Sarcee Camp, Alta.
June 20th 1916
Since there is no parade this afternoon on account of the rain, I will try to write. I have been writing to Ethel until my back aches. The rain ran water into the tent from the gravel walk in front of it until one of the inmates of this tent rustled a pick and shovel and dug through the walk. We have a rubber sheet each on the ground with a tick filled with straw on it and three single blankets on that. It makes such a low seat that my back aches from writing much.
We are not allowed into the Y.M.C.A. tents until 4.30 P.M. and then there is such a crowd there that a fellow has to hurry if he wants a chance to write there.
The weather has been very dry until yesterday forenoon when it started to rain. The ground is very sloppy now and water is running over the ground and down the ditches.
I just got a letter from Bert yesterday sent on with Ethel’s from Deer Mound and written on May 11th. I would like to get his letters a little sooner after he writes them. He seems to think that things are not so cheap as we are or have been led to believe in England. However I have heard that nearly everything has increased terribly in price since the war started. It seems that Germany is not the only place suffering with rise in prices of necessities.
I was on guard Sunday and until 9.30 A.M. yesterday. We fell in 8 A.M. Sunday and were inspected and divided into first, second, and third relief’s. I was in the third relief which went from the guard house for the first time at 1.30 P.M. The first relief left the guard house at 9.30 A.M. and the second at 11.30 A.M. It took from half to three quarters of an hour to make the rounds. There were eleven men in each relief, and eleven beats marked by posts. The eleven men under charge of the corporal or sergeant of the guard marched out along the line until they reached the man on the bat next to the guard house. This man halted and faced the front of his beat which was outward from the camp. The front man of the eleven took his place on the left of his one to be relieved while the other ten halted. Then the man being relieved had to “hand over” that is tell, his duties to the one relieving him. As soon as he was through with this ordeal he took his place at the head of the relief and the eleven men marched to the man on the next beat or post. Here the second man of the relief traded places with the man on the post in the same way. This was kept up until when they got around to the guard house again the eleven men were all different ones from what started. Each relief had to relieve four times and it left each man on his post approximately 2 hours each time.
The field officer of the day had to make his “grand rounds” once during the day and once during the night to inspect the guard. He did not happen to come while I was on beat, but all the guard in the guard house had to turn out on parade to be inspected. When the field officer of the day came around in the dark one of the guards instead of shouting, “Halt! Who comes there?”, yelled, “Halt! Phwat you vant? Who vas dat?” The major answered, “The field officer of the day.” The guard shouted, “Den phwat de ______ you doin’ round here at night?”
Sunday’s and Wednesday’s are visiting days in camp so that when I was on duty from about 1.45 P.M. to about 3.45 P.M. I had really nothing to do but walk up and down, salute all officers that I happened to meet, and once in a while inform some one ignorant of the fact that on one was supposed to walk on my beat during my relief but myself. I had more to do from 7.45 to 9.45 as all crossing the lines except at the guard house was stopped at 7.30 P.M. The guard house or is furnished with a platform where the men while not out on their relief’s have the priveledge of lying down if they can find soft spots enough on the boards. We had our great coats rolled so I put one under my head, but I was not warm enough to sleep comfortably. However I did sleep enough that I was not uncomfortably sleepy on post. After we were relieved by the 151st and dismissed it started to rain. I unrolled the bottom flap of the tent and fastened it. After I had dinner I went to sleep and did not awake until a fellow kicked my feet and shouted to me that there was a letter for me. That was 4.30 P.M.
Ethel says the “darlings” are in the best of health. That is some relief to me as the letter before said that Clarence had a cold in his eyes.
It seems more than three weeks since I came here, but I think I have had four or five letters since I got here. The canteen is an awful temptation to spend money. There is never any fruit in the regular rations except jam. There is never any pie or cake and the pudding has no variety so that these things in the canteen as well as fresh milk seem to have an awful attraction for what little money a fellow has.
Well it is supper time so I guess I shall close for now. I remain,
Your Loving Son,