Sept. 8th 1916
Kent Sounty? Eng.
Rev. A.M. Irwin,
Dear Mr. Irwin:
What is the call,
The bugle call,
The call that has no betters?
The silver call,
That beats them all?
The music call for “LETTERS.”
Everyone is anxious when the above call is sounded and runs to see if he is among the favored ones.
So it was that I was hurrying across the excellent campus on Wed. noon last when my eye rested on the man with the mail. But he has none for me ------- because ------- he had given them to someone else and before I reach that former man the “someone” hands me two. One in particular I was looking for, namely, the one from HOME, but I was given a very pleasant surprise when I learned that the other was from you. Allow it to pass without saying that I enjoyed it very much and it made me think of home when I read your descriptive trip of Blue Mount.
To-night I sit alone in the office as it is my turn to “be on guard” as it were while others are out having a time. Each one has to take his turn at working at nights and it fell to me to-night. To-night was a lovely evening and as I sat in the tent with the side flap down and my desk facing west, I could watch the sun pass over Canada while to us it was sinking in the west; the clouds were real dark but each had a silver edge which one could detect as well as the dark centres. The last two days have been fine here but the few before that werecold and they even seemed worse when we read in the papers of the temperature in Canada rising to 100 degrees in the shade etc.
A few words about our Battalion: this morning at about six a draft of 150 men left the 93rd lines on route to France. It was our first draft. After lining up on the parade grounds they received an address from LT. COL. JOHNSTON, after which they went across to headquarters where they were inspected by the brigadier. After that they wereled down the roadhead by the band of the 93rd Battalion. “Good Luck To the Boys of the Allies,” “Till the Boys Come Home,” “We’ll Never Let the Old Flag Fall” “Farwell Isabell” etcetc. etc. were some of the songs they played and sung as they marched away ----------------- THE BEST OF THE BATTALION. I can tell you that it made the cold chills chase themselves up and down my backas I stood and listened to the strains of music and watched the boys march off to the thing which they have been training for so long. Can you imagine my feelings as I stood and watched them and yet couldn’t go myself. One hears the people say occasionally that the boys are only bluffing and that they didn’t want to go but only those that have been thro’ the struggle this far can realize the desire to be there.
Doubtless you saw the account in the paper of the zepp. that was brought down on the night of the 2nd and 3rd Sept. To you people it would only seem a small thing even though a great accomplishment, but the English people go in ecstacy over the thing. In the paper I saw a photograph of the casualties; a small boy was holding a dead rooster in one hand and a dead sparrow in the other -------- the harvest that the zepp. reaped. We can well afford to lose that for a zepp. any day. One can see on all sides that the Hun has not conquered the people here by his “frightfulness.” They haven’t a bit of fear of being licked now.
I will try to answer a few things which you asked me in your letter. I must first say I enjoyed your description of the trip to “Kosh” with your scouts and I was amused at the way you spoke of the slackers. One can see them no matter where he goes and no matter what they are at. Then you spoke of you flotilla which crossed the lake and my thoughts ran back to our ocean trip. Mother said they she received my first letters but not the one concerning our ocean trip I would like her to have gotten it as it was even more descriptive than the others.
Now regarding that lecture tour: I will consider your application is accepted. You can go ahead making the arrangements for our trip. But before we get as far as Lakefield I am afraid we would ready for the poor house.
Yes our boys are certainly pushing the Kaiser these days and every day the push is just as strong as the one before. There seems to be no falling off in the strength of the Allies. They surely intend to see it to a finish now. By the papers here I see that the Kaiser has promised his people no winter campaign as the entry of Rumania has put the “kibosh” on things.
I was sorry to hear of Flossie Burkell’s death but the poor girl I hope is better off there than here for she suffered terribly. I also heard that Mr. Turners death which came to me rather surprisingly. I had opened one of my letters from Lil. and was about to read it when I dropped the last page and which prooved to be an enclosure. Incidentally I read it first and it was brief and --- well I guess you know how surprised I was to read it that way.
You spoke of Capt. Thompson; he and I are still good friends I know his men thing just as much of him as ever. He is at present down at Lydd at the rifle ranges with a party from the 93rd. I dont expect to see very much more of him now that we are in England.
Under separate cover I am enclosing you a copy of some poems. I tried to get a book but after waiting for several weeks I was still without it. Apparently it is out of print and will be some time before it will be in again. They are by a sergeant who was I the P.P.C.L.I. and was hilled the first day that he was in the trenches I think you will like the most of them as they are very nice and they depict the life as nearly as any I have yet read. I wont say anything about the one re. Sir Sam Hughes as I consider it a good line of bluff but outside of that I like the rest. I typed these in my spare moments as I was unable to get a book. I am learning some of the ones which appeal to me. “Letters” is in my opinion very good as I know that it couldn’t be truer than the author’s version.
I was also going to send you a sketch (rough one) of our position here in Kent but on second thought I decided to save myself the trouble as the censor might think I was a spy and in that case would be shot before my time.
I don’t know of any more news just sat present. Everyone of our platoon iswell so far as I know.
Remember me to any one who I would be unable to write to I would be glad to receive a letter from you at any time as they are interesting and are themost welcome thing in this lonesome land. Remember me to Mrs. Irwin and all the boys.
Here’s hoping that we may all meet back, in Norwood some time soon
Your Sincere Friend,