Noel to Mary Downing Letter, Oct 1916

Below is a transcript of a letter from Noel Downing to his sister Mary Downing, dated 23 Oct 1916. Noel has taken up his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Welsh Guards and is back in France. He would only have been with his new platoon a few weeks. 


Welsh Guards B.E.F.




My Dear Mary

Thank you very much for your letter. Are you aware that Daisy Hatton scribbled all over the back of the envelope. I’ve just had a very amusing letter from her about Willie & Ernest Harrison, I think the plenty of whiskey story is one of the best I’ve heard of him.

I cannot gather why Mr Foster is a missioner or what he is doing in Hagley but anyhow I hope he was a success, if he came to get money I don’t expect he was. From your letter I judge that you have been kept busy at the hospital, the new matron sounds a bit comic. I am getting on all right with the platoon, tho’ I was trembling in my boots all morning as we had a General Inspection and I was warned that the old boy might ask me some of their names & other awkward questions. He went round the whole batt. & as he finished each platoon he mentioned various items of their kit, which had to be got out for his inspection. My platoon had to show water bottles and entrenching tools. I found the latter were in a filthy state but luckily they had plenty of time to spit on them & clean them while he was going round the other companies, so when he came back everything in the garden was lovely!

You asked me if I would like some solid ink. I [am] afraid it would be no good for my pen as it is self-filling. The solid ink has to be put into the pen doesn’t it & then fill it up with water? Please thank Daisy for her letter.

Yrs Ever



Letter from Noel Downing Oct 1916

Letter from Noel Downing Oct 1916 – page 1

Letter from Noel Downing Oct 1916

Letter from Noel Downing Oct 1916 – page 2