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Date: September 11th 1917

Do not destroy this Letter

Lydd, Kent County
Sept 11th 1917

Dear Mother:

Wrote you on Sunday on several post cards and hope you receive them O.K. Think I told you I arrived here on Friday afternoon. Left the train at Lydd and came in to camp on a military Ry which is run with small engines and has only small open freight cars. However it was better than walking. It also runs out to the ranges and to where the shells land near our targets. I guess I told you we had parades on Sunday. In morning and also in afternoon and at 9 PM at night. Monday morning we were up early and paraded at 7.15 AM and went out to the guns. Did not do anything though for about two hours. We however finally got started and got some shells away about 10 o'clock. Another battery used 2 of the 6 guns ahead of us and they kept us all back. My position is about 15 yards from the gun with the cartridges and I have to take one up when the gun is being loaded and another number places it in behind the shell. We fired 98 lb shells but only used a bright charge. Have 6 guns in the battery. Shell being 6" in Diam.

We all had cotton in our ears so the concussion did not affect us. No doubt it was worse for the numbers that were close to the gun only about 4 or 5 yds from the muzzle. I am sorry I missed the position of layer I was after on account of being in hospital as I do not expect they will make a change before we go to France now as we have about ten or more different shoots to be done in the next ten days. However I may be given a chance. All the guns did exceptionally well and the officers said the shooting and drill was excellent for a new battery. The layer who makes out alright here qualifies. Of course I may get a chance yet and may be qualified. Anyway I am practically sure of getting the position in France as we will then have two gun crews. One to relieve the other. Anyway it is only a small thing and nothing to worry over. We had drill at bridge building with timber and ropes yesterday and put up a bridge across an imaginary river which might have carried a fair load but it was not very strong although we had the idea.

Were doing more gun drill today and will have two or three different shoots on Thursday and more on Saturday. This is quite a large camp close to the sea and there are pebbles to walk on practically everywhere which makes the marching hard. We are close to an Aeroplane camp and see plenty of manoeuvres from them all the time and some of them are thrilling. There are also a couple of large Observation Balloons up all the time. They are tied to the ground, on the watch for enemy attack. The weather has been excellent since I came here and quite a treat from what we had been having.

Tonight a bunch of us were called in to the office to give information as to where to wish to go on our next leave which will be our mobilization or last leave before proceeding to France. We expect to be through with our course here by about the 21st Sept or next week so the batteries will then move into a mobilization camp which we expect will be Codford near Salisbury Plains. Instead of us all going there they will send some of us on leave from here and the remainder when we get back. Mobilization will probably take two to three weeks so it is probable we will be crossing to France about the second week in October. You had therefore better not send me any parcels or anything except letters until I again get settled. We will have to draw Guns and stores of every description and it will take a little time to get things together. Today we were fitted with the box Respirators, Which are a protection against gas. Went into a room where they had tear gas to test them. Without the Respirators which cover up your mouth, nose and eyes, the gas would bring so many tears to your eyes that you could not see. Mine fitted alright. They now have our sizes and will order so many of each. They are also protection against other gases. I also ordered a slicker or raincoat at my own expense at a cost of 20 shillings. $4.80. Quite a large number of the battery are getting them and they claim to have reduced price. They are very useful especially during the winter in France when it rains considerably and it will be better than having a wet greatcoat all the time and also be much lighter. Was thinking of sending for my raincoat but decided it would cost considerable to get it here and also that it was a little too good. Expect to go to London again on leave and possibly also to Edinburgh or up that way but not sure yet.

I had a letter from my friend Smyth this week and he is still in England and does not know yet when he will reach France. He also informed me that one of our chums, a New Zealander, who got a commission had been killed recently. He was in the same office with Smyth and came over in the same Batt. He also roomed at the same house with us and he used to eat with me at the Cecil Hotel in Edmn the last month or so I was there. Was very sorry hear about it as he was such a good sort of fellow. He was about 6 ft 4" tall and is in a snap took at Camp Hughes last summer of Smyth and about four others. The snap was rather indistinct.

Will now answer your letter of Aug 12. The snap of myself was taken on top of another of one of our boys in our stateroom and the bed and wash basin shows. Have been a little afraid of the envelopes I have been using. Must watch. Will not have time to answer Bell's letter just now but I suppose she will see this one. Wish to thank her for the snaps. Tell her Dr. Hutchison spoke to me first. We were having a Medical Inspection and of course gave our names so when he heard mine he asked if I was any relation. I was often speaking to him while on duty when I took the sick parade on the boat.

There is a concert in the camp tonight but I did not go. Do not think I will call on Dances again although he asked me too when I came to London. Surprising their relations from the Soo did not look them up. They were very nice to me and it would seem strange if I told them the others were in France. Well this is all for this time and it is quite a letter.

Love to all

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