No. 3 Co. P.P.C.L.I
Friday Sept. 10. 1915
It is now about 4 pm and a swell afternoon. France is a very nice country and I would like to take a trip through it, lots of big trees and several roads.
It is over five months since I left home. We have been through so many new things that it seems a long stretch of time. I've seen the Leaders dated Aug. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 & 21. and have read about the golf, trouble over the exams etc. They have re-organized the Home-Guards and I see Uncle Bob's name with a number of other old timers. In an earlier dated Leader We read a letter from Grant McNeil ( I didn't know him) from Shorncliffe. He wrote that he was beginning to be comfortable with a board floor & three blankets. Iread the letter aloud and we had a laugh at parts of it, one of the fellows (Turner from Saskatoon) said he would give $8000 for a board floor & 3 blankets. Another letter mentioned Dan MacDonald's name. Dan was taking away a hen from an old lady's yard and she stopped him. I expect to see Dan before going into the trenches again and will ask him about it.
In the golf, Laidlaw won the championship. I was sorry Mr. Donaldson didn't win his game against Laidlaw. I suppose Mr. Donaldson hasn't been practicing lately. He defeated Laidlaw last year and I think would have this year if he had been playing more.
You & Pope had a good game in the 2nd flight. Is Pope an old & experienced player? I see Mr. Gray's name as well as yours in the 2nd flight. You had an easy win from Lundie and Anderson and then defeated Uncle Jack. Three wins out of four is pretty good. In the handicap you made 8 5 - 6= 79 which was pretty good. You lost by a small margin to Dr. Young. There were 3 of you tied for 2nd place. How was Froom disposed of? I noticed what you made in the other scores but will not mention them. I read carefully anything in which I see your name - the exam trouble, the work at city Hall etc. I had forgotten you were President of the Sask. Golf [Association?].
The sergeant major read a telegram to-day which told that 8000 Germans, 200 Officers & 30 guns had been captured by the Russians. There was some cheering among the fellows and general excitement. We had sports day this week and the band was present. It sound great to hear a band play the good marches and popular music. There were no records broken but there were a few good runners & jumpers.
We have an easy time while at this rest camp, only a few parades and fatigues. A few nights ago the whole Regiment went out on a digging fatigue. It was the first time we paraded together and the four Companies made a long line. We must be up to full strength now with the 2nd University Company here. We were digging up behind the line in a reserve trench around an old chateau. We often go up there, most of the digging is done there.
Sat Sept 11.
I left this yesterday to go to a communion service held over in a quite grassy corner in one of the many fields. It was conducted by a minister in Khahi who preaches to us on sundays while in rest camp I've heard him two or three times. Quite a few of the fellows were there, [Wilf?]. Wilson, [Lurn?] Clark & myself went over together. The service was conducted very quietly and sincerely. We sang "abide with me", in closing. I wrote a little when I came back but the short candle I had, burnt out and I went to bed.
This morning we were up at 6 breakfast 6.30 and paraded, the whole regiment at 7. We don't usually get up till 7.30 but this morning was a special parade. Colonel Pelley gave us a few orders and dismissed us after an hour's parade.
I'm glad I'm here with the fellows and often congratulate myself for enlisting when I did. It mustn't be very pleasant for the young fellows at home. So far we have had a pretty good time and the experience one gets seems to me to be worth the chances you run. Once in a while we have a hard route march and are tired but when it is over I feel better for the whole thing. It is a satisfaction to know that you can do these things when it becomes necessary. It is between 3 & 4 miles to the chateau and we often walk 10 miles or so and never feel very tired, quite different from what we could do before.
From the papers when at home I got the idea from the general statements that there was continual bombarding, firing, fighting etc. It is a lot different from that, at least we have found it so. Everything near the firing line is quieter and more peaceful looking than I ever expected. There are stores & estaminents (drinking houses) within 2 miles of the firing line, often closer. The old Pats. told us of a store at one place, right at the end of the communication trench.
The last 4 or 5 days there has been more shells fired and often quite heavily. Just now I can hear the rumbling of shells. We are making preparations for action I think, getting smoke helmets and respirators fixed up. I can't say too much because of the censor but it is more than likely we will be in real fighting when in the trenches next time. You'll likely read about it before this letter gets there. We have been fortunate in that we have had a month in the trenches before seeing any action. It is the folks at home who do the worrying and bear the burden of this war. Our minds are occupied with daily orders etc. and our spirits are kept up by one another.
I sometimes think we are doing the only and right thing. In that case we couldn't be doing anything better with our lives. It is to our mothers and fathers that God must be kind he will restore peace and comfort to them after this war is over.
We go into the trenches Monday night. It will only be a mile or two to the right of where we were before. The firing line is generally the best place to be in when they start bombarbing, better than in the supports. From what I hear we will be in the front line.
Another thing I want to mention in this camp - After dark it looks and reminds one of the camps in older days. The singing sounds great from the huts in the evening.
I have your letters dated June 23, July 27, And Aug-23. I get all the letters. Sixteen days is the shortest time taken by any of them. You were right when you thought the Princess Pats are in a quiet part of the line. I suppose you are all back from the lake now. [Lum?] Clark and I often talk golf. We discussed the tournament last night. of course he knows Laidlaw & Saskatoon Players. You write the weather has been cool. Ma was telling of the heat. You must have had both. It has been rather cool since we came to France but we are having some hot days now with chilly nights.
The letter you & Ma wrote on the 22 nd of Aug. took about 17 days. I'll answer it soon. Dinner is coming up. Much love to all.
Your loving son