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Date: July 3rd 1915

3 July 1915

My Dear Mother:-

This as you will see is a continuation of my previous letter where I left off at Ardrossan. No doubt you think I will never be able to tell it all, at any rate the boys around here think I have gone crazy mad, but it is my imagination that you will be interested to know of every little thing hence the size of the letters at present anyway.

Well, as I was saying we got to Ardrossan at about 10:30 we, had little differently in finding the house and Grandpa Aunt Maggie and Cousin Nan Dalziel waited up for us. We had a meal which lasted till about 12 at night sat around and talked and got into bed at 1:15, not much sleep again, youll notice as we were called at 6:30 next morning Tuesday.  Well, in order to carry out our programme at Hamilton, Manchester and a day in London, we were compelled to go away that morning to Hamilton. Orvil left early, to meet Joe who expected us to come in on the 7:48 train to Glasgow and I left on the 10:13.  Grandpa, Maggie and Nan walked to the station with me and on the way down Grandpa bought me a package of 100 cigarettes, one of which I am smoking at the present moment, while I got him a package of his smoking tobacco.  He kept murmuring “too much kindness” over and over again. He is quite old now “83” but in spite of that insisted that he show me around the town and on the seaside. Aunt Maggie is very nervous at times as Grandpa sometimes has fainting spells especially after any excitement. Nan is a nice little kid and plays the piano well. On leaving we had a very nice invitation to come and stay a while when the war is over, in fact the same invitation was extended to us at every place we called. They sure were very hospitable people and made us feel at home right away. We were sorry to leave but of course had no choice in the matter.

After arriving in Glasgow our next visit was at Uncle Robert’s in Hamilton. It is only eleven miles from Glasgow but the train stops at about 20 (no exaggerating) stations on the way down. Now we had no street address and Hamilton was bigger than we expected. Their house is just across from the station, as you know, but it took us an hour to find it. Here is where I got a big surprise. I knew of cousin Logan, but Uncle Robert, I am getting confused now you’ll notice, told me in a letter he was in camp at Manchester so did not expect to see him there but when we rang the bell two girls came to the door, dressed the same and looked the same. I had not been drinking as Marion will immediately suggest. They were about 23 or 24 years of age very interesting to talk to and I have their pictures which will send you later and save descriptions which I am not good at especially of girls. Anyway I found out later they were my cousins the twins, Agnes and Mary. I naturally took a nice cousinly interest in them immediately and we sure spent one fine afternoon and evening in their company.

Uncle Robert had been to the other station to meet us and of course we missed him.  His wife, Aunt Annie was staying with Uncle John at Bellefield.

We had dinner about 3 pm and then Uncle John got a motor to take us to Bellefield, a party of five, the twins of course Uncle John, Orvil and I. The roads were very good and it was not long before we were at Lesmahagow. We passed all the miners coming from the pits just as you have described it to me, many and many a time. We stopped there for a good while and started to walk around. Uncle John introduced us to Alex Cairncross, who still has a store. He showed us the church you went to and the Bakers Brae, the old schoolhouse and then we went up the old Brae and saw your home. Adamson is the name of the people living there now.  He is a miner, and let us go through the house to the garden.  One of the trees which formed the bower was gone.  The rhubarb was growing down the hill at the back.  All the strawberries were gone and they had a lot of chickens running around the yard. So you will readily see it was not the same. All the time we were there Uncle Robb told us the stories you used to tell. I was glad indeed to be there but there was just one thing missing and that was you. Yes Ma all my pay in the army I could gladly have parted with to have you there. We spent as much time as possible there, nobody wanted to leave but if we were to get to Bellefield we must go. We went across the street to see Nancy Scott, she was glad indeed to hear of you again and asked me repeatedly about you as did Mrs Scott and Grace Scott farther down the street.

