Volume 2: Letters written on active service, M-W, 1914-1919 - Page 72
[Lance Corporal John Marrott, No 644, a telephonist of Waverley, NSW, joined the Army on 9 September 1914 aged 19, and embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on HMAT A38 Ulysses on 22 December 1914 with the 13th Battalion, H Company. He served at Gallipoli and returned to Australia 12 Dec. 1915 following hospitalisation with rheumatic fever.
His letter describes the fighting at Gallipoli and follows a letter written by his brother Robert Dowling Marrott.]
Dear Mum, Dad and all at home
I have received all your letters and papers ok and you can't possibly imagine what a refresher they are so keep on writing although perhaps I cannot write back owing to lack of materials, I swapped my issue of tobacco for this paper. I have sent a couple of field service post cards and I hope you received them.
I suppose you have all read the news by now and are aware of the fact of what constituted my birthday greetings. Rob is enjoying himself immensely dodging shrapnel etc. and I may say I'm a fair expert at it. We are having a spell now after five weeks of the trenches in which things were pretty lively, the [word blacked out] tried to oust us out of it but had as much hope as fly. Of course we have all had the usual run of narrow squeaks and I may hopefully say your prayers are being answered. I've been under machine-gun fire, have been blown up by a mine, had a Johnno-o lob about four yards in front of my dig-out destroying my happy home and here I am as lively as a school-kid.
We are being fed like fighting cocks and every man has to cook for himself of course and I tell you when I come back 'God willing' I will show you some of the most complicated mixtures you have ever seen.
We had an armistice the other day for the [word blacked out] to bury their dead and our boys and them had some sport swapping tobacco and changing money etc the funny part being as soon as it finished we must start blazing away at each other again.
Rob received your letters ok he is away on the right flank and paid me a visit during the armistice (Empire day) [24th May].
We can go down for a swim and it is great although a bit exciting at times when the shrap. begins to fly.