On Board H.M. Transport
Nov 15th Wednesday
29 hrs from [censored]
My Dear Wife & Children: -
First of all I must tell you that I was pleasantly surprised to receive your letter No3 this morn about 11 am, it had been forwarded from St John & reached H_______ just before we sailed & of course everything being in a rush & everybody busy it was not delivered until the following day, but my! I was so pleased to get it it could not have come at a better time - just after we had cut adrift form Old Canada - "news from home is as cold water is to a thirsty soul." I saw Mr Pryor this afternoon & gave him your message re Mrs Pryor. About Greys I think it will be just the thing for you, & may lead on to something else the extra money will also be a big cut on your winter fuel. Greys were always nice. I wouldn't worry any about the future for surely you have seen enough to realize that God is indeed caring for you & that His Providence, the providence of His Mighty love is overshadowing you Remember Psl 23 also Psl 91.
Well, we cast our moors at 3-45 P.M. Tuesday Nov 14, we were towed out into mid channel by about 6 large steam tugs then we steamed out under our own steam & have been going ever sence - she is certainly some goer we expect to run into Liverpool on Sunday afternoon or evening & disembark on Monday morning. A good many of the men are very sick to day the privates & corporals are packed pretty close - most of them are in hammocks = however their food is very good. I told you in my last letter about the luxurious quarters we had & I am going to enclose menu cards for today's meals so that you will have an idea of how we (the sergeants etc) are living we could not wish for anything better. I am feeling fine now & enjoying the voyage - have not been sea-sick at all = but that headache the first day was pretty bad, I had a good hot sea bath just before dinner today, & it was fine - if ever we can afford to dear I think we'll have to take a trip across the Atlantic together - eh? Yesterday we passed two vessels - one an oil tanker & the other a freighter they were quite a distance away. To day we met a gun-boat she hovered arround us for a while & then disappeared as quickly & as mysteriously as she had come. I almost forgot to tell you about sailing out of H_________ The weather, (as it is still,) was wet - chilly, & nasty, stretched across the mouth of the harbor was a submarine net (which I believe has caught some fish.) an opening was made for us by two tugs - as we streamed out we passed a third class cruiser (nameless) bristling with guns, the bluejackets thronged the sides & swarmed into the rigging, & gave us a great cheer which was returned with interest by our boys - we also passed an auxiliary ? cruiser (also nameless) that is a liner which has been armed & converted into a light battle cruiser the crew on this gave us a great send off also. We were escorted out to sea by a couple of gunboats & a Destroyer but we soon left these behind = right from the moment of sailing every man on board was served out with a life belt, & these we have to carry with us every-where we go - eating - sleeping & even when we go to the "House of Parliament" ah-ah. I wish you could see the ship for yourself it is impossible to describe her properly - she is over 900 ft long that is longer than a city block, I cannot just say how wide she is. There are 8 decks from A to S. (I am on C deck No10 stateroom. Then below the "G" deck there are the Engine rooms - Boiler Floor etc so you will have some idea of the depth she is in the water & out of it. her engines are 25,000 horse power & she had 50 large boilers, with 300 stokers, she carries 800 of a crew & she is taking across 6,000 troops 222nd 194 Edmonton 173 Hamilton 147th 158th Vancouver 180th Toronto. She is pretty well armed; in the stern & in the bows she carries a 4"7 quick firing gun & also had 4 machine guns with men standing to all the time. All the portholes are closed, & glass painted with black paint, at night outside every-thing is pitch dark. Her speed is between 26 & 32 knots per hour. Just before we sailed we heard the news of Sir Sam's downfall it was certainly about time. I still have a few of the eats left = we finished the last of the short=bread just before leaving the train at H________ I have an orange which I am going to eat when I have finished writing - also have 4 lemons - chocolate cake - chewing gum, & the butterscotch candies, thanks for the wee purse I am finding it handy, I also have the old nif & the spoon. "About Greys again was it to be $20 per month or $20.00 for the 3 months?" I am glad Mattie is feeling at home & I shall add to that every day until the end of the voyage so Good Night for now dear ones with love - hugs & more to my dearest wife & darling daughter & sonny, God bless you & keep you "Good night." Friday Night 8-45 P.M. (about 5-15 P.M. with you) I did not get to write yesterday I went to a concert in the evening there is another to night but I came away early, there is nothing eventful so far - though there are all kinds of interesting things if one could write them. I did not tell you