Saturday May 5, 1917
My dear Gertrude,
I will begin on Saturday again as I am not posted for duty to-morrow & so expect I will get a 2 pm to midnight pass to London that I applied for. If so I hope to go out to the address you gave me of your Aunt in Finsbury Park & chance finding her at home.
Came off duty at six & feel too foot tired to trouble about walking into town so have just written to Mother. I will be able to get to Church again in the morning to-morrow as I have now a belt of my own - (for the time being) my present job being a full dress one belt, bayonet, & puttees all day not to mention bright buttons.
I had another letter from Muriel which may be sufficiently interesting to enclose & I will also send her enclosure from Ian.
The Roland Jaques Muriel mentions is the younger of two brothers, who were Robin's closet friends until they left Doncaster 2 or 3 years ago. The elder brother was home wounded last summer & has just been [?] a lieutenant from a Cadet unit. Muriel's letter was my first intimation that Gordon is in London. Had I known sooner, I would probably be seeing him to-morrow instead of your Aunt - but I don't know where he is staying.
Ian's letter is typical of him as usual. Perhaps more difficult to follow than he often is. It is rather funny that he should be more finicky about the army food than I am - a youngster & an ex-sea apprentice as well. Even in England he spent the greater part of his pay on meals outside barracks or camp & rarely eat the army stuff, whilst I have done very little reinforcing except from your parcels until coming from hospital since when I have been getting eggs & milk tow or three times a week. And in France I never turned up my nose at the very thinnest bully beef stew - & it certainly can be thin at times.
Have time before dinner to finish this letter so will get it off early to make up for being late last week.
Church parade for us was at 9.30 this morning, which is the official Garrison parade a very interesting & spectacular affair. We marched after our own band - a modest Khaki clad reed, bugle & drum band - about 24 strong but on reaching the Artillery Parade, the R.A. band was drawn up near the Church & we marched to its playing to the Church entrance. It is one of the finest bands in the army, some 60 strong & dressed in the red, blue, & gold uniform of peace times - a treat marching to it. A hearty service as usual & then we formed up outside for the march past before the General commanding the garrison. Whilst we were halted the General gave a Military Medal to the Mother of a dead sergeant & pinned one on another Sergeant. Then we marched by out two companies following a dozen or more batteries of artillery, out own band playing for us for this march by. It was a perfect morning - bright sun & just the right nip in the wind to make marching a pleasure.
You were mentioning in a recent letter that you did not see if it was all right for Alec having shown willing to hope to keep his home job in England. Why I should not be content to do the same. I think our cases are rather different to start with military life & conditions do not worry me like they do him. Then there are plenty left in Canada who could fill his place far better & not many who could fill his position when peace comes again. In my case the necessary material for artillery officers is distinctly limited and an architect & surveyor's training plus an aptitude for mathematics is one of the best preparations for a good officer so that there is no question where I ought to be if possible.
You will see that Muriel says the parcel has come from you. I have asked them to unpack it & keep some out for Berkely & send me the rest on here.
There has been a busy week with recruits here - a lot of exemptions were up on May 1st, most of them of older married men. One man on Thursday, 41 last November said he had 8 children & his eldest son was to be called up in 3 weeks. It seems rather foolish calling such a man up as he is anything but fit, very shaky on his feet & according to his own story he has to close a business employing 8 people.
A man for a Cadet corps who had been back from leave 5 weeks left for Cambridge yesterday - so I may be long enough yet
I hope you are keeping well. I suppose the spring cleaning operations will hardly be over yet.
My kind regards to Mr & Mrs Chapple & very best love to you.