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Date: October 17th 1915
Harold Johnson

Letter from Sandling

We are in receipt of an interesting home letter from Pte. Harold Johnson, formerly of McCool, written to his people there. We give below parts of his letter.

West Sandling,
Oct. 17th, 1915.

Dear Mother:-
I received your letter this week as usual and was very glad to hear from you. It always cheers me up when I get a letter from home. In your last letter you said you had not heard from me for two weeks. I cannot understand it because I have written once a week all the time; they must have gone astray somewhere. Maybe I have been telling you too much about the dropping of bombs around. Of course it is news for you but maybe the Censor would not let them go through, so I can only tell you what I am doing myself and there is not much for me to tell because I am doing just the same day in and day out.
I am feeling in best of health and pretty good in spirit. We are very comfortable here now, we have tables to eat off and that is a lot better. I weigh about 180 lbs now so am not poor by any means.
I have seen Allen Hagar. We have been out together three or four times lately, last Saturday we went for a bicycle ride to Canterbury. It is a very old and artistic town. The Canterbury Cathedral is the most beautiful building I have seen. It would take a good afternoon to go through it, and some parts of the building were built away back in 1000.
I was through an Art Gallery the same day. There was some very fine old paintings and wood carving. It was all very beautiful.
We are having very nice weather now for this time of year. Of course we have "some" rain and lots of fog in the mornings. This morning at Church we could not see the minister for fog. Of course we are out in the open field and as there are about 3000 men at church, you are not very close to the Minister. I wish I could go to the Sunnyside Church just once more anyway. Quite often I go to Church in Folkestone. When I am in town on Sunday night I generally go to the Soldiers' home for supper and there is a lady there about your age and I go to Church with her. She is quite motherly to me, but it is not the same as home.
I have no idea when I will be going away but expect to be ready to go across as a signaler shortly after the end of the month.
I can read about 10 words a minute on the buzzer and send about 12 or 13 and that is as fast as we are required to send it. We have to have more work yet on laying wire and the use of field telephone now than anything else. It is a great little invention, a telephone and buzzer combined. It can be run by either the ground or metallic circuit but they use the ground mostly because it is much quicker. The other day 4 men laid out 420 yards of wire, got connections with the other instrument and reeled the wire in again, in 9 minutes. I was one of the men. So you see it does not take much time and the men that come back from the front say that speed is what is required and I think that could not be beaten.