Thursday, 25 September 2014

Thanks for the Tobacco

From The Halifax Courier, 26 September 1914.

[The Halifax Courier had set up a fund to provide comforts for local men in the services. This letter seems to be from recent volunteers, rather than the Territorials  - possibly an artillery unit.]  


Here are a few lines of grateful acknowledgment, and yet while being racy they somehow fill up the throat:-

Dear Mr. Editor,
We, the Halifax recruits at Newcastle received your parcel of cigarettes and tobacco this dinner-time.  We were all delighted, because money has been very scarce.  It was with the greatest pleasure we realised that the townspeople of our beloved Halifax had not forgotten us.  We had a good deal of sport during the process of distribution, the pipe smokers getting the loose tobacco and the other chaps having the full benefit of the Gold Flakes.  During the afternoon, whilst out on the Town Moor for drill, we had the full enjoyment of the weeds (this, of course, during the interval given for resting).  Allow me, on behalf of the "chums," to thank you most heartily, and also the readers who have come forward so readily to help.

Perhaps, your readers would like to know how things are going with us.  Well, to begin with, we all found it very rough, our first meal being a thick chunk of white bread, with a cup of tea (minus sugar and milk) to push it down with.  Now this has been remedied, and we are having tip-top food.

The sleeping was a big change, too, because we were all used to good, warm, and cosy beds.  Whilst here we had one army blanket each for covering, and the floor of a Council School as a bed; but we are in the best of spirits, with a united desire in our breasts to serve our country, in all and every peril.

After another week's drill we are expecting being despatched to either Ipswich or Aldershot, for gunnery practice.  Our fellows all seem to miss their nightly "Courier," and many's the time one or other of us has been on the point of addressing a newsboy -- "Have yer t’ ‘Courier’?" only to remember sharply that we are far away. -- Thanking you again, on behalf of the Halifax chaps here,

I remain, yours sincerely,
Y.M.C.A., Newcastle-on-Tyne, Sept. 24.

[The rest of the piece is about the Courier Fund and how it is being spent.] 

Next Parcel -- For the Territorials at Riby.

There are over 1,200 in this camp, so to go anything like round a very big parcel will be necessary.  The first parcel could only reach about 300 men.  We hope the Fund will enable us to despatch a more generous parcel this time.  Most of the soldiers at Riby (one of their number informs us) have nothing to smoke, and they "do so" want some.

Hotels, clubs, tobacconists, &c., are invited to assist this cause by collecting cigarettes or cigars for our soldiers.  Thousands upon thousands of boxes are filled in London daily by customers being asked to “Spare a smoke, please, for Tommy.”

Every District round Halifax should rally to the support of this Fund, because the gifts go to their Lads, as well as ours.

Address help please, whether in goods or money; to "Tobacco, Courier, Halifax,"

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