Somewhere in France
June 19, 1916
Mrs. J. Drader,
2132 Belmont Ave.,
I wrote to you yesterday but just got your very welcome letter of May 19 today so am going to send another in reply to it. Eugene also gave me two letters of yours to read and a letter from Josie. It was so many all at once.
We shall probably be up in the front trenches in the course of a few hours so am writing this now before any rush comes.
From the tone of your letters you seem to be laboring under the impression that I would be in a different squad from Will. I was put in a recruit squad for a few days when in England but it was the work of a Sergeant Major who wanted to make everybody coming into the 66th from other units take a back seat for awhile.
I got as much drill in one day in Victoria as I did in all the time I was in the 66th. I qualified for the rank of Lieutenant in Victoria and I am sure that I could have got my commission in the Irish Guards if I had stayed there. However, I do not want to make a profession of soldiering so am not keen on promotion. Am better here than I would have been sticking around Edmonton and knowing that Will and Eugene were out here in the thick of it. We are all in condition to do our bit now and shall likely be at it in a few hours. Of course I don’t know anything but something tells me that this summer will be the fiercest fighting yet and I am glad we are here to do our share.
I sent you a ribbon like the one Nellie sent you when I was on my way to Halifax. It was one I wore on my cap for a while in the 66th. Did you ever get it? I guess Eugene will have told you about how we are placed in the Battalion. Will and I are together in C. Coy. 12 Platoon. Eugene is in D. Coy. and in command of the 14th Platoon. There are several 51st officers in the Batt. and of the men over (censored) % are 49th. There are also some (censored)th officers.
So the (censored)th has gone at last. I have heard all kinds of things about it leaving. I heard it was to leave 5 days after we left Edmonton. Heard this on the Olympic when we were on the ocean. There were over 8000 men on the boat and among them I met one from Tofino who gave me all kinds of news—of the kind in the song:
The Captain told the Mate,
The Mate told the Crew,
The Crew told me,
So I know it must be true.
I must write another letter tonight so will say bye bye for this time with best wishes.
Your Loving Son,
Pte. 101749 Drader, C.W.A.
49 Canadian Battalion
P.S. Forgot to tell you about our harness. What we wore coming over here is not thrown in the scrap heap but sent back to Canada I think for guys to come over in. We wear no leather here except the bayonet scabbard. All the rest is web.