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The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Appendix VIII. Cheerfulness at Warneton

page 570

Appendix VIII. Cheerfulness at Warneton.

Following is a copy of a letter, written to a brother officer by a platoon-commander in charge of one of the outposts in the Warneton Sector. It is a request for sundry supplies, and its frivolous tone is indicative of that cheerfulness which sustained our fellows in the midst of the most appalling conditions. The writer was killed by shell-fire some three hours after the despatch of the note.

"Hors d'Œuvre.


"Dear Woody,—

"This war is ———————! Tell Rogers.


"1.See that we get a feed toot sweet, and a good one, with rations dry and wet, lest we starve.
"2.Take heed that bombs be brought unto us to the tune of three boxes, lest Fritz decide to visit us and we have nought wherewith to make him welcome. This applies to our brother in distress, Peter.*
"3.Also we have need of boards which be called duck, in numbers even up to two figures, which, being interpreted, is ten. Peter likewise hath great need.
"4.Cause an N.Z. mail to be brought to us, for we greatly love to hear tidings of the brethren of that land.
"5.An you see the Colonel, our Great Master, mention that we have Sweet Field Artillery in the way of wire. Per-adventure he will cause some to be erected. Perchance, also, he will lust to send hommes to establish a straight and narrow path between us and you, that we may go in and out by day and hold sweet converse.
"6.An you have in possession the lights of Mr. Verey, in colours green and white, we should be delighted. We should take great pride in casting them into the heavens, and opine page 571that our brother Fritz would also have great delight. We have none of these things save an empty pistol, a rocket which, on dit, bursts into twins red and white; but it is considerably damped by the dews of heaven, and we fear it may have unto itself lost its dash.
"7.That we might gaze on the celestial beauty of the city of Warneton, we crave a periscope. Peter hath one, and tells me much of the delights of the place which we would further learn of by the evidence of our own eyes.
"8.I would esteem it a great privilege to have speech with you after vespers or stand-down, if you would name the time and place, when I could come with a great big feller plenty hurry.

"Joy be unto you and peace; and may we also have sand-bags from you at an early date."

* His trusty platoon-sergeant.