3rd Coy. 196th O. Batt. C.E.F.
July 8, 1916
Saturday P.M. and my only chance to write letters. We were up fairly early this morning, we went out to the rifle range. The Capt. was only told about it last night and at 9:30 we were warned to get up at 4:30. At 5:30 we had breakfast and left for 6 for the range with full kit. It took us all morning to finish as we only had twenty rifles. We got seven shots - one finder and six shooters. I got second out of the battalion -made 56 points out of a possible 60. Wilson, the fellow I told you about who used to be manager of the International Harvester beat me out by one point. A pass was 30 and only about half got thre'. Those who didn't will have to try again until they do, and the rest of us can go unto the longer ranges. We hot back for dinner about 1 PM & were some hungry.
Did you hear about the big storm we had? It happened Thursday morning. I went on duty as Serg't. of the guard, the night before and the following morning about 8 o'clock the wind started. I suppose Mother will know what a 75 mile an hour wind is in Dakota but it my first experience. The sand lifted in clouds and every one took to their tents. Of course the sentries had to remain on duty and after the sandstorm had been raging for about 15 minutes I began to worry about them so started to make my rounds. Just as I stepped out the canteen which is about 50 yds from the guard tent started to go up. I called out the guard. Only two of us made the canteen at all. The others were blown backwards & had to fall down. We weren't able to do anything but stand & watch the canteen go to pieces so I went back to look after the guards. Then it started to hail and with that wind you can imagine it stung. The tents which are bell-shaped were flopping pretty badly. Big crate boxes & iron pails and lumber was flying around. Small temporary were broken to pieces & blown across the ground. About half the tents were blown over. It was some sight to look across the camp and watch big planks go crashing into a tent, tearing it down and maybe stunning some of the fellows inside. It hailed for a few minutes and then the rain came down in barrels. The whole camp was under water in ten minutes. The orderly room where all the important papers were kept was absolutely spoiled. I made the rounds of the camp & found every sentry on his job although pretty badly shaken up. They had all lost their hats & were in pretty bad shape. I relieved them with new men & then reported to the Capt. He hadn't any orders but told me to keep an eye on the camp as near as I could so that meant I had to stay outside. Well taking it all around I had some time. About noon it let up & we spend a whole day cleaning up.
We are getting good meals now and every thing is fine. It gets awfully got in the day time but I don't mind it very much. There are a few mosquitos around which seem to bother some of the fellows but after my experience last summer I never even notice them. The only thing I miss is newspapers & candy. Either one would be appreciated believe me. if you could find time to send some. I guess I will ring off now. Will look for letter soon.
Yours as ever,
P.S. I saw Scott who used to go the High in the old days. He's in some other Batt. Here. Bill Whitelaw is head of the Y.M.C.A. here. I've met Mrs. (Cat.) McLoed - Len's mother - She's a fine lady. She holds the rank of Capt.