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Date: November 26th 1916


Nov 26/16

Dear Hazel -

This is Sunday evening and my usual time for writing to you. I really don't know just where to start as I have forgotten what I wrote in my last letter.

We are still at the ranges but expect to go back to Witley on Tues or Wed of this week. It will seem like - almost like - going home again to get back there altho from what we heard today I don't think we will be there very long. When we have completed our shooting we are supposed to be ready for France so I guess we will soon be there. It will be quite a change for most of us but we will get used to it there just as we have become accustomed to Eng.

I saw Lee yesterday for about half an hour. He told me that a draft from the 134 was leaving tomorrow and that Alex and quite a few of the Strathroy boys are also on it. He said he was picked but turned down because he needed some teeth fixed - I guess his teeth aren't in very good shape. I hope we both go in the same draft - I am not sure whether I will be a signaller or not. Someone was telling us that the signallers all had to go to the Signalling base but I don't think that we will. Our sig. officer told us that as we were all qualified men that we would go right to the trenches.

The Germans are certainly driving hard at present altho one can't tell just what it means. The Allies certainly have lots of men and guns over there now.

I haven't had any mail from home for over a week now I guess it is being held at Witley. I got a letter from an old neighbour and schoolmate in the S.C.I. Lorne Cutler. He is at Shorncliffe and wants me to meet him in London soon. I would certainly be glad to see him as he has just come over and was home for about a month before he came over. He enlisted in Edmonton and is a sergt. major.

Mac Macpherson - I think perhaps you have heard of him - hurt his knee in a scuffle the other night and has to go up before the med- board. One feels very badly about it and we all hope he wont have to go back without the rest of the bunch. The signallers have made an agreement that once each year we will meet and have a banquet in London - no matter where we are we are bound to come back for the celebration. Rather a good idea isn't it. We haven't decided just when the first one will be - perhaps there never will be one. At any rate it is almost too much to expect that we will be there - who knows.

A bunch of us were down at Farnborough yesterday. It is quite a nice place and we had a dandy time. They are all R.F.C. men there as they put the machines together there and test them. We see some very daring "stunts" every day. To see one Loop-the Loop is quite common and they soar away up out of sight even on a clear day.

I like the camp and surroundings here very much. There are some fine places near here and the huts are good and warm. The main thing- the eats are punk we hardly get anything to eat. We get issued with a pound of bread a day and I see that German prisoners here get 1 ½ lbs. of course we get more to eat than bread- stew and potatoes usually.

Two of the fellows are having a big argument about each other's appearance and will likely develop into a row as they are both half pickled. I see that I was mistaken - they have settled down to a game of checkers and all is quiet again.

I got a letter from my cousin Rita Collins the other day. I think perhaps you have seen her. I think she said that she spoke at the teachers' association at Strathroy. I never expected to hear from her but she wrote a dandy letter- 20 pages. I couldn't imagine who it was from when I saw a great big letter waiting for me.

There was a big batch of papers both Toronto & London came in here last night so we have been fairly busy since. I have been reading the Xmas Strand and Story Teller. There are some good stories in each of them.

I was just remarking how little we have to write about just now and everyone agrees with me. A lot of the boys just write about two pages and then quit. I think I will have to do that too until something a little exciting happens. I suppose we won't be able to write hardly anything from France. Some of the last draft from the 134 are mentioned in the casualties of today so it doesn't take very long to get to the front line once one leaves England.

I ran across a fairly good snap of myself the other day and didn't recognize it at first - can you imagine a fellow not knowing his own photo. I had forgotten all about it and will have some printed and send you one just so you will have a faint idea of what the guy looks like that you write to and who writes quite often also. We have certainly exchanged quite a few letters since I came over here havent we. I hope you don't keep mine as I know some of them are foolish. I destroy all that I get from you - not because I don't value them but because it is necessary to keep others from getting a hold of them.

This is quite along letter and there isn't very much in it. I am sorry but I hope I will have some new stuff to write about very long. Well Hazel I guess I will stop for tonight as I have to write to mother. As long as I write to mother and you I feel alright. The others are very welcome correspondents but don't count ie not nearly as much

With lots of love

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