Reply to me B Company 196 Bat.
Stationed at Seaford Sussex
Dec 6th 1916
Dear Mither & Dad
I received your letter yesterday also one from Aunt Dolly. She tells me she is sending me a parcel for xmas so I expect it is on the road by now for it takes about 3 weeks for mail to come across.
Well my good luck has left me & I am the goat from now on. I was as you will see from Jessie's letter, chosen & recommended by Major Bateman for the O.T.C. We were called out & questioned by a staff officer & he merely asked for my education & turned me down. He did not ask for military qualifications at all. Of course that is not what they want in the army. The worst of it is they took Leetch Smith & King & Wales of the Biggar lads & I was left out & when it comes to drilling a platoon I am sure I can beat any of them, but Wales. Then there is that rattle brained boob of a Smith. He is absolutely no good at all in fact I think he is dotty. It makes me sore to think of it. By the way I am stoney broke & that guy still owes me a pound. It will be some time ere he gets any from me again. I sure would like to have had a chance at least. We were called back this morning to be given a chance but They did nothing at all about it & we go back again tomorrow. I am going to see the Major of the school & see what he can do for me but I don't expect any results but the one and that is that you are out. One thing a fellows chances are much better for coming through alive in the ranks but is looks rather bad. This blooming Country is still full of aristocracy & they can't get over it some way.
They are as old fashioned & so far out of date as they well could get. In London they are more like barbarians in some ways than a civilized nation. Their theatre's are a disgrace also there booze shops which are the cause of so many destitute people on the streets. I am very glad that we are getting beyond it in Canada. If they had a few men like old Sam Hughes at the head of affairs they might wake up & do something. Of course it is expected that Loyd George will be premier in a few days & he is the real live man of the day in England
They are sure doing us on the money question here. They only pay us 1 pound for five dollars & stop about three dollars every month for rations & we get very poor rations at that. Well that is about enough grouching but I am really sore & have a bad cold as well so you will have to put up with it this time. Nearly all our fellows are taking courses of some kind or another & I guess this will throw me out of it all but I suppose I will have to take my medicine with a few other who got the same dose.
Believe me if I had known the dirty work there is in the army I would never have been here. Especially when we see the way they run things no system whatever.
About half of our huts are under quarantine & ours may be any day for measles so if you don't get any letters for a while you will know what is up but keep on a writing just the same for there are two mails a week from Canada & I hate to see one come with nothing for me. I have done fairly well so far for I have heard from nearly all my correspondents since I arrived. I hope if I get turned out of the O.T.C. that we get over to France pretty soon for it is sickening hanging around here.
I sent a bunch of xmas cards away last night. I hope they get through in time as I think they will alright. Am enclosing one to Emmie in this letter. Well mither I guess I will ring off this disjointed epistle & finish it just before mail goes out tomorrow night.
Well this is the next day. I got my sentence last night & am now down & out. If I had been in any other platoon in the school I would have been all right for one thing he wanted in particular was men who were used to handling men. I mean the major of the school who inspected all but our platoon. We had staff officers who like to show there authority. It is kind of bitter medicine but I suppose it must be swallowed.
I had a note from Billy Barker this morning he seems to be quite well but like the rest of us would like to get back across the pond. I went on sick parade today with one of my old colds with the usual cough. I would have done so a couple of days ago if it had not been for that blooming O D C. I hardly know just what to do yet for what are left of the Batt will be split up that is sure & I don't know just what to go into. I may transfer to the railway construction corps. That is if I can get a transfer.
They seem to have a special liking for handing out dirt to everyone who tries to keep himself straight. It sure is discouraging but I suppose I must make the best of it & let them fire ahead for its a long road that has no turning.
Well I had better close this thing up if I want to catch this mail. So as I guess it will be about xmas time when you get this I will have to wish you all a merry xmas & a happy new year
Sent your card a few days ago & will buy & send present later.