May 27, 1916
Saturday morning and I must write a few lines. I expect that before this reaches you we will be in France and in action. We have been overhauling our kit all day long and doing away with all articles we do not need. Tomorrow we have to get the guns and all the stores ready for transportation and Tuesday we expect to cross to Boulogne. This will probably put us in position by the last of the week or the first of the next. All superfluous kit we leave behind such as extra underwear, - we take two suits - and that sort of thing. We have to carry everything and apart from that laid down as essential we can take what ever extra we can carry. Our rubber boots come in very handy here as we can fill them and thus take a good deal of extra stuff.
Today we were issued with two gas helmets, a pair of gas goggles, and a package of first aid field dressing. All our stuff is very compact and for a short march does not make too much of a load. It is fitted all around the body so one is as evenly balanced as possible. and along with all that we have almost every thing we could possibly need. We were inspected yesterday and got the highest praise form him. He inspected us in line and also at work and he said we were perfect - that he would cable to the Minister of Militia that we had made a record and that we were ready willing, and anxious to get across. He also congratulated us on being, as we will be, the first Canadian Siege Battery at the front. Canada is represented in everything else but siege artillery at the front, and although the 97th were organized a month before we were, yet the honor goes to Prince Edward Island for having the first siege battery at the front.
Well, Mother, at last we are going across. We have been in training for a good while and it is time that we had a share in the real work over yonder. Our going I know must cause you more worry and anxiety but I don't want you to worry about me. I have no fear in going, - in fact I would be very sorry not to be going. After all what is there to fear? Death at the most and that can only come when our work here is done and in such a cause as this who would not be willing to make the supreme sacrifice for the triumph of right over wrong, liberty over slavery and of a Christian brotherhood over a military machine. Personally I feel confident that I shall get back again to take up my life work but if it should happen that I don't I want you to know that I am satisfied to stay with the thousands of others who have given themselves for the Empire.
There have been a few changes in the battery. While in Horsham we were over strength. A battery consists of 153 U.C.O.'s and men. Consequently some 20 of the poorest men were picked out and left at Horsham as our reserve. Sgt. Major Leightizer has taken charge of them and Sgt. McKay our senior Sgt. has taken his place. In the signallers the corporal in charge gave his place to a veteran of the Boer War and an experienced signaller. Among the gun crews a couple of men have been made bombardiers.
Well Mother I don't think there is anymore news. We are all in the pink of condition and the best of spirits. I will try and drop a line again before going across. Then I suppose our letters will be addressed "somewhere in France". I hope that will soon be changed to "somewhere in Germany". Good night to all. Remember me to all the friends and tell them to write.
A heart full of love to all from a your loving soldier son, Harold