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Date: April 27th 1917

Somewhere in France
April 27,1917

Dear Folks:

Well I've seen quite a bit of France since I wrote you last, but I can't tell you the details. However we left the base Wednesday morning and carried everything imaginable. We only had five miles to the town where en entrained and tho't that was easy but that was only a start. We travelled by train until noon the next day. The railroad was like the E.D. and BC line so we had a good chance to look over the country. Its real pretty in places, but their methods of farming are rather ancient. The horses are all old crow-baits and they always lead them. All sowing is done by hand or by little 3 foot seeders. The people are a lot like the bohunks around Mannville where I taught school. Every time we passed thro' a village the whole population would line the trained & the kids would yell for biscuits or pennies. I had an awful time at first trying to remember my high school French but its coming pretty good now altho the people here have a sort of dialect.

We didn't get much sleep the night on the train as we didn't have room to lay down and the next day at noon we had dinner and then started the march. We could hear the big guns quite plainly then. We marched until 10 P.M. and only made about 12 miles so you see we were pretty well loaded down. We got to a village then where we could billet and tried to get some sleep. Most of us found out packs pretty heavy & had discarded out blanket and at the billets we were sorry for it. We slept in a sort of bunk house where the bunks were made of chicken wire stretched across 2"X4"'s. It made a swell bed but we only had a ground sheet and great coat and it was a real chilly night. I had to use up all the gun I had to keep from wearing out my teeth. About 4 o'clock AM the roar of the big guns woke me up & I had to double all over the burg to get warm. There was certainly a big bombardment on then for the whole horizon was a mass of flame & the guns made a continual roar. Star shells would go up once in awhile & reminded me of when we used to sit in the house down at Rosewald & watch the fire works at Edmonton. About 5 I went down thru'' town & hunted around until I found some one up & used all my French trying to get some "dejunier". At last I got some coffee, eggs & chops and paid half a Franc or 10 cents for it. We left there about 9AM and marched thru' to here. We all had enough marching too for altho' we only did 20-25 miles still he hadn't had any sleep for three days and only bully beef and hard tack to eat. When we got here we found a bunch of the fellows from the 196 who had come over before. We got a good meal & went to bed and today I feel fine. We are billeted in an old village that has been almost all shot to pieces. There are lots of curious things to look over. Tonight Peener & I are going to take a look around & see what the country looks like. We are real comfortable here and have very little to do except P.T. for an hour or so.

The air craft is one of the many things that interest me. We see all sorts & kinds and numbers. They did & dive around like swallows. You can see more air ships in a minute here than I've seen all my life.

Send my mail the same as usual and don't make the parcels too big. Send a pair of socks once in awhile and the rest eats.

This is all for now. Don't worry about me -- for there isn't anything to worry about. -- Send this on to Marg en!

Yours as ever Bill

P.S. I bo't a watch in England and but it here so am sending to home. You'll have a collection pretty soon. Don't bother sending it back. WJM