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Date: November 9th 1916

Nov. 9/16

Dear Hazel.

I haven't written for a few days so here goes for a few lines. There is nothing new to write about so don't be disappointed if this letter isn't interesting. I don't have dances etc to write about like you have and that makes it a little harder to write doesn't it. This is Sat afternoon and I have nothing to do but write so don't be surprised if I write several pages.

I am enclosing a couple of snaps of myself and the other of McAlpine and I. They aren't very good as they were taken after a route march and we were a little tired Lee just came in and started to bother me but I soon got rid of him- in the usual way. He intends going to Godalming this afternoon to buy a Xmas present for his "wife" whoever that is. He was at London last week but neclected to get anything. He is what you might call a "peculiar guy". If he reads this he might be sore but I don't think he can see what I am writing.

This is a grand day and I know I should be outside but I can be excused when I am writing to you. I just wrote a letter to mother - I always write to her first. I have rec'd four letters from her this week so I guess I really owed her one didn't I. I also got a letter from Oliver Campbell - a very interesting but almost unintelligable letter. Did I get that right. He certainly writes an interesting letter and tells a whole lot of news. Lee just came back - He won't stay away for some reason or other. He is a mess orderly this week and wants me to take over his job for tonight so he can go away but I am not looking for work. He is arranging for some kind of a trip tomorrow but I expect a friend up from Shorncliffe so won't be able to go with him.

I suppose you have skating and sleighing over in Can by now. It hardly ever freezes here and we have had some delightful weather lately. My pen has just run dry so will have to use the old pen on the table here. Eight bags of mail have just arrived so will likely get a few letters several from you I hope. I am always looking forward to getting letters from you - I suppose that isn't very surprising under the circumstances is it? I got a letter from Lil yesterday. It almost made me feel bad. She seems to have changed - she appears to have suddenly grown up since she started school and I guess I always wanted her to stay young. She and I were always great pals and there seems to be a tendency to grow apart as we get older. Lee has just settled down to write so I hope he won't bother me any more.

I don't know whether we will get Xmas leave or not. They are working out a scheme here to allow the boys at the Front to leave so we won't kick at all if we don't get a pass. Harold McAlpine and I are going to Scotland if we can get away. Our col has promised us a real Xmas dinner - Turkey Plum Pudding etc if we stay here so whatever happens we will likely spend a happy Xmas.

I don't know when we will go to France. There is another draft leaving here next week but I don't think I will be on it altho one can never tell when we will go. This is a training base here now and the drafts go directly to the front from here. Some of the old 135 boys have been wounded and are back here in the hospital already so you see it doesn't take very long. They all seem to think that a fellow is very lucky to get wounded and I guess it is about right. I don't think I would mind having two or three gold stripes on my arm as long as the wounds weren't serious. Unfortunately one has no choice in the matter. There was a Russian courtmartialled and shot here the other morning for stabbing another soldier - Justice is certainly sure and quick on Active service.

A bunch of we signallers had rather a narrow escape the other day. It might have been serious and again it might not. We were foolish enough to walk over some ground that had been mined by the engineers. Of course we didn't know that but the place was out of bounds. The mine exploded just about two mins after we crossed over it and certainly scared us more than a little bit. I guess after this we will look where we are going.

Lee is writing Lillian Smith - his dear cousin as he explained to the fellow next him. Ralph Brock is sitting beside me and is talking all the time about getting some cake to eat. I understand that Leon has some and Ralph is throwing out gentle hints. I hope he succeeds in getting some as I will likely get some too.

Say, did you ever sit down for so long that you got rather tired of sitting? Well I feel just like that now as after an hour or so these hard benches get on the nerves. I don't mean "nerves" exactly but you will understand.

The batt'n are putting on a farewell concert for the next draft on Monday evening. I suppose it will be pretty good as they have some excellent talent in this bunch. There is to be a smoker afterwards so I guess we will have a good celebration. They have lots of good times here and the time really doesnt go so very slow. I think you mentioned getting the "Long Long Trail", ‘The Broken Doll' etc They are not exactly new over here but are very popular. I suppose you have the piece. "Pack all your troubles in your old kit boy". It is a swell marching song and is very popular also, and "If you were the only girl in the world" we have lots of singing here and there are lots of concerts' in the Y.

Someone has just arrived with a bunch of eats so will have to stop writing for a while as I can't eat and write at the same time. Brock wants me to go down town with him so I will have to stop writing and get fussed up. You see it takes quite a while to get dressed when we have our kilts spats etc to put on. I would like to see you in kilts - you certainly will have to try them on when I get back. Did you remember when I used to pretend I had kilts on. I never thought then that I would ever wear the real thing.

Well Hazel this is quite a long letter considering that I had no news whatever to write about. Perhaps I will write again tomorrow ie of course if anything eventful happens before then. I must stop now or I will never get dressed.

With loads of love

Original Scans

Original Scans