[The following four pages consist of part of a letter written to William Reece by his mother Mrs E Doolan on 17 April 1915 (first and last page), plus a letter written by William, dated 9 May 1915, to his mother, written on the back of her letter (second and third page, plus a short note on the first page).
Both letters are transcribed here as they should be read. Some parts are difficult to decipher; see images for details.]
[First page of the letter written by Mrs Doolan (page 211):]
excuse scrawl as I have a bad pen
41 Pitt St Waterloo
In answer to your ever welcome letter by this mail I was pleased to hear from you also to hear that you were in Good health as this leaves us all at home thank God.
I am pleased also to hear that you met Tom. Also your Uncle Ern hope he is well. Kindly remember me to him if you see him again & tell him I wish him luck & a safe return
I do not have to go up to the Barracks for your Cash. they send it to us I get a Money Order every fortnight & go to the Redfern PO. for it by the time you return please God you will have a nice cheque to draw. if all goes well you may have enough to open a business for yourself & not have to work so hard as you had in the past
Daisy was quiet indignant when I told her you said to keep her at school so long I tell her it is the happiest days of her life but I suppose she is too young to realise it yet
[Page 2 of the letter written by Mrs Doolan (page 214):]
Daisy had a letter last mail from Beaty but there was not much news in it. The next Contingent leave on Saturday the 22nd Inst there is to be a public send off The School children are to sing in (Hyde Park) Daisy is one of the picked to take part She is in raptures over it She is also to sing & dance next month at Canterbury at a Concert for the Belgians. She is up there to day practising in the Tableau She
takes the is dressed in Russian Style.
I dont know who you mean was drowned in Newcastle I told you a young chap was killed at the Steel Works but I forget his name Granny O'Brien & Doolan are fairly well. Two of the (Emdens Guns) arrived here today on the Steamer Montoro it is probably that they will be publicly exhibited in a few days. I expect there will be thousands going to see them
There is a rumor that you re leaving Egypt shortly but there is nothing in the press about it as yet Some of the men told their relatives in their letters
[One of the guns taken from the German Raider Emden can be seen in the south-east corner of Hyde Park, Sydney, NSW.]
[Page 1 of the letter written by William Reece (page 212):]
9th May 1915
My Dear Mother
Just a few hurried lines during my Middle watch to let you know that I am still pegging along safe and sound hoping that all at home are the same.
This life in the trenches is getting very monotonous. I wish the war was finished it is a very trying life. We are tuckering as well as can be expected under the circumstances We get fresh meat every second day the other day we get Bully Beef and Bacon but the only thing I dont like is that we cannot obtain bread it would be a very welcome visitor just at present but still Australia's sons are never down hearted.
It is a very hard thing to get water here as it is a scarce item unless you walk about 3 miles to get it what myself and my mates do we sit at a little trickle down in a gully for about 2 hours to get a kerosene tin full you grow very weary of it but we stick it alright. We also get an issue of cigarettes and matches weekly.
I had a very narrow squeak the other day there were 3 other of my mates myself and "Tom" having a swim of the beach when a schrapnel was fired just passing over our heads and burst to about 5 yds away. but none of us were hit.
Well Mar I think that I will close with love to all at home so Au Revoir but not good-bye from
Your Loving Son
[Page 2 of the letter written by William Reece (page 213):]
Continuation of other letter in reply to yours, 25th of 4th and. Do you think that the 3rd force are a better stamp of men that our force who are in the firing line. Yes I received the papers alright No I missed Uncle Ern we went away from Egypt too soon. No Tom is aright and well. Albert is doing well too the last I heard of him No I never received a card from Dad yet Yes remember me to Mrs Richardson please tell her I am well again and back fighting once more after my wounds.
I am sorry for Emily if Jack August has been discharged Remember me to Phill Foran and tell him I hope he is better soon also to Frank Raper.
Received Papers & Bulletin O.K.
from Your Loving Son
"Hotel de Dug out"
PS Paper is scarce so I had to write on back of yours as you see
[Additional note at the top of page 211, written by William Reece:]
Our Colonel Colonel Braund V.D. from Armidale was killed about a month ago. Capt Dignam is still going strong.
[Lieutenant Colonel George Frederick Braund, 2nd Infantry Battalion, killed in action 4 May 1915.
Captain Arthur Reginald Dignam, 2nd Infantry Battalion.