A note on the letters. The transcripts may include abbreviations or spelling inconsistencies and errors. We have chosen to transcribe the letters as they appear so that they are an accurate reflection of John Oldfield’s style and personality. We have also included his original page numbering. Where language is used that we would deem offensive, those words have been replaced with XXX.
My dear Mum, Dad and Jum,
I’m sorry that I haven’t written sooner to thank you for your letters and the parcel with the book and my sheep-skin waistcoat, which fetched up safe and sound a day or two ago. Thank you so much for them all. So far the tobacco has not arrived which is a bit odd, but instead two separate parcels of cigarettes, 200 Players and 200 Three Castles and absolutely no indication as to whom they are from; it is really very kind of someone but I can’t for the life of me think who, and both parcels arrived on successive days which makes it even more difficult. Anyway, thank you very much indeed for your parcel, and as I say I am sorry I haven’t been able to get a line off sooner, but the fact is I have been away with the General seeing some shooting at the Ranges, only getting back this afternoon, and am going off again this weekend somewhere else so I am pretty busy. However, I will try and write a really long letter when I get back again.
The General and I went over to see the Regiment and have a look at round their billets last Sunday and stayed to have a bit of lunch with them; they were all in great spirits – I think I told you in my last letter that I had been over to dine with them one or two nights previously. Paul came here for dinner the other night and tells me he is very keen to get a bit of leave as he wants to get himself wed – to a girl in Dorset, I believe – but that is rather on the QT, so don’t mention in your letters to Derry or Ronnie, Jum. Then on Monday night Derry Paul and I dined out in the local town and all felt a bit better for getting a bit of steam off – you get so browned off with the mess, night after night. Then Derry had to come here the next day for a Lecture and so came over and had a scratch lunch in the mess with us. So the last few days I have seen quite a lot of them one
(have just got your letter this evening mum and the Whitby Gazette – many thanks for them and am looking forward to the socks and handkerchiefs – they will be most welcome)
Way or another.
I had a letter from Margaret a couple of days ago, and she told me that you had asked her to stay at Sandsend for a few days and that she was disappoint-ed that she was going to be away, but coming as soon as she returned. Also from old Pikey who wrote and told me all about his joining the R.A.S.C, and seemed very pleased about it, and think I must try and see if I can’t get him the job of driving the General round!
I was very surprised to hear about Peggy and Peter Stewart, have you any idea when they are going to be married ? I wish to Hell , Helen wasn’t married !
I’m so sorry to hear that the frost was too hard to hunt from the house, it would be very dis-appointing for you all as we don’t get many fixtures at Sandsend. I hope you are all able to hunt from Whitby, I see from the Whitby Gazette that they met there today. The hounds seem to be going from strength to strength and is very gratifying and makes it all seem well worth while making the extra effort to keep them going, as certainly once a pack stops hunting it will be a very hard thing to raise it again I’m afraid. The boys told me that they heard hounds ( which ones I cannot think) running like blazes the other day, but I’m inclined to think it’s a bit of this ere wishful thinking!
Well, my dears I wish I could make my letters a bit more interesting but its very difficult and I’m afraid you must find them very dull. Thank you all again so much for the parcel, and I wonder whether you can possibly get me something else now! This time a pipe, ….. I have been trying to find the name of it, it’s the big one I had at Home, you may remember it, but I think it might be better to wait until I can let you know what make it is as I want one exactly the same as the one I have lost. So will let you know as soon as I can, as someone else has one like it here, and I can find out from them, Yes, I am finding the fishermens stockings most useful Mum.
Must stop as it’s getting very late,
All love to you ,