about the funnels or smoke stacks of the boat she has four & each one would more than hold our cottage, or they could lay a double track of railway through them with something to spare you know that this ship is the sister ship to the "Titanic" she was building when the other was sink so that they benefited by that experience some Royal Navy men, Instructor Gunners who are travelling from the Pacific back to England were telling me that it would at least take 4 torpedoes to sink her, but it is practically impossible for any submarine to hit her, 1st of all she is far too fast for them - then we are well armed, & a submarine especially with the kind of weather we are having would have to come well up to the surface in order to fire her torpedoes, & she would have to be at least 2000 yds from the ship & possibly a good deal nearer to strike effectively, & the look outs would get them instantly & it would be good-bye submarine - then the ship is divided up into compartments, divided all throughout by water-tight doors, at these doors men are stationed night & day with instructions to close them the second the "general alarm" is sounded, so that if by any chance a hole was made in any part of the vessel these doors would be closed, thus making it impossible for the water to come into any other part of the boat, & confining it to the compartment or section struck. The water tight doors are also closed my electricity & again are self closing - then she has 3 bottoms, where the Titanic only had two, but I guess you will not be interested in all this detail, I might say however that she was launched in 1913. I spoke of the "General Alarm" sounding I might explain that at the "general alarm" every man on board had to double up to the deck at once & "Fall in" at the allotted place - The officers & members of the crew all take up their different posts = the water tight doors are all closed - the life boats are slung & made ready for launching - the guns are uncovered, in fact everything made ready for any emergency - we have had the "Alarm" each day so far, just for practice of course. We are wearing our life belts all the time & it is a serious offence to be found without one. After dark not a light to be seen from the outside of the ship, & anyone found smoking - lighting a match on the upper deck, or showing a light on any way is severely dealt with we have had two already an officer & a private caught breaching this rule. We are just now about 900 miles from our landing port, & sometime before midnight shall be entering the "Danger Zone" or War Zone we expect to meet our escorts then "cruisers" & Torpedoe Destroyers & they will convoy us right into Port, I guess we have already entered the "Danger Zone" Serg't Baskerville had just come in & says that several Destroyers are circling arround us. Well must say "Good Night" again, will tell you more tomorrow ever God bless you all my darlings with kisses & hugs etc etc.
Saturday 7-30 P.M. The last item of news was a false alarm, we have not taken up our escorts yet though we are going through the "Danger Zone" we have only seen 3 vessels sence we left "Port" & seem to be keeping well off the beaten track of traffic. Oh what a day this had been & I guess that night is going to be the same a strong head wind had been blowing all day, & there had certainly bee some rough sea, a lot of the men who had not been sick as yet succumbed to day, my she pitched & rolled, - the weather still keeps dull & misty, its not been what one would call a pleasant voyage; another item I learned to day about the ship is that 4 ¼ times round the top deck that is the promenade deck makes a mile, I noticed this on a brass plaque on the wall - so you will have some idea of the size of the vessel - We suppose that at present we are somewhere off the north of Ireland likely crossing the "Devil's Hole" which is the deepest part of the Atlantic in fact the depth has never yet been fathomed - it is always more or less rough & is certainly rough this trip. We are expecting to sight land to morrow Sunday sometime & may run into Port to morrow night but do not expect to disembark before "Monday morning", "Good Night" once more dear heart kiss & hug out darlings for their Daddy & let them kiss & hug you for me Good Night & God bless you Shirley & Arthur & Betty.
Sunday 1-30 P.M. Land on both sides East Coast of Ireland & West Coast of Scotland, if the weather were brighter it would be nice but as it is, it is not very pleasant we have not had 5 minutes of sunshine the whole voyage, & shall be glad when it is over. Well we are pretty safe now, well guarded, Destroyer to the right of us & Destroyer to the left of us - Patrol boats - mine sweepers - & cruisers - it's a pretty sight to see the Destroyers cut through the water - we are expecting to run into Port some time this evening & disembark to morrow morning (Monday) so from now on shall be busy getting things into shape, I will close this letter now &, if I have a chance to add any more I will do so. Lots & Lots of love & kisses etc - etc to my dear wife & kiddies God bless you all & keep you.
Remember me to Mattie