Letter from France 1918

“A Soldier’s Letter.”

Private Vereker Lloyd, writing to his mother, Mrs A Lloyd, of Leonora, from France, under date 20th February, says: — Just a few lines letting you know I am quite well at present, and hoping you at home are all the same.

I just received a big bundle of letters from the West, I do not know how many there are, but lost count at forty. They are dated from the middle of last year up to December. I have not received the Christmas cards or any parcels you sent.

I saw Langley (a brother) a few weeks ago, I was coming out of the line late one afternoon and met him about a mile from the front line going in relieving us. He was surprised to see me and came down next day early to see me. I have seen him a couple of times since. I gave him a lot of your letters, and he was pleased to get them.

We had our Christmas two days ago, (18 February) and had a bonza time.

Our company had a lot of wins during the day. We had sports of all kinds. The last race of the day was the greasy pig one. Whoever got the pig kept it for his own Company (for eating). “B” company got the pig and we took it up to our cook house and killed it. He was a “boshta c’mpre”, I can’t talk French much. Of course, our reason for having our Christmas dinner that date was because we were in the firing line with three men to a tin of dog and six to a loaf of bread at Christmas time.

Well I could not tell you this before, only a mate of mine (Jim King) is going on leave to England and he is going to post it over there. Did you ever get the cards I sent for Christmas? They were not up to much but I could not get any good ones.

I got a couple of letters from Trena and I will write to her tomorrow. I saw Les Samken, Norman Burrows, Mick McAppion, Harry Rouley, Steve Grace, and a lot of others. They are in my battalion, I also met Ted Lugar, Alf Needham, Tom O’Leary, Jimmy Copley, Mortimer, and V. Vout of Lawlers.

Having no more news I will have to sign off for the present. With kind regards to all old friends, and with love to all at home from your loving son, Vereker Lloyd.”

 (“A Soldier’s Letter.” The Leonora Miner 18 May 1918)

LLOYD, Vereker Raymond:

Service Number – 5430

Place of Birth – Deniliquin, NSW

Place of Enlistment – Blackboy Hill, W.A.

Next of Kin – (Mother) LLOYD, Alice Stella

Occupation – Chauffer

Age on Enrolment – 21 years and 1 month.

Vereker attended the Leonora State School and his name appears on its WW1 Roll of Honour, also the Country Roads Board Honour Board and the Town Hall Honour Board. All three boards are now located in the Gwalia Museum.

About Jessie Roberts

Roberts, Jessie Mary


Jessie was born in Deniliquin on 31st May 1876, the daughter of Mary Ann (Marianne) (1831-1885) and John Roberts (1811-1889), a Baker from Linlithgow Scotland. Her parents were married in Deniliquin in 1872.

Her sister Isabel Rose Roberts (1872-1877) was born in Deniliquin in 1872 but died there four years and eight months later in 1877.

Her mother died when she was just eight and a half and her father died 4 years later. Both are buried in the Deniliquin Cemetery. Her mother’s grave was renewed in 2011 and celebrated in a “cemetery walk” that year.

It is believed that Jessie was then taken in under the wing of a Perrin family member, who would have been her step brothers and sisters from her mother’s first marriage to Mark Perrin.

She won a book prize for scripture at school at about the age of 13, and later moved to Hay to take up employment in about 1898.

Jessie was employed at Mr. Rawnsley’s Confectionary store and was provided with accommodation adjoining the business there.  In July 1900, aged 23 years old and not yet married, she appeared in the Hay Court as a witness in a matter regarding a theft by a Mr.  Carter. (The Riverine Grazier, Hay, NSW, Friday 3 Aug 1900, page 2.)

While working in Hay she met, and later in 1902 married, local builder Harry Rowley Emerson.

They had two daughters Marion Isobel and Jean Alva. She spent many years doing volunteer work for the Red Cross. In 1947 Harry sold his building business and retired and they moved to the sea side suburb of Cronulla on the southern side of Sydney.

Jessie maintained contact with her Deniliquin Perrin step-family throughout her lifetime and loved to receive visits from them when living in Cronulla. She died in a nursing home at Lindfield, Sydney on the 4th August 1973 at the ripe old age of 97. Her ashes have been interred at the Woronora Cemetery, Sutherland along with those of her husband’s, Harry Emerson.


(Courtesy – Pamela Bryant and David Brunker.)