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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, October 1918

Letter from F.T. Clere to Spike, 16.7.1918

France, 16th July, 1918.

Dear Sir,—I have to thank the Association for a very excellent pair of socks which reached me yesterday. Besides their usefulness, they are a reminder that one is not forgotten, and so doubly welcome.

I don't know that I can give you any interesting information from France. I have been here for just over three months, the first of which I spent with the First Entrenching Battalion, which reinforces the First Brigade, but was then transferred to the Rifle Brigade and posted to D. Coy. of 1st Battalion. H. A. Mackenzie is in the same company. I have met a great many old students since arriving in England. G. H. Nicholls was the officer who met us on our arrival at Sling. Later on there I met C. F. Atmore, who was commanding a Reserve Company, H. R. Biss, H. Lawson, Brigade Gas Officer, Major F. L. G. West, Lt.-Col. J. L. Short, C. A. L. Treadwell, and I expect some others that I have forgotten. Atmore and Lawson are over here again now, of course. Another one at Sling was H. D. Banks, a one-time law student away back in 1906 or so.

Over here Leslie Edmondson was in the Entrenching Battalion, and R. V. Kay and Charlie Robertson when I last heard of them. Then I have met H. G. Brodie, N. M. Paulsen, R. B. Gibbons, D. G. Morison, H. T. Fathers, B. Egley-a Q.M.S. in the Pay Office. Five parcels have just come for me. I must stop.

Great excitement opening New Zealand parcels. All eatables this time. We don't really need them, as our rations are ample, and we can supplement them from the canteen, but they are handy sometimes when we are in the line and away from canteens. That's where we should be now, but Mackenzie and I both caught this over form of influenza at a suitable time, and were left behind at a details camp. When the battalion went in, however, two new officers joined the company and so filled our places. One is J. Hinton, the Otago nominee for the Rhodes schol. last year, so we are a learned company. Don't imagine, please, that I include myself, H. A. Josy, the Auckland representative, has just joined the battalion, too, and is in C. Coy. Am afraid I can't give you any thrilling accounts of "stunts" yet, as I haven't been in any Mackenzie's account of how they filled a gap here on March 24th should be interesting if you could get hold of it. Perhaps you have done so.

The summer weather is beautiful on the whole, though there have been some very heavy thunderstorms lately. Extremely hot to-day. Mackenzie and I went for a swim in a creek a little way off. A dam above a mill a makes a good pool, but the water was very dirty after this morning's heavy rain.

With kind regards to all the committee, and hoping that I may have occasion to write again some day. I am, yours very truly,

F. T. Clere.

I have seen Ken Caldwell and E. B. Tustin, S. I. Jones, N. A. Foden, and I don't know how many more besides.