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Date: July 28th 1940

c/o Chief Postal Censor,


July 1940

Dear Jean:

Another month just about seen through - and I have now been 3 months in the Army, and almost 4 months away from home. Already the days seem to be shortening up. We notice this more especially on account of the black-out. it looks like a winter in this country for us. Tho maybe Spring will bring a more hopeful outlook.

Believe it or not, I was at church this morning - the truth is that I didn't have much choice, because we had a church parade - and officers not on duty were expected to go. We accompanied a squad of about 60 men to the Church of England in a nearby village - marched there & back. I rather enjoyed it - This part of the country has the quaintest old villages in it - and each has a very old church - I wish I had time to make drawings of them. Several are very old, dating back over 500 years - that is to say part of the structure will be that old, with perhaps addition or restoration of the rest of the building. In some cases the tower will be of more recent date, in other cases the tower will be original - This is a farming district - and therefore relatively stable - without much change through the centuries. As all the buildings are of stone - permanency is a key note. Some of the old farmsteads are as ancient as the churches - they are like stone fortresses out buildings & house arranged in a square and connected with a high stone fence - Some have loop-holes for defense - and smack of the days when a mans home was truly his castle - and his fortress - It is ironic that if Hitler should succeed in landing any troops in the country by air - These old places may once more have great strategic importance. It typifies how the clock has been turned back through centuries by the rise of brute forces in this enlightened (?) age!
Just now the country is at its height of beauty. Grand old trees line the roads and crowd around the farms and country homes of the gentry - the fields are lush & green with pasture & crops - Beautiful scarlet poppies grow in thousands along the road sides. The estate we are occupying has some beautiful lawns & flowers - I poke around the rose beds and pick out the nicest buds - with you in mind. I am more than ever convinced that we must see this all together - how often I wish you were here to enjoy it all together.

So far I have not been able to get into Stratford-on-Avon to see any of the Shakespeare plays - but may be able to get in some night next week -
I had a note from Major Lloyd - who visited Victoria last summer - he is in London most of the time, but hopes that we may get together soon. He returned from France not so long ago, and seems anxious to contact me. I also spoke to my old professor Mr. Bourne on the telephone the other day - All these people seem anxious to give us a real welcome to show their appreciation - We seem to be the first Canadian troops to be in this part of the country - and people stop the boys on the roads & in the towns to say how much they appreciate us having come so far to help. They are genuinely grateful - and its nice of them to say so.

There is no further word about my transfer - but these things take time, and I am hoping soon to find my place or niche when I can be really doing some significant work.

I got a nice letter from Mr. Orchard during the week, saying they were sending some cigarettes. So far no word about Lorne - and no letter from Frank Swannell - I gather from your last letter that he has not gone out on a job - I hope he will find a place in the home defence activities if that is the case.

Am looking forward to news about our house - it will be splendid for you & Mary to be in your own home - Do you think they can have it ready for this fall?

Well you girls - supper is ready - so I had better get read. We eat at Canadian hours here - supper at 6 p.m.

All my love to you both -


Have you heard from Gertrude?

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