Dear Grace,

I can’t miss my best correspondent this mail as I think I have written to all except father and what it would be injustice to you so here goes.

First of all you need not expect me back for at least two months after receiving this so don’t waste time looking through boat rolls.  I am the 29th officer on the list to leave the Battalion and there are a good many officers to go who were on Gallipoli some of the men who came over with me have gone but officers.  Things are different, only one officer per 50 men are sent.  I am filling in time as well as enjoyably as I can.  I wander all over this place on horseback and per boot looking at all sorts of the historical places and I am now hatching a scheme to enable me to visit Cologne and Brussels and since I am financially embarrassed I sent a cable home for 20 pounds to be sent to Aunt Clare.  Did Pa receive it? Dancing is all the go in the battalion now and we hold dances every second night.  The Italian band supplies the music and the regimental funds supply the necessary supper.  The Belgian girls are a bit rough but it does not matter as long as they can hop and our diggers don’t mind.  I am sports officer and arrange these dances and have all sort of funny experiences getting girls to attend.  If one girl is invited and another is not there is a row.  Once we invited a girl who was on the local ‘black list’ and the Major stopped the dances so we have to be careful.  Some of the lasses weal coal trucks and some clean out stables and come to dances, plus the smell but no one seems to mind and I’m sure that I don’t just as long as everyone has a good time.  At supply time these girls are in their element and no girl has ever been known to refuse anything offered.  They must have hollow legs I think.  In the last village I was in the local lads boycotted the local lasses because they said they associated with Huns when they were here and now that our boys are here it is just the same and the local ones are wondering when its their turn.  I have just been down to the village on the railway about 4 kilometers from here where the Huns blew up three train loads of shells three days after the armistice was signed, the village was practically blown down by the explosion and some civilians were killed.  Hun prisoners are being employed to clean up the mess and lots of them get killed in the process of removing the dud shells.  It serves them right as they should not have blown up the stuff in the first place.  Nearly all the towns and villages around by Charleori can tell stories of the Hun atrocities during the first few months of the war.  Nearly all the surrounding country was a scene of heavy fighting.  The Belgians are very friendly with the Australians and think it a wonderful thing that Australians should raise 350,000 voluntary to assist them.  When they say that Australians would not have had any interest in Belgium of theirs.  Lady Madame where I am billeted looks after me like a Dutch Aunt and puts a hot brick in my bed at night and changes the sheets every three days or so.  I will close now your affectionate brother.

Walter

23/2/1818

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