Dear Hilda,

I had a letter from you 2 days ago and learn that you have left your place at Drummoyne.  I feel sorry about it in a way but sure agree with you that you should be getting more for your work than you were.  However I suppose there are plenty of other places where you can earn a crust if you want to.  For all the fuss Gert as from what everyone says. She was a very lively kid and made the home bright etc.  Today we went to Chaleroi with the remaining of the battalion and amassed in the square of Marcinelle with the dregs of the division and were addressed by Billy Hughes.  I had a “front seat” as it were and Billy stood by a rickety table and talked.  I was so close that if it would have been me who would have picked him up if he had fallen as I really thought he would when he became vehement.  He gave us the usual soft soap and spoke of his experience of the peace conference and was not enthusiastic over the methods employed there.  He candidly did not think that the delegates were also doing much good and thought they were only filling in time.  He also spoke about retaliation of the attempted assassination of Mr Clemenceau the French premier to which he paid a tribute.  The address finished up with much clapping and cheering whilst he was speaking it rained a smart shower and one of our officers held an umbrella over him and someone else put a mackintosh over his shoulders and we were all amused at his protests. He is popular with the troops as he is Australian in his manner of talking and gets straight to the point and is tearing into the heads in politics like one thing here and is making friends and enemies wholesale.  He wont stand any fooling about and quite right to as he reckons we fought for our interests in the pacific and says they should not be tampered with.  Well old bean can’t say when I’ll be going home for certain but suppose I will eventually arrive.  The present rate of repatriation is 15,000 to 20,000 a month but owing to strikes the shipping is hard to procure as there are still about 100,000 to goodness knows where my turn comes in.  Well bon soir old thing well close with best wishes from your affectionate Brother Walter 23/2/19.

 

 

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