291494 A. Coy. 19th Reserve Batt'n
c/o Army Post Office
March 12 / 17
My Dear Betty:-
Well we are settled down again though goodness only knows how long they will leave us here, this makes the 3rd Camp sence we arrived in England. Fred Kerr (one of the Neepawa Kerrs, he is a corporal in my company) was telling me that other day that Olive Coael was at the hospital here - I may be running across her. I received you letter No. 2 written in the 4th of February, on March 9th it is taking quite a long time to send letters now evidently. Was the registered letter No 1? If so I have received your letters up to date. This is a most beautiful country arround here words cannot describe it, & it must be seen to be appreciated - there are many places of historic interest nearby, as well as places & scenes immortalized by Lord Tennyson in his poetry I intended to visit as many of them as possible while I am here. On Saturday I visited Liphook & spent the afternoon & evening there, having dinner at the "Royal Acre Hotel," of which I have already told you. Nelson spent his last night in England here - before boarding his ship "Victory" at Portsmouth for Trafalgar - Portsmouth is only 42 miles away & almost all the sovereigny of England have stayed here at one time or another - Wellington & Blucher also stayed here When Blucher visited England after Waterloo. I mailed you a book of views from here Saturday - as well as some postcards a few days ago. I hope you get them safely the children have a splendid chance now of starting a great collection of Picture Post cards - I shall send cards from other places arround. On Sunday afternoon after Church parade a friend & I walked out to Haselmere about 3 miles away through the most beautiful scenery to be found anywhere of I wish you could see it - we passed "The Brook" Tennyson writes about = it is the poem materialized entering Haslemere we visited the cottage in which "George Elliot wrote "Middlemarch"" & after wandering around a while we had dinner at the "Railway Hotel" a quaint old place, rich in old English furniture & Bric-a-brac. After dinner or lunch we visited St Bartholomew's Church - this is the Church Lord Tennyson attended, & there is a most beautiful stained glass window to his memory. In the old "God's Acre" the famous scientist Prof Tyndall lies buried - at his own request he was buried after the custom of the ancient Britons a mound raised up to a height of over 6 ft, & he rests in the mound. From there we visited the Museum, a most interesting place, it is considered to posses (after the British Museum)-the most complete collection of English natural history specimens - of any. Botany - Insect life - Birds - Animal - Geological - from the earliest known period right up to date = Then there was the Historical Department & Manuscript etc etc. it was most interesting among many other things we say the smallest bird's egg side by side with the largest egg laid. The one as small as a pea & the other as large as a football. We saw too, the mummy of an Egyptian girl who died 1400 years B.C. (3.400 years old) then great Boa constrictors - giraffs - snakes & birds of all kinds Hippopotomus - Rhineoceros etc etc & a great 7 ½ ft long allegator my won't I have some stories etc to tell Shirley & Billy when I come home! tell them to keep all their cards so that I can tell them all about the places. From the Museum we went back to the hotel for tea & after a feed of bread & butter rasberry jam & cake we went to a quaint old Baptist chapel - it seemed like living 100 years ago or more everything old - simple & plain the preacher in the high box pulpit - the precentor just below who gave out the hymns & led the singing no choir an old reed organ but very sweet in tone, & the old long metre tunes no collection, just a box at the door after church we went & had a cup of tea etc, & then walked back to Camp after spending a most enjoyable day, the only drawback was, that you were not with me dear. Next Saturday or Sunday we hope to visit Lord Tennyson's home & other places of which I will tell you later. You have certainly had it rough over there this winter I do hope that the worst is over for you, we are having quite a lot of rain here now but one does not mind it - it is the harbinger of spring, we have our first flowers in bloom now snow-drops - violets & daffodils & about another week or two at the most will see the trees & hedgerows leafing out. "Oh to be in England now that April's there"
The war situation is brightening for us I do hope it continues what a day it will be when it is all over. We are training 8 hours a day, so you may guess that we do not have much spare time, Saturday afternoons & Sundays & not always them. Well dear I must close again with fondest love & kisses to all.
Enclosing a letter form Mrs Jacob Starr, also article by M Correli which I would like you to keep.