Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: May 2nd 1916
Aunt Becca

51st Bn. M.G.S.
Bramshott Camp, Hants,
May 2nd 1916

Dear Aunt Becca,-

After a long and pleasant trip we arrived in camp all well and safe. We left Edmonton on the 1st of April and have been traveling nearly all the time until two or three days ago. The weather was fine when we left Edmonton but we found more snow and the weather colder the rest of the way. The Machine Gun Section had a car to ourselves, about thirty-four men in the section, which gave us plenty of room and comfort in the car and we also were fed very good while on the train. Every day or so the train would stop at some station for about half an hour and let us off for a little march around to stretch our legs.

The country all the way from Winnipeg to Halifax is very rough and rocky and all around the shores of Lake Superior there is nothing but wild rocky hills, but very low and wet through the part of Ontario we went through. We were telling some of the eastern Canadian boys that it was hard to beat Sunny Alberta.

We stopped in Montreal about two hours, and were inspected by the Duke of Connaught and some other officers, then started off again and pulled into Halifax about noon time on the 7th of April. When we left the train down by the wharf, we went into a large ware-house building out on a pier in the docks where they load freight ships on each side of the pier and all along the wharf. The second floor of the building was fitted up for barracks and we found things quite comfortable there. We were there about 12 days before a boat came after us, and nearly every day we had a march through different parts of the city. The streets are very poorly lighted and the buildings are very old fashioned and dark looking. I like the western cities the best.

I had a look through one of the boats in the harbor there, and one of the engineers showed me through the engine room and explained the different machines and how they worked. Then I went up on deck and had a look at one of the big guns and they showed me how they worked, so I spent a very interesting afternoon.

On Tuesday the 18th of April we went on board the boat, had our dinner and straightened out for another journey. We went the same as third class passengers, had our meals in the dining room which were pretty good. There were four beds in our cabin and they were quite comfortable. The weather was good and the water was quite smooth but not like a lake. The wind blew against us pretty had for a day or two which made her go up and down, and sometimes when she dipped her nose down and a wave would splash over the front part of the deck. When the first wave came, two or three of the boys were nearly washed overboard, so after that we had to stay on the back deck while it was rough.

Sam and I didn't get sea-sick at all, and we couldn't help laughing at some of the others feeding the fishes. We spent Good Friday and Easter Sunday in mid-ocean. We were on the boat 10 days, and 8 days there was nothing but water to see. There was nothing to do so we had lots of time to do as we liked. It was just after dark when we reached England on Thursday night the 27th and anchored out in harbor for the night. Then the next morning she ran up to the wharf to unload our supplies and baggage and that took until dinner time. Then we had some sandwiches and got into the train again and were off in about twenty minutes. I had to laugh at the trains over here, the freight cars are not much larger than our wagons are and only two wheels on each end. The passenger cars are not so wide and long either, but the trains run much faster, most of the time we were going sixty miles an hour.

The country here is very pretty. The roads are all made of crushed stones and rolled down hard and smooth. Everything is fenced off with hedges, fields, lanes, driveways, roads, and yards are all lined with big oak and many other kinds of trees and hedges. The grass is quite green here now and I don't wonder at the English people saying how pretty things are over here.

About 11.30 that night the train stopped at a little town or village called Liphook where we got out and marched out to camp about a mile and a half from there. When we reached camp one of the other battalions had a good supper ready for us, and I think most of us done justice to it.

The camp here is quite comfortable and up to date. I don't think there is a tent in the whole camp. The place is laid off in squares and paved streets run down between the lines of buildings which have good floors, and are about 20X70 in size and are lighted by electric lights. The country around here is high and sandy so I don't think we will have much mud to bother us.

There are several villages around the camp in different directions, all within about two miles and on Sunday afternoon Albert, Sam and I went for a walk into one place called Haslemere. It is a pretty little place.

Albert got a letter from his mother and heard that his brother is in the hospital. So he got leave from his officer until tomorrow night, to go and see him, and his mother. It is only about 40 miles from here to London so it will not take him long to get there.

We expect to get six or seven days pass sometime this week or the first of next and take a trip up to London to see the sights.

After I had my nose operated on I could not get away very long at a time, and my head was pretty sore for a few days so I was unable to get over again. Do you still stay there alone, or have you made other arrangements? What is the weather like there now? It is raining here today but it has been fine for some time. This place seems to be a long way from home.

We are all quite well, and hope you are the same. I can't think of anything more just now, but will write again when we come back from London. This is just a brief outline of our journey. It has been so long since I have done any writing that I have nearly forgotten how. Well I must close for this time Tell some of the others I will write soon. I am sending my address.

Well good bye Aunt Becca and best love. XX
Yours Sincerely,