Ross Smith, image courtesy State Library of South Australia B6101
Smith, Ross – July 1918
July 7th 1918
My dearest Mother.
We had to send someone down to Beersheba a few days ago so I sent my camera down and got 2 photos of Hogarth’s grave. I am enclosing one negative & will send the other in another letter in case one should go astray… The graves are well cared for & the cemetery is fenced in & there are young gums growing inside it.
…. I’m still feeling very fit and enjoying myself. There is lots of work on & I have been flying nearly every day but have had several trips down to the beach & tea afterwards at Jaffa. We had some surf boards down there a few days ago and had great sport with them. …
I haven’t had any more scraps, and its very slow and monotonous work patrolling these days. We are sent out to patrol a certain part of the line & just have to fly up & down that part for about 3 hours. Its alright for the first hour but after that the clock won’t go nearly fast enough.
We have just erected a monument to all our fellows we lost last year behind the Turks lines last year when we were in front of Gaza. It was the time when the Huns had the better of the deal by virtue of their better machines & they got a good lot of our machines. One machine was shot down by “Archies” at a place called Hariera which is about half way between Gaza & Beersheba. The Turks buried the pilot & made a big T over the grave in the shape of an aeroplane. … After our advance we found this & have since had a marble slab made with the names of all the men we lost about that time put on it and have rebuilt the I thing & built the marble slab into a concrete pillar & fenced the whole lot in… We played another cricket match to-day, against G.H.Q on their ground. It was a fine game & they just beat us by 10. I only made 1!! They had a jolly good team including Lord Dalmeny, the ex Surrey captain, & several other well known men…
I had 2 cards & a letter from Keith last week & he said he was very fit and seemed quite happy, he has done jolly well. Sorry I have no more news Maw but will try & write more next time. With very much love from your loving son Ruff.
Mrs. Andrew Smith.
July 30th 1918.
My dearest Mother.
Just a wee letter. The Doctor, Capt. Harris has written a lot of hot air to you about those 2 Huns I shot down & he tells me he has told you to publish it. I don’t want you to do that Maw and it must not be published in any paper nor come before the public in any way at all. I know you wont publish it Maw but if you want to show it to a few of our friends I of course have no objection provided outsiders don’t get hold of it.
The old Doc. told me he wanted to tell his wife about the show so I gave him a few particulars but on the condition that it did not appear in print. I read what he wrote & he evidently thinks I’m something of a wonder but that sort of thing happens every day and I did not get my D.F.C. for that show only. D.F.Cs are not won so easily by a long way & plenty of men have shot down 4, 5 & even 6 Huns in one day. The Doc. is rather an old man and is a good old sort & has done a bit of writing at various times and as a matter of fact he has not only written what did occur but has put in a lot of “eye wash” as well. If that thing did appear in a paper I would lose every bit of respect of the fellows here that I have got, in fact I don’t think I could stay in the Sqdn. It would take me too long to explain why but I’ll tell you when I see you but in the meantime you must see Maw that absolutely nothing about any of my doings appears in the papers. That means more to me than almost anything else, & I want you to remember that Maw in case any miserable reporter wants to know any thing about me.
There is no further news but things are going very well in France so that’s the main thing. My workshop & office tent caught fire to-day but we managed to get nearly everything out but the tent made a fine blaze.
I must get this posted now so goodnight Maw & very much love & I know you won’t forget what I’ve asked you. Your loving son Ruff.
I really mean this Maw & I wont be happy until I hear that you have got this letter.