white feather, her pinched face brightened by a huge smile, she shook hands with me to the accompaniment of these words "Good luck to yer mate. Wot are yer? Nooseealander, eh?. Sye girls, these are Noosealanders" and then what a rush. The names of New Zealanders and Australia are magic words in England just now, and our friends of the "feavers" struggled with each other to get a peep at us and to say a few words of welcome. "You've done yer bits, yer "ave. Yus we does we know all abhat yer. Good luck to yer, good luck,'ooray 'ooray for Noosealanders".
Soon our ride was over, but our welcomes had not ceased, because the huge staff of the Hospital was just itching to do something for us and do it they did. Soon we were all in bed, wounds were attended to and by 10 o'clock we were all comfortable and settled in the newest of England's Hospitals situated in the heart of London, the City we all had read about, but never expected to see. And even with the Hospital Staff, our welcome did not end. As many of us as can get about are taken out every day in cars, busses, cabs and every conceivable kind of vehicle. London proudest women are vieing with each other in their efforts to honor the soldier. Tea parties, theatre parties and drives are on every afternoon. We go to all the fashionable places we knew only in papers and books. We are treated and feted like kings. Our drives through the City are triumphal processions. Everyone waves, many take of their hats. Nothing is wanting to make the soldier (whether he is New Zealand, Maori, Australian or British) feel that his efforts have and are being appreciated. Of course we are easily recognised owing to our Hospital dress-blue trousers, blue jackets with white lapels and red ties. It is rather picturesque and is to be seen every where. I have been to several parties. Have been entertained by Duchesses, have taken tea in their homes, have talked to them of New Zealand, and have made friends in galore. It is just wonderful this London- it more than comes up to expectations, in fact the country is all that we pictured it to be and none of us want to come home until all danger of German invasion is over.
In the Hospital I am at present, there are about 1,000 Tommies-150 new Zealanders, 200 Australians. The Tommies are all from France and splendid fellows every one of them- quite unlike the men in Kitchener's army who are not much good. They are weedy and far too young and it would be a case of "God help England" if they were her last hope. Of course many of the Regiments there are splendid, but the majority are to put it plainly "no damned good". Even John Turk won't run from them, but will stand and wait for them, though he'll run a mile rather than tackle a Colonial, a Gurka or a British Line Regiment. He's terrible scared of the Colonials, because they seldom take prisoners. Some of our fellows go quite crazy in bayonet charges and they kill not only the well men but the wounded. Just one instance. In one of the charges in which our fellows took part, a fellow nicknamed "Irish" a hard bitten son of Erin, was with a crowd to which about 100 Turks surrendered. They-the Turks were all standing with their hands up when "Irish" got busy with his bayonet. He just saw

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