August 26, 1915 My Dear Mother Received your letters of Aug 8 day before yesterday while we were out on a four day manoeuver. I would have written earlier in the week if I had taken note paper along. They say these manoeuvers complete our training and that we are now to get four days leave. The first part of the rumor seems correct but I am not sure of the four days leave. Got a letter from Agnes at Jacksons Point. She wanted to know about Mac Maclaren in the AMC. He is in the same shack as we are. It is a coincidence alright. I am sending you a picture of one of our bivouacs. I am on the left hand lying with face upturned, in the middle with back to camera is Mac. And then Joe Pattinson. Eudora knows of him and farther back smoking the pipe is Gladstone Ghent. We generally have a good time where we go on these manouevers when it does not rain. Last Monday morning the battalion started out and walked about 8 miles, struck camp for the day in one of these old English parks you read about. We joined the II Division about a mile from camp and you can imagine the line up 22000 soldiers 5 and 6 Ambulance Corps, 18 19 20 21, 22 23 24 25, 26 27 28 29 30 31 battalions 1100 men each 13 14 15 16 Can Field Artillery. Signalling Corps and Heavy Artillery. The Division got into the park alright and there was lots of room for three or four more Divisions. There was a nice little lake there and herds of young deer running around loose. It was a pretty sight at night when all the camp fires were lit with the men sitting around singing, playing mouth organs and the 18th Batt band played rag time music ending up with Home Sweet home and Abide with me. It was the most peaceful sight to me so far in the Army. We were up at 12 midnight and on the march again for about 3 miles to defend a railway line with the machine guns which consisted of placing the gun in a position and one man keeping guard while the rest slept in the open field. We all slept however as best we could. It was a little cold and I think its about time to send along that balaclava hat and that long shawl and belly band Mrs. Perney made. There was a mix up with the transports that morning and we were unable to get our kits and toilet requisites so we remained unwashed until late that afternoon when we bathed in a stream 3' deep and 6' wide amidst the bullrushes and slime of 100 years. We bivouaced about a mile from Ashford where 3 nights previous 2 German Zepps flew over a dropped a few bombs. We did nothing the following day and the next day Thursday returned to camp. Aug 30.15 Had a weekend pass over Sunday and Mac and I went to London. The weather was cold and wet and spoiled our plans. We had thought of going to [?] (Flying Camp) for a flight or failing that we had thought of renting a canoe at Maidenhead and going for a good long paddle. We ended up by getting on all the different busses and seeing the town. The four days leave I spoke of before was a rumor after all as our leave to London was, I am almost certain, our last. I had a (another) letter from Agnes at Jackson point and a letter from Fred Baker together with Williams Sunday World and Star. Must close now Mother to get this away, but will write soon again. Your affectionate Son John.