1st Canadian Command Depot
This morning I am going to get all your letters answered so that I can destroy them. You know the fellows used to make fun of me because I carried so many old letters around.
The night before last I returned to this place. The O.C. Major Sparling is away, so I have been started at anything yet. This is a training (physical) camp for convalescents after they have been discharged from hospital. There are a large number of physical instructing sergeants so I suppose one of duties of the officers is to take charge of the route marches and over-see the work of the sergeants and men while on parade. The men have five hours work a day, 2 Â½ before dinner and 2 Â½ in the afternoon. It doesn't sound as if it will be very exciting, but rather monotonous doing that day after day. I'll tell you later about that. Monks Horton must have been a country estates. The officers live in a large house, have a dandy cook and live very comfortably. Although this place is several miles from town (Folkestone or Hythe) it may be O.K. It has a tennis court, the Golf grounds have been left uncut and is covered with long grass. There is a billiard table down stairs.
It seems strange for me to be in officer's uniform and amongst new fellows, but no doubt will soon get used to it. Just now I am sharing a room with a Captain. Will tell you more about the change this makes for a person etc. at another time.
Spent my leave in London and didn't use the ticket for Edinburgh. The first three days I slept and ate at Miss Morris's private boarding house 34 Bedford place, not far from Russell square. This is where a great many of the P.Ps stay when in London. There were nine of us for dinner one night. Miss Morris & her mother who is called "London Mother," by many of the fellows, make you feel right at home when you go into their place several of the boys leave money with her to have things sent out to them. She showed me a letter from Zapher (a Saskatoon boy, 2nd University Co.), from a prison camp asking her to send two loaves of current bread a week to him. He was taken prisoner on the 2nd of June. Andy Hamilton (Indian Head) is reported in "Canada" of Sept. 2. as wounded and missing, but I suppose you read or hear about these boys. Andy was a nice fellow, went to the collegiate when I did.
I hear from Wilf Wilson once in a while, owe him a letter now. Tom Yorath and Wilf are still going strong. Wilf writes the a very humorous witty letter. He says he has it on us all but Tommy now, meaning the oldest soldier.
The rest of the time I was at Mrs. Reids. Mr. & Mrs. Reid are extremely good to me, want me to feel I have a home to go to while in London, get a weekend leave as soon as I can, and all that sort of thing. Mrs. Reid will likely tell you about the hurried way in which I left their place to catch the train for here. I didn't get back from town till 5.15 p.m. and the train left Charing Cross Station at 7.05 so I didn't waste many minutes had to change into new uniform & pack all the clothing etc I had accumulated during the week into a sleeping bag. Mr. Reid phoned for a taxi and I got to the station in plenty of time altho I intended going on the underground if I had time and saved 5 s.
I won't tell you about the clothes etc, may get a photo taken when in London again. Looking over your letters, dated May, 15, 22, 29, June 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 26, July 3, 9, 17, 31, Aug. 6 & 16. There were a few more which I must have left in a writing pad at Mrs. Reid's. I have quite a few from Pa, will answer them soon. and the papers have come several times. I saw in one under "25 years ago," where Pa had been the recipient of many presents on leaving his school at Battleford to study Law in Regina. It was dated either June 22nd or July 22nd wasn't it?
The boys at the front, Wilf, Tom and the others must have enjoyed those parcels. I wouldn't mind some cakes or short-bread myself right now. Have eaten a great deal more lately than I used to at the front. I bought several prs. of light socks and the heavier kind are much easier on the feet. I would like to have a pr. or two of those you & Grandma have knitted. It will be getting cooler now. At least it feels that way to-day.
Towels are supplied here but a bath towel would be O.K. Never mind about it. I'll buy a couple cheaper over here.
I saw Harris Turner several times while in London. Took him to a show "Razzle-Dazzle" A Revue. We travelled in a taxi. Hot a good seat so he could hear everything, 2nd from the front. Shirley Kellog, one of London's greatest Actresses, throwing roses between verses threw several in our direction and I caught two for Peck. I think likely she noticed Peck's hard luck and seemed to aim them particularly in his direction. Of course he was in blues hospital uniform) and she made the remark "for the boys who have been in the big push."
This pen is running far too quickly at times. I think it is a good one, just new and needs to be regulated. Tell Mary I haven't collected any souvenirs. Quite a few of the boys get a hold of something but we never seemed to bother about them. It would be nice to have something now but at the time (June 2-4) I don't remember thinking about souvenirs. I'll likely be able to get a few little things. Did you get a large photo of a bursting shell I left money with one of the boys at Epsom to send one home?
Dr. Ross Jamieson mentioned about the mark on my face. I guess I forgot to. A bomb blew lit in front of the parapet and the explosion knocked two fellows standing beside me down, not hurt, and also blew dirt or something into my face, making a cut on upper lip and mark 2 or 3 inches long on the side of my mouth. It has disappeared altogether yet but Dr. Jamieson said it would. It is necessary to let my moustache grow on account of the lump which the razor would cut open. It is very small and no doubt will soon be invisible.
In the letter of Aug. 6. you said you would send snap of Willie in next letter. The letter I received next is dated Aug 12 so there may have been one in between which haven't received yet. Anyway the snap hasn't appeared.
Your letters from the lake are interesting. You will soon all be at home again. Willie has enlisted with several chums. I miss the fellows here and there isn't the same esprit de corps amongst the officers as with the fellows.
Must close for this time. Reg. will do better at Toronto than in Sask.
With Much love to all
Your loving Son
Lieut. J.S.B. with the address at front of letter. No number.