Dominion Day, 1917
Dearest Mother -
Sunday and July 1st rather hazy and a cool wind - still at waggon lines and writing in same "Chaplain service" tent I wrote in last Sunday afternoon. No mail of any description has come for me this week so I cannot tell you of the safe arrival of any more letters from you. We expect a Canadian mail any day now so maybe one will come this evening.
We have a sort of half holiday this afternoon but this forenoon I worked hard enough grooming no less than five horses. There was a church parade for a limited number this morning but I did not get on it as I would have liked to have done. This being the fiftieth anniversary of Dominion Day, the chaplain, I understand, spoke on that subject.
I had an afternoon off the other day to see some sports that were taking place a little further back. I was able to see several friends around there whom I knew in the battery I enlisted in and had quite a fine time. How lovely the country around here looks when one gets a little ways back! Green grass and green trees around and birds singing in the air. It was very pleasant to get around a bit after a period at the guns where naturally one has little freedom. The appearance of the landscape resembles ours, of course, and probably is no prettier but, there is a difference. A village, an old ruin, the roads, a hedge, a camp, these make the landscape seem foreign, different and for that very reason perhaps, more beautiful and interesting that it would otherwise be. And, of course, there is now always the military aspect to it, the flight of an aeroplane and the booming of guns.
We are very comfortable just now at the waggon lines - rations are good and are such as to keep us in good health and condition. After pay day, while the money lasts, we can buy little things at the canteen and usually have a light lunch just before going to bed. At the canteen, one can buy condensed milk, prepared cocoa or coffee (cafÃ© au lait), biscuits and tinned tomatoes, sausages, or beans, etc. which can be heated and fixed up on our little stove to make a really tasty little meal - not at all bad. You see, here three or four of us have a little "bivy" made of corrugated iron, planks, canvas, etc. to ourselves. I am with three others in one of these down here and in the evening we nearly always have a fire and something warm before turning in.
The four of us get along fine together. The other three have been at the waggon lines all the time, one is a bombardier, the other two - drivers. The bombardier is a big, young-looking and remarkably fine fellow. You know there are lots and lots of the fellows around here who smoke and drink and talk rather luridly at times but this fellow does none of these and is probably one of the very best in a strict, moral sense that I have come across. The other two - smoke a great deal as does nearly everyone - one is about twenty-six, has knocked about Canada quite a bit, is rather crusty and sarcastic, even ill tempered at times - one who some people would find it hard to get along with - the other - about twenty-four - probably the laziest and most good natured fellow I ever met. Oh, we have a pretty good time. They made room for me in their bivy when I came down from the guns and we get along now so nicely. Of course, these are all fellows of the last subsection I was in, in the battery in England whom I have known now for some time.
I guess I have said enough for one letter. Remember me to friends at home. Best love to Gladys, Arthur, Harold, Cecil and yourself.