LETTER FROM ENGLAND.
Capt. D. W. MASSEY WRITES(Dentist serving in England.)
Dr. and Mrs. Garland received following letter from Capt. D.H. Massey:
Your very welcome letter came to me two days ago and I was much pleased to hear from you again. First, let me thank Beulah for her share in the letter. I appreciate the 'smiles' very much.
I want to thank the Doctor for The Cobourg World. I enjoy the home papers very much. I am supposed to be getting the Toronto Daily Globe although I only get about one in seven, but I may receive them more regularly now as I have sent them my present address.
Let me see, I think the last letter that I wrote to you was on March 4th and evidently you had not received that when you wrote as yours is dated February 26th.
Well, I wrote you my room mate and I were in quarantine with the 13th Canadian Reserve Battalion. After I was there two weeks, I received a telegram from Lorne on Tuesday, March 13th, saying they were supposed to leave Friday morning for France. I saw the sanitary officer and our officer commanding was in also that afternoon. I was allowed to go out and given six days leave. I went to Folkestone the next morning and in the afternoon went over to Risboro Barracks where I was, about two miles from Folkestone. Their hour of leaving had been changed to Sunday. I spent the time with him until nine o'clock Saturday night, as much as possible. They left camp about midnight Saturday night. I stayed in Folkestone over Sunday. Monday morning I went up to Sandling, about six miles, and visited two camps, West and East Sandling, where are several dental officers I had worked with in Montreal and or met elsewhere. Don Wilson is in charge of the work there, but at that time he was in the hospital with quite a cold. At West Sandling, I called on Lieut-Col. Floyd and Lieut. Dean Mallory who had been attending some school of training but was back again. He and Col. Floyd seemed to be together in the one room. Victor Elliott is in the Laboratory at East Sandling. He is transferred to the Infantry.
I returned to my work in our clinic here Wednesday morning. I had a card from Lorne just saying, 'I am well' over a week ago, but no letter yet. He went over with the Heavy Battery. Lorne and I had two or three real good visits since I came over to England. I have had six day's leave twice. The General in charge of the Canadian forces in England has granted six days' leave to be taken during the next three weeks to all of the dental officers in England in appreciation to the excellent service they have rendered.
For two months I did not have any word from Brighton or Colborne but this month I have had several letters, but none too many, I can assure you. My friends don't realize that perhaps that I am here a long way from any of my Canadian friends, and from home.
Your Union Prayer meetings seem to be successful. I notice mention of them in the Cobourg World. So Dr. Purdy is in khaki also. There are 133 dental officers in England now and 43 in France. Very few dental officers are being sent to France. All men are supposed to be dentally fit before leaving England. I understand more dental officers are coming over from Canada soon.
If the militia in Canada are called out, that will set free 50,000 or more soldiers for overseas.
You say you cannot buy potatoes in Ontario. Well, it seems there is a scarcity the world over. But if a grocer charged 60 cents a peck he would be brought before a magistrate and heavily fined. I think it is 1 1/2 d a pound, the maximum price, fixed by the Government. We get potatoes twice a day but only a small helping. We may soon have to do without them for a few weeks but we shall have to eat turnips, Brussel sprouts, parsnips, etc. Many a spot never before cultivated is now being dug up and planted with potatoes. I suppose our weather here is much warmer than you are having. I am taking up the habit again of walking about an hour every morning before breakfast. This morning I went out without an overcoat and I was perspiring some when I got back. Of course we are living in the country but the population is much more dense here than in Canada. Night before last, I walked half an hour in one direction passing through three villages, Shoreham-by -Sea, Kingston-by-Sea and Southwich.
The country roads here are mostly macadamized and are hard and smooth, and they are not so wide as in Canada, that is, there is no grass on each side of the road, but the driveway extends the full width of the roadway. In any towns or cities I have been in the streets are narrow compared with those in Toronto and I do not think I have seen a street as wide as King Street, Cobourg. The railroads and cars here are altogether different, too.
At each stop there is a station on each side, or rather the station is on both sides of the tracks and the platforms are on a level with the car floor. No one is allowed to cross the tracks at the stations excepting by overhead bridge or underground passage. The cars are in compartments seating six or eight, each compartment separate from all others and the door of the compartment opens on to the platform of the station. Some of the newer cars are made slightly different. Usually the trains go very fast and much oftener than in Canada. You seem to have much the same opinion about the war and the liquor traffic in England as I have. The liquor traffic is the curse of all curses. There is great agitation here now for prohibition not as a temperance measure but for the sake of economy. It is just possible the Government will buy the whole business. I was not in favor of this at first, but it may be the first great step towards total prohibition. It is under Government or State control any way by the license system. If Lloyd George is in favor sufficiently long, I think the traffic will be abolished. I shall be glad to get back to Canada and have a good visit with all my friends once more, although I am by no means tired of this work or of England. I feel that I am accomplishing something. Our instructions are to leave all healthy stubs and roots that are not likely to give trouble, and if possible at all, fix' up if only temporarily badly decayed or broken teeth. We do no gold work. We are to fit the men for duty. Now I shall have to close this letter as time is up. Let me hear from you soon.
Best wishes to all,
D. H. MASSEY.