A Letter from Pte. N. Browning
Below we give in part, a letter received by Miss Browning, from her nephew who is at Sandling Camp. This letter was dated July 28th.
Dear Aunt Lizzie:-
Things are going on as usual here, about all it amounts to is trench digging, instructions and long marches. We did an eighteen mile march Tuesday and quite a few of the fellows had sore feet after it, me for one. I had five blisters on one foot and two on the other.
Premier Borden and Gen. Sam Hughes inspected the 2nd Contingent a week ago, about 14,000 soldiers were there, but I don't think that is the whole contingent. It rained pretty heavily for awhile. The inspection took place at Beachwood Park. This last month it has been raining almost every day.
About three weeks ago the 4th Brigade held a Field day of sports. Lord Brooks, the Brigade Commander, gave a cup to the Battalion making the most points. The 19th won it easily. The 4th Brigade consists of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st Battalions. Lady Brooks presented the cups to us this afternoon, and also other prizes won by different men.
According to what you told me of Lieut. Morgan's men, it doesn't do to expose oneself the least bit. Those German snipers certainly must be great shots too, by stories we hear from men who have been there. I think the man who exposes himself without cause does no good for the country or himself either.
A lot of the men are taking a course in bomb throwing. I am going in the next class. From what we hear it is a great thing at the front for a man to know how to make one, light and throw it. A lot of bombs at the front are made of small jam tins packed with a few bits of iron broken from an old stove, some stones and pieces of gun cotton besides the explosives. They put nails, bolts, screws, etc., in some of them, but of course all these are used when the shrapnel runs out.
The Colonel told one of the fellows in our hut that we would be away from here with in a month. It was good news, everybody seems pretty tired of staying here. I don't think the U.S. Germans will ever raid Canadian Territory. I am sure it wouldn't do them any good. But I think if the U.S. go against the Germans, they certainly will have outbreaks there and bad ones.
Well, I got my furlough alright, six days. I went to Glasgow and couldn't have had a better time. I got there a week ago Sunday morning at 9 o'clock. Mr. Wilson and one of his brothers met me. That day we went to see three of Mr. Wilson's brothers living in Glasgow. We also went to two or three Parks and through the big Art Building there, which is certainly a fine place. In Glasgow they have lady lamplighters, lady ticket collectors at the stations, boats, and also car conductors. Monday we went to Dunoon, a summer resort where another of Mr. Wilson's brothers is staying for the summer months. They gave us a good welcome. Tuesday we went to Helensburgh, where Mr. Wilson's sister and family are staying for the summer. Next day her three daughters, us two and another fellow walked eight miles through the country to a place called Luss, just a small village near Loch Lochmond. Right around there is the best scenery I think I ever saw. The water and hills are fine. We sailed down Loch Lochmond to Ballach and took the car from there to Dumbarton where we took the train for Glasgow. Thursday we went to Rothsay. The beach there is something like Scaraboro Beach Park. We went on to Wemmess, and later on to London and then back to the camp. In London I met the Co. Quartermaster Sergant, and we spent the time together, seeing all the sights. Considering the time we had we saw a great deal. Well, I had six pretty good days of furlough and am certainly glad I went to Glasgow for them.
We have a little trouble drawing our money, as they are keeping $20 off each man before we go to the front. They call it a reserve; in case a man gets discharged, he will have something to fall back on.
Your loving nephew,