Lieut. G.S. Andrews, RCE
"I" Branch, Cdn Corps HQ
Canadian Army Overseas
Base P.O., Canada.
England, 5 May 1941.
From now on, whenever I can get a typewriter, I plan to do your letters this way, in duplicate, and with each original, will enclose the duplicate of the previous letter, just to safeguard that you will not miss any mails. Am calling this one No 61, just to start off at a number which is approximately right for the total no. written since I left home. They have averaged one per week. Also, by typing them, I can get more on each sheet of paper. In many ways, I think it would be a good idea if you would do the same, as there seems to be some chance of your letters not getting through always. I am quite sure that one of yours written early in March did not arrive. That is the only one I know of, however, which is a pretty good record.
Got back from leave yesterday afternoon, after sitting up all night in the train down from Stranraer, Scotland, to London, where I got a late lunch, and then on a slow train down there in the afternoon. Was a bit groggy so went to bed early. Back at work this morning, and accumulated, so will be busy and happy.
My last letter to you was posted from Dublin, and I hope it reaches you. I mean to send a post card to your Mother from Ireland, but overlooked doing so after all. After spending an afternoon and night in Dublin, we took a train down the coast to a little place called Rethdrum, a genuine small Irish town. At the station as a man with an Irish pony and car, who gave us a ride into the middle of town, in the course of which we passed a real Irishwoman leading a small Irish donkey, with cart, and a huge pig in the cart. My partner, Capt Purcell asked our man what it was, to which the reply was "'Tis a woman, a donkey, a cart, and a pig." He let us off at the cycle shop where we arranged with a nice looking young lad to rent two hikes for the afternoon. The next point of call was the local pub, where we had arranged to meet our driver for a pint. He gulped two pints of Guinness down in no time, and left us to chat with the publican. This worthy seemed to be about the leading citizen, as he ran a grocery shop in connection with the pub. In the course of his remarks, he opined that the movies were the ruination of a small town. For a shilling a person could go into a movie, and be entertained for a whole evening, whereas for one and tupence one could get a pint of Bass or Guinness, which only lasted half an hour at the most. Yes the movies were a bad thing. Incidentally, there was no movie in Rathdrum.
After lunch at the little hotel, we got out the bikes, and pushed our way 9 miles over a narrow, but excellent winding road to the lake Glendalough, back in the mountains. It was a perfect day, cool, but bright, The upper part of the lake and valley were mountainous and reminded me of some of the wild counterparts in B.C. even an old abandoned mine. One of the most interesting features was a series of tiney little and very old churches. One or two quaint little specimens claimed to date back to St. Kevin, circa 600 A.D. We got back late that evening, a good supper washed down by Guinness, and to bed.
Next morning, we just had time to ride down to Avoca, a beautiful vale, and catch the train back to Dublin. The cycle boy met the train at Rathdrum and got his bikes, and gave us our coats and overnight bag. During our two nights in Dublin, we saw "Money doesn't Matter" at the famous Abbey Theatre, and one of Shaw's plays, "Mrs Warrens Profession" at the Gate Theatre. You would have enjoyed both of these and the noting was excellent.
At Belfast, the next afternoon, we just had time to got a country town to see a teacher friend of Capt Purcell's for lunch and tea, and back to catch the boat train in the evening. The steamers are almost as nice as the CPR Victoria boats, and only about 1 Â½ hour run across the narrow channel from Larpe on the Irish side to Stranraer in Scotland. It was a fine leave, rushed, and perfect weather. We wore civies in Kire. I feel that it is only a nibble of Ireland, but I think we got the feel of those charming yet irrational people.
No mail from Canada last week, however there was a small parcel of Dixie, five plugs, I think from Capt Bowden. It was just in time as I finished the last of the previous supply just before going on leave. A letter came from Axel Kinnear, who has arrived safely in this country. I have not been able to get down to see him, but may have a chance one of these days.
Am impatient to hear about your trip home, and if you are in residence. Don't forget to go to the Bank of Nova Scotia to get the check from Ottawa for $134.00. It must be lovely at home now. Ireland reminded me a lot of Victoria, the gorse was in bloom over the hillsides, and dandelions, and other flowers.
The typing is a bit weird, but you will have to read between the mistakes. Hope everything is OK. I am feeling very fit after leave, got quite sunburned, and must have put on about 10 pounds of excess weight. Must get at some work now, so cheerio, and all my love to you both,
As ever -