Dear Ones at Home: Just a few lines to let you know that I am feeling better now than I have for some time and am getting fat on this English diet. I just took a good hot bath and shaved, so I feel much more like writing.
It rained almost all day yesterday and has been cloudy and gloomy so far today. We seem to have landed at the wrong time of the year, for pleasure or sightseeing anyway. Although I have seen enough of England to say that I don’t want to make my home here. It seems to be the fad here to have a tooth out in front; it is on account of the water, so I want to move on as my teeth are good enough to say I never miss a meal. One of the boys in our room took the mumps; he has a slight case, so the nurse says, and of course it was my luck to get quarantined with them, but none of the rest have shown any signs of them so it won’t be but three or four more days till we are turned out again. We have been laying around, eating three meals a day, not even having to wash our own dishes, but didn’t get out of making our beds. I tell you, some of us that come back will make some of the girls ashamed of themselves in a house, even to cooking, as we all get a chance at kitchen work.
You would have a good laugh at our shoes as they weigh between three and four pounds apiece, not pair. They are more comfortable to march in than our civilian shoes were; that is one thing they are careful about in the army that everything fits good before you start across the pond. I have an outfit that I am proud of as it is well matched also. I am not stuck on our caps, as they are small—nothing to protect the eyes; we have to wear them on our ear like a tough guy; we will be tough also when we get a hold of the Kaiser—not putting on any then.
It rather looks now like we may never see Berlin. I want to see the job done up right as I don’t want to have to come back in 10 years more and do it up right then, because when I take one more trip on the pond, I never want to leave the good old U. S. A. again ...
(From "In the World War")
State Historic Site
ROY LEWIS GRAVES was born in Coryell, Texas, in October 1894. He moved to Sheridan in about 1915, going to work as a driver for the City Bakery. When he registered for the draft in June 1917, he was working as a grocery clerk for the Dollar Mercantile Company.
During the war, Graves served as an auto mechanic with the 27th Machine Gun Division. He served overseas in England and France before being honorably discharged in April 1919.
After the war, Graves returned to Sheridan and worked as a car repairman. He later found employment as a driver for various moving companies and, in 1942, held a position with the Holly Sugar Company. He died in 1969.
This letter, written on October 10, 1918, at Salisbury Green in Southampton, England, was published in The Sheridan Daily Enterprise on November 6, 1918. In it, Graves tells a little about life in an English hospital.