From Pte. William Hardaker 63702 Tuesday, January 30th. Same address.
Dear Bro. Well by the time you get this I suppose you will be thinking about joining up. Libby said that they told you it was no use appealing for you. I am sorry for that for father and mother's sake; of course the life will do you good if you take to it. I feel a lot better now than I did when I came up.
Now when you get your outfit of clothes be partickular about them see that they fit you, if they don't make them alter them until they do, and above all be carfull about boots, get them just a little too big, not much you know, just so that you can wear two pairs of socks, then you will only have one pair on and it will allow your feet to swell a bit when marching.
Now, when you get your kitbag see that all is there. If you get all you have: 1 greatcoat, 2 suits, 2 pairs of underpants, 3 shirts, 3 pairs socks, 1 muffler, 2 pairs of boots, a hold-all which contains knife, fork, spoon, lather brush, comb, a house-wife which has needles, thread, a ball of wool, and buttons, also a toothbrush. Then you should have 1 hairbrush, 2 blacking brushes, 1 cloth brush and a button brush and button stick; you should have 7 brushes in all and 1 tin of blacking. You must get an old toothbrush for your buttons and a tin of 'soldiers friend', its a kind of pinka. I forgot to say you will get a cardigan jacket.
Now the best way to wear this is on top of your shirt, you know, under your braces. Its a bit cold now so I advise you to keep your waistcoat. They wont let you put it on at Preston but you must shove it in your kit bag. They will also give you a pair of gloves; and don't do like I have done, go and lose one because they will allow you to wear them, and another thing, bring a cricket belt with you it comes in handy for gims; you don't need to unbutton your braces then.
Well, I think this is all about you kit.
Now when you do get in the army above all keep yourself clean and buttons polished; you can do the lot in 5 minutes; and keep your hair short at the back. When you're drilling pay attention to your own instructer - never mind anybody else - and you wil be alright. Then, when you are off Parade, don't slink about with your hands in your pockets and dressed any-way. Walk about smartly as if you were on duty and if you are asked to do anything do it cheefully but always wait until you are asked unless you will benifit personly by it. You see by doing so you get the habit of obeying at once and it comes as second nature when you are on parade. I have seen men here when they have been given an order all at once jump about and stare all round. They have been lost all together by letting their thoughts wander and that makes an N.C.O. wild I can tell you.
Now, they will shew you how to dress where you get your clothes. When you take your putties off just cut the corner off one of them then you will always get the same one on the same leg every time, if you don't they will look a mess.
Now Harry, I think I have told you all I can just now.
We had a good route march this morning. I was with the advance guard. I might say that this is a grand country round here. You don't see any stone walls, they are all hedges, and I have not seen a factory chimney since I left Preston. We are about 5 miles off Rhyl but you can see the water quite plane off the parade ground.
Well, Libby says that you have brought me a box of cigs; I thank you very much for them. I am sure it is very good of you to remember me and I had forgot to say we have been practising bayonet fighting with rifles this afternoon; only the first stages yet. We were in a hut we had no bayonets on.
Now I think this is all this time so wishing you the best of luck in the new life you are about to enter.
I remain your affectionate Bro. Willie.
PS. You must send me your address as soon as you poss can and I will write to you from here. Also you must buy a handle for your kitbag and keep it locked and you won't get a razor so you must bring your safty (but) above all keep it out of sight as now they can't get razors because they were made in Germany so they give you 2 [stroke on paper which might mean something - cut-throut?] instead so keep it out of sight until you get it. If you have kit inspection the officer will notice that you have none, he will ask you where it is and you must say "I have not had one yet, Sir". When he speaks to you always stand to attention and never speak first; and another thing, never forget to salute an officer when you meet one. Don't be afraid of them because he's only a chap after all.
Goodbye for the present and we may meet somewhere in the mud yet. I hope father and mother are in good health, also you and Albert. I myself am in the pink. And don't let them put the wind up you; that is frighten you. Do your own work well and you have nothing to be afraid of and if you want to know anything don't be afraid of asking. Any corpral will tell you anything you want to know and take my tip and choose you pals wisely, don't get in with a fast lot or you will soon find yourself on the rocks.
I must close now or they will be shutting the place up through being short of ink and I hope you will bear in mind what I have told you. Be like Uncle Jim, look after No.1.
Notes: You will say there are some spelling mistakes in this text; I have used the spelling of the original letter. Have added some punctuation marks which are not in the original. I am sure William will not mind. I don't suppose he ever thought that a letter to his brother would be available for reading in this manner some 80 years later. I have not found out who Libby is yet but I have a vague memory of hearing her name when I was young. Other names come back as well but I do not know who they are as I have nobody to ask now. I have also found some photographs of people with no names on the back so I do not know who they are. I have no idea who Uncle Jim was.