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Date: October 2nd 1916

From: Witley Camp, Eng.
2 Oct. 1916

Dear Mother -

I wrote you a little less than a week ago telling of my arrival at camp, etc. Hope you got same in due course. The cold I have had was getting better but is a trifle worse today, still I feel unusually well considering the change from one country to another, especially when the latter is damp like this one. The sun peeps out now and again but, for the most part, it keeps cloudy with intermittent showers. Today, it has been raining steadily all day.

Most of our time so far has been spent in getting settled and last Fri. about two thirds of the battery were given their first leave so that those remaining have little drill and all the fatigues. The rest of us will likely get our leave this weekend as soon as the others return. I did not go with the first bunch as I have not yet received that draft of money. It should reach me any day now. If it does not come before time for leave, I may have some trouble in getting enough to go on. I thought some of going to Scotland (those going to Scotland or Ireland get 8 days, others 6) but think now that I shall spend the time in London as most are doing. The fare from here to London will not be much and I find that meals, rooms, etc. are considerably cheaper than in Canada, though, I believe more than they have been. There is some sort of 2 days tour of London which may be taken in a bus accompanied by guides, etc. on which we can take in the principal places in London at small expense. I believe, I shall take advantage of this.

We have more liberty here than at Petawawa. After parade hours i.e. 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sat. and Suns. from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., we are free to go anywhere within a 4 mi. radius from the camp. Villages are close together in England and inside these bounds are several villages and one fair sized town.

With another fellow, I walker to this town (I would like to give you the names of places around here but we have to hand our letters unsealed into the Orderly Office where our Left Sec. Commander censors them and stamps them - and as I understand we are restricted in many ways in writing) and had a very pleasant afternoon. From a steep bluff behind the town, I had a fine view of the whole valley - the villages nestled along the little river and the green undulating English downs. This was on Sat. afternoon. On Sun. afternoon, I took a walk in the opposite direction going about 4 mls - half way to another Canadian training camp - the one where the 46th Queen's Battery were stationed at. They were moved, by the way, to the very camp we are now in and may have lived in the very same huts. Their battery number I know was on the very Orderly Room we use and does it not seem strange that we should come here and replace that number with ours? From a point in this road I had a fine view of the whole surrounding country and very beautiful it was. Sun. evening, with a friend, I went to church in that town I spoke of. The principal church in every village here is of course the Church of England - all others are non-conformists. Of these, there seems to be quite a few Congregational Churches which would likely be somewhat similar to ours and also Wesleyan or as we call them Methodist Churches. I have not yet seen a Pres. Church. It was to a Meth. Church we went.

One of the 1st things I noticed, were the heavy green blinds over all the windows. Lights are everywhere concealed as much as possible and outside, in the town, all was dark. You will probably read of another Zeppelin near London last night (Sun. night). You quite possibly may read of more than one raid this last week. You must not let this worry you so far as I am concerned as every precaution is taken and they have not been anywhere near here. It happened that night that a Canadian chaplain was preaching and it was interesting to hear him tell the English audience a little of Canada. I heard their pastor speak and could hardly follow his English accent. After the service, we were treated to coffee and cakes. They seemed to want to get to know us.

There are paved roads all around here and, in fact, all thru Eng. & Scotland. These fine roads are good for cycling and there are very many bicycles, motor cycles and autos, motor buses, etc. A very great many women ride bicycles around here and from what I have seen of them around here, they seem to have a better colour, to be taller and stronger looking than the average Canadian but I suppose, in cities here, it would be very different.

I will try and write as much to you as I can whether I write to anyone else or not, so let Gladys and Cecil know I am well when you are writing to them. Letters crossing the ocean are apt to be irregular, some may go without delay and others not. There has been scarcely any Canadian mail here yet and I suppose I may have to wait a couple of weeks yet before I can hear from you. I shall certainly be glad to get the letter when it does come.

Love to you and Arthur. Goodbye till the next.
Yours sincerely,
P.S. Address your letters to the Army P.O., London, Eng. They will be sent right on to the camp from there and that is the proper way to address them.

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