From: Petawawa Camp Ont.
2 July 1916
Dear Mother -
I received your very welcome letter a few days ago and I guess you will be waiting to hear from me. I like the work here fine and am in good health.
I don't believe I told you that about 3 weeks ago I was changed from a driver to a gunner. A couple of gunners in my subsection were changed to drivers, so as they knew I would rather be a gunner, they made me one. The drivers have been doing quite a bit of driving lately. We have a mounted parade nearly every day, two teams drawing each of the four guns and one team on the wagon limber. Some of the gunners ride on the guns and wagons. You probably read in the papers of the inspection here last Tues. by the Duke of Connaught. It was a grand sight to see all the guns and wagons with the horses. There were 4 guns and 4 wagons to each battery, four batteries to each brigade and over 4 brigades, so you can see there was quite a long march past. About half of each battery was not riding so there was a large dismounted party which marched by also. They say Sir Sam Hughes may be coming soon.
Everybody here had a holiday on Dominion Day yesterday. In the afternoon there were sports behind the YMCA here. There were 100 yd dashes, walking races, mile, Â½ mile and Â¼ mile runs, three legged races, sack races, an obstacle race (they ran a short distance and had to pull their shoes out of a sac, put them on and finish the race in the sack. There was a pig-a-back race - one fellow carried another on his back to the end of the course then they turned and came back, the one who rode carrying the other. Another interesting thing was the horseback wrestling. Teams of four men from some of the brigades rode bareback with just a halter on the horse and tried to throw their opponents from their horses.
In the evening, there were some boxing and wrestling contests. The YMCA are giving prizes to the winners in these events. From now on, they are going to have these sports every Tues. & Thurs. evening at 7 o'clock and on Sat. night, boxing and wrestling.
They have started a regular baseball league in the 13th brigade here and so there are lots of baseball games going on in the evenings. McLaren & I were watching the 51st and another battery playing one night. McLaren, you know, is the fellow who went to First Ave. Public School when I did and he pointed out several fellows who went to school with us. The 51st battery is made up almost entirely of Ottawa fellows. One of the fellows playing, I recognized myself. He hasn't changed a bit. It was Clarence Crawley. McLaren pointed out Cecil Moulds and I can remember his face now but not at first. There is also Ernest Mills, Tom Ritchey and Tom Martin. You remember a little trouble we had with Tom Martin and you didn't like to have me associate with him. There is a Fred Liberty that looks familiar but I don't know whether I every knew him or not. I think it was Bert Liberty who went to Glashan(?) School with me. I was speaking with Crawley this forenoon. We were watching a ball game and happened to turn around and catch his eye. He recognized me at once. He had seen me before, I guess, because he said he had told Cecil Moulds that he thought it was me but Cecil Moulds had said it wasn't. It is queer isn't it how many of those fellows there are in that battery.
Yesterday here was awful hot. If it is not cloudy and raining, it is always hot here so that a little rain now and then is rather welcome than otherwise. We had a little thunder shower this afternoon. It is never muddy here. No matter how much it rains, it just makes the grass and the light pure sands of the roads damp and in the sun, it will be dry again in a few hours. I guess that is a lot different from what I hear of the other camps. This is certainly an ideal spot for a camp of this sort. For the inspection, the other day, we went to what is called Drury Plain near the main line of the CPR where there is ample room for mounted maneuvers.
About 25 from our batteries got passes from here to go to Pembroke for the day and I guess they had a pretty good time, although, from what I hear, they rather roughed it up. You see, we can't leave the camp, not even to go to Petawawa village without a pass and passes are hard to get, so that when they do get a chance to leave, they make the most of it. Some of the battery are getting leave of absence of three or four days now. Only about 15 can get it at a time and preference is given to those who haven't had leave for quite awhile. As I was about the last one to get leave in Kingston, I guess I will have to wait for a few weeks.
Well, I guess I will close here. I suppose Gladys is home now. I do hope she & Harold make their exams & that you got your entrance pupils through. Best love to all.
P.S. We are all wearing straw hats here and go around in our shirt sleeves.