27th December 1919. Harry's on the move!!

Harry's written this card to Jack on  27th December reporting that he'll be on the move on  the 29th.  Coincidentally, the Card shows Tortona - the same location as his first card from Italy back in November 1917. Then, he bought the card as the troop train stopped on the way to the front. Perhaps this will be his last stop before leaving Italy. Note that it's been "Passed by Censor". That must be a relief. I suppose that the military machine is always insecure. (I have just inserted a scan of that first card - not originally on the posting. Click on the link above to view it and see if Harry's writing has changed much in the intervening two years. BL)

Dec 27/ 1919

Dear Jack

Just a line to let you know that I have received the tin of tobacco. I was very pleased with it. Do not write again till you here from me as I am moving from this place on the 29 Dec. Will send post card as soon as possible.

Tortona is a few Kilometres to the North of Arquata Scrivia, his base for the last few months.  The town is on the main railway line across the North of Italy, towards France

Questions in the House, 28th December 1919.

With Harry in Italy for Christmas, questions were asked in the British Parliament's House of Commons, about Him and the other soldiers left in Italy. Winston Churchill provided the answers.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY asked the Secretary of State for War how many British troops are now in Italy; and for what purpose they are still in that country?
§Mr. CHURCHILL The present ration strength of troops in Italy is 3,250, including sick in hospital. These troops are required, partly for the guarding of Austrian prisoners, who number about 2,300, and partly for the custody, storage and handling of surplus Army stores which have been handed over to the Disposal Board, and are awaiting disposal. The prisoners will shortly be repatriated, and the Ministry of Munitions, I understand, anticipate that the disposal of the surplus stores will be effected in some six weeks' time or less.

Perhaps the end is in sight for Harry and his comrades. Thanks to Rocco for spotting it BL

Please note this is slightly out of Chronological order (a day or two early) but this is a deliberate decision. BL

From a loyal Harry Follower - Christmas greetings

Rocco, one of the most loyal and supportive readers of Harry's blog has sent the attached greeting.

May I join him and send best wishes to everyone who has made this website so successful and rewarding.

Harry clearly won't be home for Christmas with Ethel, Willie and Connie. At least, he's safe and can now, surely, anticipate the end of his military career.

Letter to Jack, 11th December 1919

There would seem to be no real sign yet of any progress towards home.

Harry has also been very unfortunate with leave. I had assumed that he had a leave in the summer of 1917, but from his letters it's clear that he went from his leave at the end of basic training, in the Spring of 1917, right through to September 1918. Now he has completed another fifteen months without a break. So much for the entitlement of two weeks leave a year! If he'd stayed with the York & Lancasters, it would appear that he would have, at least, had a leave by now.  BL

address now 1st Garrison
40843/ Royal Munster Fusiliers
A. P.O. L1
IEF Italy

December 11/1919

Dear Jack
Just a line to let you know that I am alright and in good health. I don't think it is any good writing about getting home as their is no chance of getting home for Christmas it looks like being more like the middle of April before I get home. I might manage it a bit before. all the prisoners are going home this month so it will make it a bit better after Christmas for us all. I am very pleased to here that all are going on alright at home & keeping in good health. I hope you and Agnes have a Happy Christmas & New Year. I am sorry that I shall not be at home for it but I am in good health so that is something. Write as often as you can and let me know all the news and send me a newspaper or two. I will write again soon.

With Best Love to you both
40843/ 1st Garr Batt
Royal Munster Fusiliers
D. Coy. 17 Hut
A. P.O. L9 IEF

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