Feb 7th 1916
I received your very welcome letter to-day, and as I am not going down town to-night, I thought I would answer it right away. Our Battalion has orders to be ready to leave on the 15th of this month, a week to-morrow. I suppose we won't get away for two or three days after that, but there is no doubt that we will be away inside of a couple of weeks. If they put it off much longer, they will be having had snow slides in the mountains, and I wouldn't think that they would risk moving troops then. I will write to you again as soon as we arrive in England, and as I will soon have been in the army three months, I will be entitled to a weeks leave, and will then be able to see you.
Since the New Years, they are busy paying the Canadian Troops, in England fifty percent of their pay, so I have assigned $15 a month over to mother to keep for me ‘till I return. I have told her to send me so much tobacco a week, and she can buy it out of what she will have of mine. I think I will be able to save a little too, so that I will have a few dollars to start with when I get back. I don't intend to reenter the bank if I can find anything else at all to do. They make you resign when you enlist, and give you back our pension fund, or I should say half of it only, and say they will reengage you on your return only if they need additional staff. It's not very patriotic is it? They gave only very small increases this year (the first in two years), and they made over $1,700,000 profits; I believe more than they ever made before. A great number of their men have left, and have enlisted lately. When I was at Cordova St. I should have had the accountancy when Mr. Fraser, our accountant left. It was coming to me. Mr. Hanna, our manager recommended me to Mr. Crosbie,. Mr. Crosbie was quite agreeable but he said Mr. Wright looked after the staff, and he was sure he would consent, but Mr. Wright and I never agreed, so he said he couldn't think of it, so he sent a fellow down to Cordova Street, put the ledger keeper in the teller's box, and moved me to the main office, and had me doing odd jobs. Mr. Hanna was very "sore" and wants me to call in at Head Office in Montreal if we have time, and explain matters to them. However, I had passed my medical exam a few weeks before, so I resigned and went home for a few days shooting, and came back and joined the 62nd. They had been formed about five months then, but I am one of them now, and will be going with them when they leave. I was only in the recruit class about three weeks. Another thing I want to mention, when I resigned I never put on my resignation that I was enlisting, but when my letter went up stairs to the Supervisors desk, it was accompanied by the usual letter from the manager of the main branch stating that I was enlisting for active service, but Wright showed me as leaving the service in his report thinking I wouldn't e able to get back in, but they are getting up an Honour Roll of fellows that have left the Royal for active service, and Mr. Hanna took pains to see that my name got on the list, so Wright won't get much satisfaction out of it will he? Who wants to work for a consern when the head man vent their petty spite on you that way? I may try and get back in however if they will give me a good position and our friend Wright is back East where I hear they are moving him. I bought this book the other night. One on motorcycles, the other on flying machines. I want you to buy me another on flying machines, as the one I now have is dated 1912 and flying machines have greatly improved since then. Get one that goes into the mechanical details and explains the workings of the Rotary Engines like the Gnome. I will pay you for it when I get over. I will get it from you then. I am asking you to get it as I thought that you might be able to find out where you are working from some one just where to get the desired book. Also if it isn't too much trouble, will you try and find out if they will take me for the aviation Corps. And teach them to fly free of charge. I should think some of the men where you work would know. I would like to get in if I could.
Or course I am going to try the M-C corps first. I believe they supply the machines. Only English machines are used in the front now, as I suppose they find it too hard to procure repair parts for American ones. I don't think I would have any trouble passing any exam on M-C's that they could give me. I have studied up my book on motor-cycles, but I didn't learn much that I didn't already know. One thing however, which I didn't know. When figuring the horsepower of M-C's it is supposed to be one H-P for every 7 cubic inches piston displacement though I think they rate them higher sometimes than they really are. I suppose this applies to automobiles too (In America of course). I suppose you have heard from home that we have been having an awful amount of snow. There is about three feet here, and I hear it has been very much worse over on the island (Victoria included) and in Seattle and the "Rose City" (Portland).
We also had it very cold. They were skating on the Fraser in several places and in the bay by the mill in the "park". I suppose this is ancient history to you though. I am renewing my subscription to the National Sportsman, but dropping the others in the meantime but certainly hope to renew them again. I have taken the sportsman for so long I hate to drop it. My subscription doesn't expire till March or April, and I will renew before I leave and change my address to Pt. Alberni. Will try and get a copy of the number with my yarn in it for you I think it was the May number. Elvis (one of the hero's in it) has a copy so I can find out for sure which month's copy it was in. I won't bother with any shooting talk this letter other than to say I shot 151 ducks by actual count this season. I can count at least 12 doubles that I can remember without trying to figure very hard. After the war, I hope we can have some shooting, hunting, and fishing trips together. I think you will be able to find more time if "things" get better, and I hope to be doing something that I won't be toed to so hard. Then we can try and have a little yarn in some of the magazines two or three times a year anyways I have had several letters from other magazines asking for a little story. I don't if it was just because
large factory manufacturing army clothing was destroyed by fire, and I think only a day after a large munition factory was practically destroyed. Anyway, I suppose they will only be a few more incidentals on "Williams" Bill.
I mentioned about the fire as I thought perhaps you hadn't heard any particulars, though my account is very meager. There were several lives lost including at least one member of parliament. Three or four lost their lives endeavouring to save some of the valuable books in the library. Two ladies in the visitors gallery were burnt to death I believe.
There was a fine account in the papers of the opening of Parliament next day. Speeches by Laurier and Borden (who nearly lost his life in the fire). They seem to have gone right on where they stopped when the fire started without any loss of time, and the cogs in the machinery of the Gov't of our country seem to be running as smoothly as ever. Well here's hoping to see you again before very long.
Your affectionate Son
The Ottawa Fire
Feb 10. Two Police swear that when they turned the hand fire extinguishers on the fire it flamed up fiercely. Don't know whether it was imagination or not.