Thurs. Aug 2nd/16
Dear Mr Irwin
Retreat, for today, has just sounded and as I sit inside the opening of my tent I will attempt a few lines to you before darkness sets in.
I will give you a rapid description of our trip from Barrie [?] to the camp here. We left Kingston at 8 P.M. Wednesday July 12th and arrived in Halifax about 10 P.M. Friday 14th. Being a troop-train we could not pass through the State of Maine and therefore were obliged to travel almost from one end of Quebec to the other. From there we turned south passing through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. When passing through the former province we saw something which, if it had been November, would have made you happy. Two fine red deer stood within 150 yards of the track eating. One looked up, when the train passed shook his head and continued eating. The other obeyed the soldiers order when standing at attention i.e. “not a move.”
We slept on the train Friday night and never left until 3 oclock p.m. Sat 15th when we marched to the docks and embarked on the “Empress of Britain.” Sunday morning 6 a.m. July 16th we left “the land of our birth” and put out to sea. For 8 days we never saw land and towards the last we were becoming somewhat anxious, knowing the surrounding perils. At the end of the eighth day we met our escort consisting of 3 torpedo boat destroyers. It was with a thrill of joy that we stood at the deck railing and watched them approach. Monday night we anchored in the river out from Liverpool Docks. The trip was a most enjoyable one, after considering the dangers which were hovering around. We were on the ocean 9 days and I have seen Stoney-Lake [?] oftentimes rougher than was the ocean. Sunset and moonrise on the ocean were two pictures never to be forgotten.
Tuesday morning at 3.30 am July 25th we were up preparing to disembark the large ship drew into dock and after our sound had played several selections (including “O Canada”) we boarded the train for “somewhere” we knew not. From 10.45 am until 8.15 pm we travelled on; to us seemed like a toy train. We marched from there to camp about 2 miles and “hung our hats” for the present. I lay down that Tues night on English soil which seemed to me more like foreign soil. It was then that I realized how far we were from “home” but through it all I was thankful for the Divine Guidance which brought us the long distance without a mishap and landed us safely here.
It is needless to give you a description of our trip from Liverpool to Otterpool as I presume you know I & have seen more of this country than I have. Otterpool is a neat camp situated about 9 miles from The City of Folkestone. It is a country place and has very little excitement. I have only been off the grounds once since I came, nine days ago, and that was Tuesday last when I was sent to Folkestone on a business trip.
I am at present attending the 6th Inf brigade school of Bombing, and expect the course will end this week. It is very interesting work and here let me say, a whole lot less dangerous than most people think. There are others from the platoon as well their names will likely appear in the “Register” some time in August.
We can hear the large cannons bombarding across the other shore today they were hard at it again. There has also been several air raids since we arrived but they haven’t come this far as yet. Glad to say that in the last one, not a single victim fell to the stroke of the murdering Hun. (And here let me insert a note far from this subject. Some one poked a head into the tent saw me & before I knew anything was landed out side my tent I was shaking hands with Lille Mills of the 98th Batt. They have been camped almost 200 yards from us for 9 days & I never knew he was there. He was on the “Lapland” which crossed with us writing riding about ¼ mile ahead of us. We had a splendid good chat which both of us enjoyed.)
And now I guess I have told you all the news worth while and will close for now. I will be very pleased to hear from you at anytime and will answer immediately on receipt of some.
Remember me to Mrs Irwin and all the boys
When writing send it to
No. 195.706 D Corp
Army Post & Price
Be sure to fill your fountain pen before addressing the envelope, as we don’t know how long we will be at this camp we are not having mail sent to this post office but [?].
Hoping to hear from you soon