1st Corps Field Survey Coy,
Royal Canadian Engineers -
C.A.S.F. Base P.O. Canada.
England - 20th October 1940
I have delayed writing your letter till tonight, because it nice to be able to tell you how I spent the Sunday. I was free of duties to-day, and so was Lorne, so he came down to our barracks for lunch, and then we set off for Dorking to see the Haywards. I like to go down there about once a month to see how they are getting along - and they are always glad to see me, and whomever I happen to bring along - Previously I have been able to wangle a ride in one of the company cars, but to-day being a perfect October day, Lorne & I thought it would be nice to go by bus - First we walk to a small village about a mile away - catch a bus there to a somewhat larger town where we have to catch a different bus which takes us to Dorking - it is fine - we go up on top where you have a grand vantage point to see the country-side as the huge bus rumbles along, sometimes on a section of beautiful modern 2-lane highways with greens between the lanes - then without warning it will thread its way along the [?] old fashioned road with high hedge or brick walls on either side. However from the upstairs seats of the bus you can gaze rudely over the walls & hedges and gorge your curiosity on the things to be seen on the other side of the walls - and you can [?] - These are varied and interesting. Quaint old houses, mostly stone or brick, often very ornate, especially the older ones - Sometimes small dainty little cottages - with real "English" flower gardens - just as often huge manor homes, or "halls" - set in spacious grounds - always lovely grass and always fine old trees. We reached Dorking and walked up the hill to Haywards from the bus stop in the town - Bert was away for his gov't game, I knew he would be doing that on such a wonderful day - but he got in just as we started tea. Mrs. Hayward is always so nice, and cheerful - the younger girl, Jean, is away at school, and Margaret is staying at home because her eyes are not strong enough to stand up to the studying - too bad because she is a very bright girl and a good student. She is raising some chicks - has one brood of 7 or 8 about 2 weeks old & very lively, and another brood down to batch in a few days - I suggested it was rather the wrong end of the year to be raising chicks - but if can count they ought to get all the breaks - It is something for him to do without using her eyes securely - and as eggs are about 4 shillings a dozen - that's about $1.00 - there is an economic incentive. So far the pickle works in London has escaped bombs - although they have had some big ones fall almost too close for comfort. They are carrying on however - Poor Mr Hayward feels the responsibility for all the people who work in the factory - some of their homes of course have been smashed - He says they have been wonderful though. My I admire all these people - the Germans can smash their homes and their factories - but they will never smash their spirit - Ironically some of the traits of English character which have allowed them to get into such a tight spot, are the very traits which will go a long way to getting them out of it.
Now it looks as though my transfer and pay etc are going to be put through a lot faster than I thought last week. However to keep you from the bailiff's clutches, I am arranging to send you Â£20-0-0 through the army pay-master - Actually I borrowed this from Lorne who happens to be flush and I'll pay him back as soon as my pay gets adjusted. Your regular allowance of $57.00 and the $75.00 of my assigned pay will come through directly to from Ottawa sometime not too far in the future. There will be quite a chunk when it starts, because the 57.00 will be retroactive to 10th July - and the 75.00 will be retroactive from 1st August. You will be able to go on quite a binge - you better look the other way when you pass the fur coat shops.
Believe it or not, your letter of 2nd September came [?] along the other day - not the least bit ashamed - so it didn't go down into the [?] after all! I was glad to get it even if its 3 younger brothers got here ahead of it! I have been wondering what you plan to do pending the building of our house - Do you intend to stay on with the Germans or are you planning to move? Hope you will have some satisfactory scheme worked out.
Got a cheery letter from Kay Robinson the other day she has something to do with the cigarette parcels & the Forest Branch news letter - which they are sending to us - when you see her tell her thanks - I doubt if I will have time to write directly.
I went up to Lorne's mess the other night for dinner & evening - they have a beautiful house with a lot of lonely furnishings left by the owner - including a billiard table. They have a fine bunch of officers and it is very enjoyable. Our mess is rather dull these days - 3 officers away leaving only 4 of us - and rather quiet. It makes the extra messing much more [?] too - we had to pay 4 shillings per day each during September for extra messing - that is $30.00 per month - which is disgraceful. It should never cost more than 2 shillings per day. And the hull of it is that our food is nothing to brag about. I claim that it is bad management. We had much better meals at the English mess for 2 bob a day - with afternoon tea thrown in.
I am still very busy - and the time goes fast. Am not doing the kind of work I should, but largely due to a combination of circumstances which I hope soon will be remedied.
A hug & kiss for Mary and big ones for you dear - We are doing fine - and keeping fit.
As ever -