This letter is from Fred's brother Norman Garside Firth. His birth was registered between April to June 1898, so he would therefore have been 18 when he was either enlisted or volunteered to serve.
19 Peel Street
Nov 27th 1916
You will see by this letter that I am still at home and I wish everybody else was the same, but it is evident that I am not fit for General Service what for I cannot tell but I think it is either my eyes, or ears which you [know] I am deaf on one of them or my heart being a trifle weak, however I passed for CI Garrison Duty*20 at home but they sent me home again and told me that I should have to go on Munitions when called upon I am now under the Labour Exchange awaiting instruction but still working at the old Silk mill and I have valued it ever since I came back I feel very glad in one sense that I have not had to go but in others I wish I was right a so that I could take my turn with the other chaps They were nearly all married men when I went. We had a day I can tell you snowing just as it was where you went and Halifax looks a "Cowd" Shop at the best hand
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plenty of nice language turned out I can tell you but I suppose it's the way of the Army.
They seem as mad as "blazes" down the street because they have not taken me and Thomas Shaw has decided to write to me because he heard that I had been to Manchester to see if I could get in the Navy and I wrote back telling him that I had got my papers and would soon be a soldier and it must have wakened him up a bit for I have had another letter this morning a good long one and he fairly thinks I am in the Army but "T. Beggar" will be "sucked in" when I write and tell [him]. I don't think I shall hear from him again but I will let you know he says this morning that if he had your address he would have written but I know different if he had wanted it he would have written for it you may expect no good graces from down their for its all our Thomas at every verse end but it has made me mad about him writing just when I was having to go.
Reggie Dean wants remembering to you
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he still keeps writing and said that he hoped I should never have to go different to the other.
James B. Jenkinson told me about a month ago to tell you he has had to join up again this time in kilts he is in the Highland Light Infantry so someone will catch it when "Jinks" gets at them.
Mary Alice has just come up and is telling mother a tale and father has just eating some Pick feet off one of those pigs of Aunt Martha's which has p been killed this week-end we are having half and Fred Holroyd the other Samuel O'Rodgers has cured it for us so we shall be grunting when this week is out
It was the Choir Anniversary last Sunday and we had a very fair day on the whole but the congregations are very poor at present. Both W. Dransfield and W. Sykes are both pleased because I have not had to go so that I can still play the harmonium, and go to the Sunday School especially the former who gave it out in the School just before I went that I was having to go and that the School would joining
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with him in wishing that God would be with me always and I did feel it that afternoon I can tell you but I am thankful I have been able to come home again if it is only for our mothers sake for I am afraid she would have bothered more if there had, had to both of us having to go.
Well I think I will close now Fred [and] I am sure I join with you in wishing this awful job over and when I waken in a morning I wish many a time that you was by the side of me again and everything normal again. So Good Noight Moi Lad.
From Your Loving and Sincere