September 23, 1916.
My dear Mackenzie,
Before leaving I promised to write to some of the boys at the Grove, but goodness knows where they all are at present, and I've had precious little time to spare till now.
What boys are left with you that I know? Where are the older ones gone? and what new ones have you got? Excuse this string of queries but it seems so natural at this time of year to know all these things. Helen tells me you don't expect a very big year. Ut was to be fathered that the money strain would be felt before long. So many of our boys' people are in the game in some way or other.
The only old Grovian I've run across so far is Beresford Hamilton. He gave me news of George Hilliard, Eldred Cumberland - now a sergeant with a "cone" coming - Morris and Dick Oliver are also getting "cones" I think. The school is holding its end up.
The more I see of this life, the more I wish all the officers were of our Canadian boarding school type. They certainly forge to the front here, and all the schools will have a big roll of honour of all kinds when this infernal business is over.
Canada has been in the thick of it lately, and they call for oceans of men. I can't see where they're to come from unless we come to conscription like England.
I haven't seen much of the country yet - on Sunday afternoon at Canterbury and three days of London. The country is stripped of men not in Khaki, except the old of the feeble.
All this corner is Canadian and altogether under Canadian control. I don't know that it is an advantage.
I've been acting in command of a Company practically all our time here, and most of the other company officers are away on courses. It's been fairly busy going. I expect the next draft will leave me no men except P.E.D.'s, i.e. the unfit on permanent base duty. Then I shall clear out to a course for three months, and may get over for the Spring Push. It's disappointing and slow work, but I suppose the red hats know what they're up to some times.
Remember me to all the boys, and tell them to be sure to lick T.C.S.