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Date: April 7th 1918


Sunday 7/4/18

My dear Gertrude

Sunday morning again. The weather is & has been quite April-like all week- showers & bright sunshine intermingle - the air quite sharp when the sun is not out. I think I wrote you on Thursday and there is not a great deal to relate since, time mainly filled with parades, with walks at every available opportunity.

On Friday evening Freeman & I set off as soon as tea was over for Aldershot. I wanted to get a brooch for mother if I could for the 10th, really a combined Christmas & birthday present, which I had intended getting as I passed through London. I tried one or two shops but did not see anything I especially liked & of course my time was limited that morning.

We had a splendid walk to North Camp & I left Freeman there to get his hair cut, in a good place he had heard of, whilst I took bus on to Aldershot, to get the shops before they closed. Tried several jewelers & at last got, not exactly what I wanted, but a fairly presentable brooch with our badge on. Just a plain good plate cut out to the shape & the detail engraved on by hand - the plate put on a plain pin.

Then I had a poached egg supper expecting Freeman to turn up, but he did not appear. Afterwards I went to the pictures & waited for him in the Vestibule till eight, when I went in. There was quite a good program & I left at 9.45 to get the 10 bus back here. When I got out I found it such a clear starlight night that I decided to walk back from North Camp. So took the bus there only. Had a very enjoyable walk & landed in at 11.15. Freeman arrived in the same way about 15 minutes later, with Dodworth, they had met each other & missed me.

Yesterday we were of course free for the afternoon. It was however blustery & wet, so we retired to our billet to read till tea time. After tea F. and I had a good walk - in spite of two heavy showers & after dinner we had booked for the Garrison Theatre, a large barn like hall, brick walls & an open iron roof, but a proper stage at one end. Saw a comedy "A pair of Silk Stockings" - quite enjoyable & good fun and a fairly good company. 4 men & five women - two of the men very good. We went to the second "house" 8.30 to 10.30 so did not have a late night.

After Lunch

I haven't your letters or mother's last one here, so it looks as if I must go up to "Fairseat" to go on with this. F. & I had a good 6 mile walk this forenoon- It has clouded over at present but may not mean much, however we may have been fortunate in taking our walk early.

Fairset 20 mins later

Just did it in time-started to rain as I reached the garden here & is coming down in torrents now with some hail too. I have been reading through mothers last letter & will enclose it. Although she repeats a little of her former. The shirt sleeves she had been lessening were those of the Christmas one. She thought they needed it although they were not uncomfortable as they were. Norman Willis is the boy who came in one Saturday whilst I was at home. He is one of the under 19 boys who have to go overseas.

I will go on to your letters. I can't think what the photo could be of cadets or anything resembling cadets - oh yes I believe he had his photo taken at Berwick with some of the Church lad's Brigade - which he ran at his church - it must be that. I probably had a copy. As to your day dreaming about the landing stage at Liverpool - the law would not be a difficulty to contend with. In any case for soldiers no waiting is necessary. I am not very well up in the ordinary marriage laws but there is not ten days required. It is always possible for anyone to get married at once in a Church by a Bishop's license - but it is costly. The cheapest way is by ordinary license which costs 2£ - & means residing 3 weeks in one parish but as one day or rather Sunday of the 3rd week is enough. 15 days is the minimum period. But beside that there is the registry office, where you are married by an official for a 2£ fee - & I don't think any time of residence is necessary for that. I have always wondered why such places were not provided in Canada instead of requiring an Atheist to be married by a Christian minister - which most often make the for of service almost blasphemous. Of course the idea of being married at a Registry office is rather horrible to me & although one fairly often sees wedding parties going in to such offices yet it is a procedure seldom gone through by ordinary respectable people. Of course it is useful for special purposes. Say two people of some peculiar new Church, which has no permission to marry people, or two Mohammedans say - can go through their own peculiar form of marriage & then be legally "tied-up" at a Registry office.

I know two makers of special furniture on Young Street but am not sure if Redpath's is one, Don't seem to recall the names. One was a small shop just above Blour Street on the east side but he did some good work. It ought to be quite possible some day to utilize a lot of the old walnut you have. The buffet would perhaps be as good an idea as any - & from what I remember of it, the stuff ought to work out suitably.

Have got to your latest letter - 4 weeks ago today written therefore on my first Sunday on leave from Lydd.

No- officers wear the service chevrons an inch above the cuff on the right sleeve. The peculiar marks of various colours on the upper arm near the shoulder, are usually divisional or brigade signs - so that the different units can easily be identified.

Yes you seem to have had a good program at the Deaconess Training School. Perhaps you do not know that one or two of our first lessons are read from the Apocrypha.

The rain has passed over and the sun is out and the birds having a good musical time. There is a lovely garden here, with a summer house - & we are splendidly treed - it will be a glorious place in a months time. All along the road sides here there are curious hedges I have never seen anything like it before - A wall about 3 or 4 feet high & 2 or 3 feet thick is built up of grass sods - & on the top beech & willow & all kinds of bushes have been planted. The general appearance of the wall is like rubble stone with grass growing at the joints but it is peculiar to see the high living hedge growing out of it - in some cases instead of a continuous hedge- a line of small trees. Of course turf is used a lot in military procedure.

Hope to go to Church to-night. Don't know if I will be able to get Freeman to go with me or not. Must write or at any rate finish Mother's letter.

Hope all is going well with you.

With my best love
Yours Jack

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Original Scans