1st Corps Field Survey Coy.
Royal Canadian Engineers.
C.A.S.F. Base P.O. Canada.
England, 27 October 1940.
My Dear Little Wife:
How do you like that! This is Sunday night - about 9:00pm or 2100 hrs as we say in the army, and I have had a pretty full day - First of all, two letters from you this past week - one dated 29 Sept came on Tuesday - and one of 5th Oct on Friday - so everything is first rate. Also the last shipment of Tobacco, mentioned in your letter of 15 Sept. arrived safely on Tuesday - to relieve a serious tobacco situation - then of all the crazy things - the tobacco you sent during the summer finally popped along the very next day - it looked a little tired & travel worn, but in perfect condition never the less.
What a delightful surprise to learn that Irene is once more safe & sound in Canada - I am overjoyed - because frankly I had entertained grave misgivings about our brave little aunt - and although I have wanted to hear some news of her, almost hated to have it come for fear it might be bad - But her characteristic little note coming from my own wife - written in Vancouver of all places - well I feel so happy - It is too bad she field to find trace of us when she first arrived in Victoria - but I am hoping that by this time she has retraced her wake shall I say - and seen what a dear wife and baby I have - and for you & Mary seen what a sweet little aunt she is. I will try to write her very soon. My how I wish I could have seen her - she & I have been playing hide & seek in an atrocious fashion - but now that she is safely home - I feel that the pleasure of catching up with her is more certain than ever. I know Irene would get a kick out of Mary - because she has known all of my family as babies - It may have slipped your mind that Helene Catt's mother was a girlhood friend of Irenes. Also Jack Login whose name you will see on our address cards - By the way you should look up Jack Login he works down near the vaults in the rabbit [?] in the Public Works Account checking office - one of the boys would show you - he is the little white pained cripple -
Before commentary on your letter of 5 October, there are a couple of things I should say before I forget. My appointment to the CASF came through in orders on Monday last - so your old man is now Lieut. G.S.A. R.C.E. Another Pip has sprouted on each shoulder - so I am just one of the seeming million lieutenants in the Can. Army. How long it will take to get [?] adjusted is problematical, But it shouldn't be long now. I had some bad luck getting your money off due to a series of silly circumstances most of them due to Army red tape again and some just coincidences - I am going to see the paymaster personally tomorrow and may be able to get this straightened out. If you get stuck you may have to dip into the Insurance for another 100.00 - but it will get straightened out in the long run. The last allowances of Â£18-0-0 was sent you 6 Sept. - That was for the month of August, ie to 31st Aug. You will get from the Canadian Govt $172.42 back allowance & pay to the end of August and from then over 132.00 for each month ie for Sept. Oct. etc. I find here that I will just be able to manage if I don't send you the Â£20-0-0 as I tried to do last week - because I have to pay the British Army pay office a total of Â£3-6-10 which they overpaid me since 10th July.
I have also unexpectedly been given permission to take a week's leave - starting next Tuesday - and Lorne has been able to get him to coincide - so we can going together to Scotland & back. This will take a bit of each even though we do get one railway fare paid.
Something else I wish you would find out for me - if you can, discretely - without too much fuss - what credit have I in the superannuation fund - Norman Baker the [?] service commissioner should give you this information - they [?] to send me a statement about twice a year - but have not done so for a long time - I understand that the B.C. Gov't are keeping the payments up for men in the C.A.S.F. Could you get that confirmed? I have never had any official advice that this is so in my case.
I have been getting my regular army inoculations - have had the typhoid, and 2 of the 3 anti tetanus - and still have one more of the latter plus a vaccination for small pox - then I should be full enough of bugs to scare anything away.
To-day Lorne & I went for a good tromp before lunch - it was cool & dry - just perfect for a good brisk walk - did about 5 miles. In the P.M. Charlie Sontar & I drove down to see our Major Baird at the hospital - poor man has been there about 2 months - and at last he looks really as tho' he is going to get pulled up to par once more - We surely will be glad to have him back - a company like this needs an older experienced man running it.
Lieut. Sontar is a life-saver for me - he alone is worth the time I have spent with this company - he is something of Doug Macdougalls stamp - only different of course - He keeps doing little odd good turns for me - I had Mary's picture up on a shelf near my bed, leaning against a tobacco can - and he was fussing around - while I was writing to you one night - and he said then - "how is that" he had found a wise thick clear piece of celluloid and made the neatest little frame for Mary's picture - Tonight which I have been writing this - he waxed & polished up my Sam Brown belt, pistol holster & strap - shined up all the brass on it - so I would have it spick & span for my leave - He's one in a million - and a good soldier - I felt so sorry for him not long ago - he has been short on cigarettes for a long time - his mail held up for some reason or other - and finally the other day a fine big parcel came along - and Charlie waltzed up to our room gloating over it - Cigarettes at last oh boy - it was proven his wife & daughter - well he opened it up - and sox on top - sox underneath - sox on the bottom - all sox aobut a dozen pair - and no cigarettes - Poor Charlie - he was heart broken - but of course took it as a joke & passed it off - He's got enough sox now to last him till 1950 if the war is still on then. I slip him the odd box from what I get - but love to do it sort of casually because he's too independent to [?]. When your ship comes in from the Army for Office Ottawa, take 2.00 and send him 600 players Lieut. C.E. Sontar, - same address as mine. You can put on it from Jean & Mary - that is on the card that the company supplies - he would get a big kick out of that. I sure want you to meet Charlie someday - I must try to get a snap of him.
Have not heard from Nora - but do hope that news is good I gather that "Miss Fidlar's Garden" was not quite conventional enough - and too crude for the Art Gallery in Vancouver - but who cares - we had our fun out of it didn't we - Someday I'll write a book and illustrate it with my efforts in draughtsmans look. That would be fun wouldn't it! You could help me with it. Will send the Vanc 'r art gallery a special autographed copy for their library -
I was very amused at Mary's reactions to [?] girls - the funny little soul - They aren't going to put anything over on her! She will be quite sophisticated - it isn't every Victoria baby that can snub her nose at a negress. I remember when we were kids down in Florida - we had a coloured maiden "Bessie" which became an important chapter of our family history - It is said that when I was reprimanded for having dirty hands I used to say that I had caught it from Bessie - so you see I started my diplomatic efforts at an early age.
You financing sounds O.K. - and go ahead give them the assignment of 1000.00 on the insurance policy. It will reduce the payments as you say if they sure have to claim it.
If you see Mrs Hope give them my regards - and tell her I am very pleased to hear about Sawyer - Well dear its now late & bed time - will be writing from somewhere in England or Scotland next time - Love to you & Mary -
As ever yours