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Date: September 26th 1915

Sewell Camp
Sun. 26/9/15

Dear Ruthie

You'll see by the above address that I've made a slight change. After a good deal of thought I came to the conclusion it was my duty to join the army. There are five of us boys & all single, so when other families are sending two, three & more 7 married men are joining, its up to at least one of us to do our bit. - I along with other five boys from Stobarts, & about 30 others, members of St Gyles Church, (Presb) joined the 61st Batt (Overseas_ Canadian Exped Force, on the 1st of Sept. However as we required to give our firm some notice, I didn't quit till the 15 and then on the 20th we all separared at Osborne Barracks, W'Peg to get our transportation to Sewell Camp where the batt is stationed for the summer months. I had quite a time during my last three days in town, two parties, & on the last night St Giles gave us a big farewell banquet, & then presented each of us with a New Testament. Sewell is some 120 miles West of the Peg, and is purely a summer camp. There are some 10 to 12 thousand of us there and of us at present under canvas, infantry, cavalry, artillery, & the various other corps, medical, etc, so Sewell just now is quite a city. There are four picture shows, & numerous stores & shops, of course of a temporary shack order, just like a new mining camp. The YM have a large recreation tent, & another one for correspondence where they provide stationary gratis, but I'm writing this on a suitcase on my knee in my tent, while about a doz of the boys are playing cards & singing all the latest chorouses & nigger melodies. They are a very decent bunch from good homes, & mostly Canucks, so life at camp is just like a holiday. The batt as you would imagine is very cosmopolitan, Canucks, British, French, + some Indians, 7 even got a brown bear cub, as mascot. Our duties so far aren't very onerous, reveille sounds at 6am breakfast 730, grenade at 830 to 10 for physical drill, then from 10 to 1230 batt drill, 1230 to 2 dinner, then drill till 530, supper is served and then we are free till 930, lights out at 1015. Of course if one is on fatigue duty the above schedule is altered. The other night we had a route march of some 12 miles and didnt get back till 1am some 19 hours duty. Personally I like the life fine, a camping is nothing new to me. We are getting on well with our drill, in fact our instructor who is an old country soldier says we are the smartest bunch he has trained in 24 years and the Col & Major who are members of St Giles are tickled up the back to have us, and the other day after drilling on the prairie the Col allowed the base coy (our coy) to lead the batt back to camp. The first time they've had that honor since the batt was formed, so you see we are getting on. I don't expect we will be long in Sewell now as it is getting pretty cold, and I guess they'll soon send us into Winnipeg. I guess we'll be there till Spring, but when we be sent to Eng & thence to the front I don't know. Anyway the chances are that I'll have a trip home about a couple of years earlier than I intended - I wrote you a letter soon after I got back from my holidays & enclosed a few snaps we took then, I guess you got it all right, though Ive had no reply to it. However anytime you write just post it to the old add 417 Andrews & they'll forward it to me. - Things are jogging on in Winnipeg much as usual, everybody is well, except Stephen, he is very much run down just now, & for the past few months has been troubled with bed sweats, almost nightly, & gets up with his pyjamas soaking. I think he intends to lay off for a few holidays, as he has been working too hard. Is there any fresh news from home? We've had one letter from Bob from Preston giving an account of his new work. I guess he will find it rather trying after the cold of N. Ont. When I left the Peg we hadn't had word from Phil for some time, & of course none from Jim. I'll write the three of them while here, & may perhaps fetch a reply out of Jim. How is everybody at home. Frank, Sara & Jessie Skinner. I wrote Jessie the other week. Were you in London during the late Zepp raids? Were you aware at the time what was happening. I wrote Auntie N about a month ago in reply to one she sent. I suppose all you folks at home will be heartily sick of the whole dreadful war by this time, but I guess we've got to see it through. Any news about the meeting folks, deaths, marriages or births. I guess that's about all the news Ive got in the meantime, I'm going over to see a football match this afternoon (Sun) between our batt the 61st & the 46th. I went to the church service this morning in the Dominion Theatre, & I may either go to a service in the evening in the J.M or go to a concert got up by the Lieut in our batt. Recreation room. Any word of Sam McGaw is he in the trenches now, & so far unwounded? I suppose you are still holding down the same old job, any idea when you intend to quit. Well I guess I'll close now, so hoping you are well & expecting to hear from you soon.

I remain
Your affectionate bro