Otterpool Camp, Kent, Eng.
226th No. 1000425, 14th Reserve,
April 10th, 1917
Just a few lines to let you know I got your last letter dated 14/3/17, the first one I got since I got here. This is our fourth day now, and this is the first time I've really had time to write, not to mention convenience. But the YMCA just put up a tent in our lines, and we can use it twice a week, but I hope it's the last week I'll be here. We expect to move into Thorncliffe Monday or Tuesday. This is really a mistake the authorities made putting us here, as this is only another quarantine camp and we've got to stay here till next week. Well mother, I was glad to hear you were getting letters from them over here, and always, if possible, I'll write every week. Sometimes we don't get the chance when we're moving, but I'll always try and keep up.
Well mother dear, there must be some society in our little home town, with the debates. I've only read the young newspaper once, but tell me if I guessed right who wrote the poetry; Mr. McLean Sr. or Standring, eh? Do you hear much of them now? I got the parcel you asked about and I was in love with the socks, and the others came real good, but you'll know that by now, as this is the third time I mentioned them, but one never knows if his letters will get through or not. I hope you got my last, as I sent you a picture I'm sure you'll like; four of us from Pelly and Arran. We got them taken in Haselmere, the nearest place to Bramshott. We were about 4 weeks not in isolation there, so we managed to enjoy that part of our long stay there anyway, and do a little sightseeing as far as shanks mare would take us. It's quite a historical place. We were to Blackdon, Lord Tennyson's place, as they are open to Canadians free. Anyway, there are some beautiful grounds there, and a nice museum. You wanted to know in your last if we are really getting enough to eat. We certainly do. You'll agree with me if you got that picture. I weigh 160 now, but our meals certainly are not served up hotel style, by any means. I have many times said to myself, "if mother could only see me now". I think the most you will remark about when I get back is table manners. We acquire them here. I haven't used a knife and fork for a month, since we came to this place. Well I think it's what you'd call open air and simple life. It's not stopped raining, except to snow, and the grubslingers have some job, as we use field kitchen, and they have a lovely time keeping the fires alive. So their cooking isn't like mother's, but we always have a good appetite for it. But this is only a temporary camp, so it won't last long, and we'll be glad to be to Thorncliffe, some of the boys were down from there and say it's a splendid camp and have everything fixed Al. And we'll be in huts again, which beats tenting. We have all tents over here, painted over to keep the light in. I had the job for a day, so I'm a qualified paint slinger. Tell Joe, and I'll try for the job of painting our house, eh? You will be glad to get it finished. I hope Joe comes through all right with his eye. You should be doing well with the pigs at 15 cents. It must be some price here, but we get variety. We get plenty of mutton here, and it's nice for a change, but I don't want to be too sheepish before I get leave! Some of the boys don't care for it, and even dream about it. This must be great sheep country. There are hundreds around here and this is lamb season. It looks pretty to see them. But it's pretty cold for them. They grow an awful lot of hops here too; as we came down we saw regular forests of hop poles, so we did see something for a change. There is also a flying school here and it's interesting to watch them. You can look up any time and see half a dozen in the air. They seem to be making big headway now in France. There was 12 thousand Germans taken yesterday and guns too. I heard them for the first time last night when everything was quiet.
Well mother, we have been attached to the 14th Reserve and our 0.C. Colonel Snider; and when we go, we'll be as reinforcements to the14th at the front. It's a Scottish Regiment, so you'll soon be hearing that Frankie's in kilts! But I don't think it will come to that, quite. I hope not, in this kind of weather.
Well mother, I'll sure try to see them all when I get leave. I got aunt Mab's address. I was sorry that Reg Skeet got it so badly and Winnie's husband too. I don't like to talk of leave now, till we get it, as we've been expecting it so long. I think they'll be disappointed waiting to see me so long. But I'm pretty sure of it after we get to Thorncliffe. They say we'll have some good officers there, and the 0.C. has been to the front., so he's had experience, anyway, which is more than some of our present ones have.
Well mother dear, you'll think I've more to say of myself than anyone else this time. But I'm generally thinking what you'll be doing at home. So don't forget to write how everything is, and what everyone is doing there. There isn't really much to write about here, although you must look for more. I had a letter from May last week, and a box, and I got a candy box from a Minitonas girl too, and yours which beat them all, So now mother, I'll close hoping you are all in best of health as this leaves me, and don't forget that I'll do the best I can when I get a pass, and try to get all round, so now, I'll close with best love to you all from your loving son,
P.S. I'll let you know how the kilts feel!