Dear Dad and Mam
Just a line again to let you know that I am as per usual in the pink hope you all at home can say the same. No doubt you will be surprised to hear that I am in dock again this time with a beautiful boil on the left of my jaw and another bounder on the back of my neck, but there is no cause for any alarm I am only in the field ambulance, B Fry’s lot. I will be out this week came in on Wednesday I am only kept here in order to get better treatment and so get rid of the boils quicker. Many have got boils out here now it must be the climate or bully beef but have had bacon four times running this week for breakfast. Bernard Fry is on a week’s leave in Cairo he is returning today (Friday). Tudor Dodd has been sent to dock with dyptheria (sic) he is not bad but in the pink I was talking to him I think he has gone down the line now, he was here. It was Rutherford who had the wind up and sent him to dock because he was in the same bivouac as a chap who had dyp. I received a letter from W Burton yesterday he is on his way home he left Cairo on the 10th lucky chap don’t you think so, he is going to call and see you. I don’t understand how he managed to get leave and not been out here long. I have been out 27 months now and no sign of leave. I do think that men out here should have a chance of leave now. I have not received a letter from you for about a fortnight but am expecting one next mail. I must say that I have been getting my letters exceedingly well so I can’t grumble and don’t, hope you can say likewise. How is Jon and Mag and Glyndwr getting on. What are the details of the latter’s progress. Can he walk or talk yet let me know. You should see the nigger babies out here they seem to be able to walk or crawl as soon as they are born and the first word they utter is not Dad or Mam like a British baby but Give it Buckshees! (something for nothing) It is the cry of young and old and they get it too (sometimes). If you buy anything from the nigs they want buckshees on top of the price of the article and that is twice as dear as it ought to be. When I was in Alex I was sitting down in a garden and a nig wanted to shine my boots that had only just been shined. I told him no but he came bothering me three times again but he did not come again after that because I took the shine off my boots by kicking his behind with them. These niggers are a pest they would rob you before you could look round twice. they are the scrum of the earth. there is no place like dear old Blighty out here so roll on duration and best get out of this. This place called the holy land is absolutely the limit I pity the Jews who had to live here. They must have been colour blind or without any feelings of any kind. Well hope Mailys and Dyfan are getting on alright hope Mailys enjoys teaching and that Dyfan is doing well this term in school. Is he in the first eleven let me know. I have just seen Bernard Fry he returned from Cairo today he enjoyed himself alright so he tells me. He had a parcel this morning and I had a few cakes off him. My word Blighty cakes seem good they went down a treat without touching the sides. Well the 18th will soon be here now so Many happy returns of the day to you Mam and same to me too. Hope to be home for our next birthday and make up for lost time. How are things going on in Aber hope it is still keeping in the same place. I have not got any more to say for myself just now. My address is 241261 Corpl GC Roberts 159 Bde TM Battery EEF. Lewis is still alright and wishes to be remembered to you. Solong for now will write again soon. Best love and best wishes to you all.
Your affectionate Son
Roll on Duration
The occurance of septic sores and boils amongst the troops in Sinai and Palestine was of epidemic proportions with large numbers of soldiers having to be evacuated from the front line to rear hospitals, often for weeks. An article in the Lancet describes the contemporary treatment of these conditions. Secondary infection with diphtheria organisms was not uncommon when as described in this letter there were outbreaks of diphtheria. Capt H Warren Crowe “A routine treatment for septic sores and Nile boils” Lancet Nov 16th 1918.
Also see “Allenby’s Military Medicine” Eran Golev