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Date: March 31st 1915

Wednesday March 31st 1915

My Dearest Kate

I received your letter of March 9th on Monday & was surprised to hear that you had not received any mail from me since the 7th Feb, as I am almost sure that I sent a letter off on the 9th, the day before we left England but wouldn't be certain as I was a bit worried about Father at that time. I sent you a card on the day we landed in France (Feb 14th) at least I handed it in to be sent & as it has not been handed back to me I suppose it was passed by the censor. I am expecting to hear from you soon to say that you have received it also letter's that I sent as soon as I arrived at the end of our journey which lasted two nights & days. It was impossible for me to write on the train as we were huddled up so close in cattle trucks. There were 38 in our truck with rifles & equipment so you can guess how crowded we were. These trucks are supposed to hold 8 horses or 60 men & are marked on the outside to that effect but I fail to see how they can get 50 men in there. When we went to sleep at night we were laying feet to feet & packed like sardines & when one turned the whole bunch had to. The boat we came over on was a cattle boat so we didn't have first class travelling. This is the fourth place we have been in since we finished our railway journey but all the movements have been done on shantes[?] pony. I dont know yet when we are to go back in the firing line, but I think when we do go back I think we shall have a little harder work that in the first trenches we were in. I dont think we are going in the same trenches again. Yesterday we had a short route march & we are having another today just to keep us in line. The weather is still fine with a little frost at nights. The Bishop of London gave us a short address on Monday right from the Town Hall steps. There was quite a crowd there to listen to him. There were English Canadian French & Canadian soldiers & quite a few civilians. It was only a short speech but it was very nice what he said about the Canadians. He was a little hoarse which made it a little difficult for some of us to hear. That was the eighth address he had given that day & eight the previous day which must have been a great strain on his throat. I should like to hear him speak in a place like the Albert Hall London as I believe he could put up a good spid (excuse slang). After he was through the boys shouted for Gen Alderson to give us a few words which he did. He said he was quite satisfied with the work the Division had done the five weeks they were in the trenches & he felt confident that where we were called upon to do more strenous work that we should come up to scratch just as we did before. If we dont get anything harder to do in the future than we have done in the past month or so we wont have much to blow about after the war is over. We certainly have been in the firing line & have fired off a few rounds of ammunition otherwise its just a case of going in & staying there for three or four days & coming out again. I suppose we have done all that we were expected to do but if we dont get any harder work that that it will be more of a picnic that active service. I guess one of these days we shall be in a real scrap & then we shall see what the Guards of the "Canadian Division" can do. That is the name this Regt has been christened. I suppose its a compliment to the cwart[?] appearance & there certainly are some big fellows in it The average height is about 5ft 8in. The first night we were I with the regulars they said it was like a Guardsenous[?] parade when we came along last night we were digging trenches behind the firing line arrived back at 5 am today. A few bullets came around there but mostly spent ones. One struck the parapet between me & the next fellow & sattered the mud in our faces.Of course we didn't say anything? Glad to hear dear that you are keeping one of those big pictures for me. I have got the other one in that pocket book you sent me which comes in fine & handy for carrying things I want to keep, besides all my paper money but its not bulging much with the latter. Its no use carrying much money around as the only chance we have of spending any is when we get in a fair sized town such as this when we buy most of our grub to get off rations. We buy grub such as eggs & butter with an occasional steak We have a fire in this room needless to say we have to buy the coal ourselves but we can cook a few things on it (some cooks) yesterday I have the first bit of mush since leaving Victoria or rather the train at Quebec we used to get it every morning on the train from Vic but what I had yesterday had that faded a mile. I also had a fine can of Californian peaches they cost about 50 cents but we should worry. Eggs cost two franc a dozen (40 cents) & sometimes we eat a dozen a day each. The other day I was out in the afternoon & had three fried eggs & about four cups of coffee after that I bought some veal cutlets & three more eggs & had a meal (Please dont pass the same remark as Mrs Warren did at the Albert Head picnic) I think that day I must have lost my appetite & found a horses as I was eating the whole day. The coffee the people make here is great I think I could drink it all day long. One of these days when I can see some fresh fish I am going to have a fish & chip supper or else some waffles. Do you remember those we had one night on Blanchard St? Have you ever tried them since? Glad to hear that you had a fine day for your trip to Alice's, but sorry to hear they were feeling so sick & I hope by now they have got over it altogether. So you think now that you are confirmed that you will go to church every Sunday morning. I am afraid it will be a little early for you wont it? We have a church parade (voluntary) every Sunday morning if we are out of the trenches. I didn't go last Sunday as I had some washing to do so as to get the whole week to dry it in. We have to do those things when we have the time to spare. "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" so I dont think there was much harm done Do you still have your washing days the same as you used to at Mrs Traces? Well dear: I think this is all I have to say now. I guess the censor will think he's got a hold of something when he bets this budget. I hope he wont get mad & cross the whole shooting match off as its taken me quite a time to think out what to say without giving any official information no more to say now. Tons of love & kisses XXXXX

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