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We are always interested in any documents relating to the history of the village and are delighted to have been supplied by Roger Smith with the following transcripts of two old letters. Roger's Great Uncle Bill mentioned the Vineyards in his 1918 correspondence home. Bill was a driver with the 37 Squadron Royal Flying Corp.

Transcript of Letter 1 from Bill

Thursday Vineyards
Great Baddow

Dear Sis & Ma
I landed at above quite OK although itís a very nice place & all that its not London.
Should say it will be alright when things settle down at present its been d- hard work in fact Iíve had quite enough of that stuff since Monday morning. Instead of loading my own lorry & getting away had to boss the loading of two more sent to help us. Got them away & gone of course landing me in for more work so I am now properly tired, the Adj. is a proper pig. Sorry! Been delayed as the QMís came into the mess & I played and beat him at billiards, silly isnít it. But he is very upset at the Adj. going on and was asking me what I thought of it. So you see I am going on pretty fair. He also told me 10 Sqnís have been outed from their Ďdromes & flown home the ďPersonalĒ do not know where they are!!! So if they come home look out for France, told the QM if they did I would want some leave isnít rotten have you heard from France since the rush? Had better not tell Ma all this or she will be bobbing on F being taken prisoner or some other fine thing.
Everyone here uses the same mess at present the Sergtís and Cpls are now in our mess having their supper while two AMís are playing billiards & yours truly writing? Will finish this off and write again when possible or it will get left undone. Send my love to the girls & all that hoping to see you soon; if not ride to town my WR is not too far off. Love and kisses your brother .

Transcript of Letter 2 to Bill from friend based in Vineyards

10 Whitbread Road Brockley
Dear Bill
Excuse me keeping you waiting so long for an answer to your letters. Your luck seems to have quite deserted you poor old chap, Eamman got the Colonel to write for your transfer to xxx but it all seems to no avail. Cheer up old sport thereís an end to all things somewhere. You will note by my address that I have started leave.
-- I ainít Ďalf enjoying it ----
Xmas went off very well at Vineyards as usual a select committee was formed Gamma, Jennings, Cotherall, Davies & your humble were the five, Cotherall went on leave until Xmas day so his help was little. Davies went on leave until the New Year & Gamma got blotto, so poor old Jennings & I had to carry on the whole affair & not withstanding that it was a success. We had 36 to dinner & 75 to tea. Dinner started off with Turkey & Vegetables (two) then roast Beef & veg then Xmas pudding & mince pies, then Vellus blancmange, with wine nuts then coffee so you can guess that J & I had our hands full. Then we had to have 1 pastry in the officers mess & another in the menís do. Then dancing until 3am refreshments ad lib throughout the evening & wine the same one or two got hopelessly Drunk as it was all free including Sid Clark he was blotto by 12.20pm. Xmas day remained in a nasty argumentative mood the whole time & Messrs Keegan & Berry had to put to bed. The officers behaved splendidly the whole way throí & Jellico cut quite a figure as a splendid dancer, quite was Kathies heart, we had also plenty of kissing games which all the officers thoroughly enjoyed, so did I. Jellico personally thanked me for the show at the end of the evening or rather early morning. We did miss you though. I am sure you would have helped us. How difficult it is on such occasions to find one with an ounce of common sense to help. I shall be so glad to get you with us again. I have a regular affair every week - xxah cannons in the town xxxx. Every Wed or Tuesday we have a musical evening & dance there, got up for the boys by the girls there is nothing to pay the girls stand all that when are you coming out eh? do hurry up. I am still with Mrs. More & still doing fine there. This twelve days leave is making the Vineyards very busy as they are so badly arranged at present from transport alone ( & for another week) away, me ďmyselfĒ, Nield, Bird, Jennings, T. Knight all the Pillows together. I bet they are in a hole soon.
Canít write any more old sport Iíve got about seven letters to write.
Yours ever & ever old sport - wishing you the best & a speedy recovery.
Happy New Year.

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