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Date: December 5th 1917

Maresfield Park

Wednesday 5/12/17

My dear Gertrude.

Three long letters from you to make up for the break. One on Monday written Nov 4 - on yesterday Nov 7 - & one today Nov 1st. They come in no regular order. And yesterday the parcel also for which many thanks - the apples in fine condition & looking splendid - especially as the apples we have been seeing lately have been all of the green varieties. Rather curiously I had just been up to the tailor's to get the shirt, collars & tie that is included in our outfit & on my way back heard there was a parcel for me & on opening it - the first thing I found was your tie - infinitely better of course, than the provided one. I have not worn my "joy-rags" yet - although most of our Company have done so for 2 weeks or more. My tunic needed alteration after trying on & when I got it - I found they had no flannel shirts in, only cotton ones - & as they were to have flannel in soon decided to wait, & did not think of getting the collars & tie till dinner time Saturday when they were closed - so only did so yesterday. We need them for the first time next Sunday as for the two weeks we are in "D" Company, we do Church Parade duty - only one Company going each Sunday - besides that the only official time for wearing full dress is Saturday Battalion parades - & on Guard - all from "D" Company onwards. The fellows don't appreciate the Battalion Parade as the rifles we have to carry are oily & naturally don't improve ones shoulder straps. For ordinary parades we wear the usual service dress and for guard mounting swords instead of rifles with our full dress.

What I set out to tell you in relating all this - is that I will be able to wear your tie the first time I put my "Joy-rags" on.

Have managed to write quite a lot of Canadian letters & notes between Sunday & today. Frank Storrs (via you) Syd (via Muswell Hill) Harold Brown, Mc Creighton, Edith Strachan, & Letter Cards to Qualicum & White Dog. I see it is 9.30 so must close & get "home" & put my bed down etc.

Thursday 5 pm

Just in from Pay parade. I may as well in this letter finish up your queries about Kit. Yes we get £50 from the Government to pay for our Kit & start with - of course, no further later, & it is less £9 for which they give us our Cadet outfit - or part of it - as we only get tunic - Breeches - Cap, Puttees, one shirt, 2 collars & a tie. Boots are not included. The mistake about "buying a Commission" I always found very prevalent in Canada. I conclude it is due to reading the earlier Victorian novels - Thackeray - Miss Anaten, the Bronte's etc & Dickens. It was actually abolished & entrance by Examination substituted soon after the Crimea War - in the early 70s I believe. It had of course nothing to do with laying outfit but was somewhat like holding seats on the stock exchange. A Regiment had so many officers of each rank - so that if a Captain got a promotion or retired - he sold his "place" to the highest bidder among the Lieutenants - & a Lieutenant could sell his to anyone - provided I suppose he was approved as a suitable person by the Colonel. A curious system - a survival of much earlier times.

I will give further attention to your letters on Sunday. Dinner is earlier to-night (6-10 our first sitting) owing to a boxing contest in the Cavalry Machine Gun Lines (our neighbours in the Park) & the post goes at 7p.m. so I had better close. Did I in my Sunday letter ask you to give my Christmas wishes to Mr & Mrs Chapple & Spencer & Jenny - I am not sure if I did. Will you please do so although this letter is more likely to be in time for New Years day. I ought then to wish you a happy New Year - with all the changes necessary in it to lead to contented happiness for us & everyone.

With much love,

Yours Jack

Original Scans

Original Scans