We started away again and came through the new town, along to Turfholm and up by Auchty Kernel by Trows to Auchlochan and then to Coalburn and Bellfield. We had a great reception there and they kept me busy telling them of you all at home. There was Uncle John and his wife and a very old lady Mrs Muir, Uncle Robert and his wife, and the twins Agnes and Mary. Orvil and I we meet Cousin Willie Logan Weir when we came back to Hamilton and Cousin Maggie. She keeps house for her brother Robert at Glasgow but he could not come to Hamilton at the time so we missed him. Ralph of course is in India married, the pictures of his house there are like a palace. We had tea or dinner to be more exact and drove back with the twins. Uncle Robb stayed there over night. The company the scenery and the weather could not have been better and we were sorry to leave so soon. Cousin Willie along with the twins and Cousin Maggie drove us to Motherwell which we left for Manchester about 12:15 at night arriving there at 6:30. We went to a hotel and had a good bath and breakfast after which I left Orvil to go to the camp where Logan was while I went to Aunt Susan’s in Stockport. Aunt Susan is more like you than any of the rest. She speaks exactly like you and has the same manners and sayings. Some of them were, “I think there is a wee bit of cheese in the pantry, I’ll take a stick to you,” and a few others which made me feel more than ever at home. When I gained this feeling I went to sleep on the couch in the kitchen for a few hours, Orvil did the same when he called later. We were both dead tired. Aunt Susan laments the fact that you no longer correspond with her and would like to hear from you every couple of months or so, not every four or five years as she say you do. Logan, who is a second Lieutenant called about 5:30 and after having tea went to the theatre.

Mr and Mrs Stitt, Orvil, Logan and I very much like [?] but better talent. There has been recruited from Manchester over 100 000 men and 10 000 from Stockport. I got their pictures too. It was the first one they had taken together and hope it turns out well. Aunt Susan told me all about the house at Lesmahagow again and introduced me to the family album, pictures, many of which we have at home. We spent a very enjoyable and restful day there and next morning were in London.

London is certainly a big town and we saw only a very little bit of it. Madame Tussauds Wax Works, Westminster Abbey, The Tower, at each of these places we engaged a guide. The house of Commons in sitting which we listened to for an hour or so and heard debates by Lloyd George and other prominent men. We also saw all these men in wax at the wax works in the morning. This place by the way is very complete and up to date. The figures are life like to such a degree that 20 feet away you could mistake them easily at first glance. Westminster Abbey is magnificent, (old, historic, the Architecture consists of a number of different styles and with its glass stained windows which are built nearly to the roof a distance of 75 to a hundred feet. In it are buried most of the great men of England since 1366. This description will give you only the vaguest idea of its immensity and age. The Tower is another old place with its stories of imprisonments and murders dating back to the year 1066. I saw the crown jewels closely grounded by the beef eaters. In fact I saw so much that I cant remember it all. I was so tired out I could have gone to sleep with my eyes open. Got into camp about 12:30 that night up the next morning at 6 AM, and started in at trench digging.

Your affectionate Son


PS. I have a good pair of boots which are too big for me which I am sending home. I purchased them here from Q.M.S. and the following day was issued with an English Pair. I have purposely cut out the Can. Gov. Stamp at the back to save any possible trouble at the custom house. There should be no duty on them as they have been worn. They are comfortable and easy and should suit either William or Father.

If the city ever comes to you to endorse an Insurance Cheque of $1000.00 which I hear they intend to hold in trust for those who are in need and have relatives at the front, please refuse to do it, as unless you are in dire straights will they pay any of it to you and if not they will keep this money themselves. It is nothing more or less than a gamble on the soldiers lives, as we understand it here and the only way you can discourage future repetitions of this underhand method of making money is to refuse your signature to the cheque which should be made out to yourself and the Corporation of the City of Toronto, jointly.

There is nothing more I can think of which will interest you, at present, but will write next week, and will send a print of the pictures, while on the trip.

Kindly explain to Mary, if possible, that I simply have not time to answer each individual letter she has so kindly written me but would be pleased if she would accept those written to you as answers, as although I address it to you Mother I think and feel as though I am talking to you all.

Your affectionate son.


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