Pte W.J. Stares 59907.
21st Battn. C.E.F. Regt No2. Coy.
West Sandling Camp.
Hythe, Kent. June 16th 1915
Dear Mr. Irwin.
Received your letter to-day 16th and was very glad to hear from you. I have been rather lonesome these days for Canadian mail, but I am in good spirits today for I received other letters and papers from friends in Norwood, Last Saturday I got a big surprise for I received news from Father and Mother after a period of 8 years (not very much to my credit) but it has learnt me a lesson. I had quite a time finding their address as the have made many moves since I was home last. Father & Brother Charlie are wearing the King’s uniform. Father is in the Royal Field Artillery as a gunner at the age of 58 and is proud of the fact. He was called up by the National Reserve being an old soldier in India. Brother Charlie (married with boy of 7 years) has been in the trenches since last March – so my letter to them was also a big surprise. Mother has been worrying over me since the War started, wondering what had become of me. They have been studying the papers very carefully to see if my name whould appear in the Roll of Honor, allthough they did not know that I had enlisted, still they knew it was my duty to do so. My Brother is in the 8th City of London Rifles somewhere in France. We receive the Norwood Register occasionally and it always starts a free fight to see who shall read it first – anyhow it is carefully preserved and passed round- Read Walter Robust letter in the Register and was glad to hear that he came through the ordeal safely. All the Boys a feeling fine and we are as black as any Southern coon (so sunburnt) We are going through our hardest training this last 2 weeks as the Rifle ranges up at 4A.M. Breakfast 4:15 then a 4 mile march to the Butte back late at night. Physical exercises and Bayonet drill sometimes by the way of a change. We are in a very pretty part of the country – so peaceful – I would like to send you some sketches of my own surroundings – but I am afraid I would get into serious trouble – anyhow I have a fine collection and will take great care of them. Shall be going home this coming Saturday for a few days. Father was lucky in being stationed at Portsmouth (his birthplace) and he is amongst his own friends and relatives. Mother thinks she will try to become a Red cross nurse now the rest of the family has enlisted. Airoplains & zeppelins are a very common sight these days flying over the camp. The Germans have made two or three raids near here. London. Ramsgate & Southend with little damage, and loss of life. I think I will close my letter for this time. Wishing to be remembered to the people of Norwood. To night I make my first appearance on a Concert platform, singing at Hythe in aid of Patriotie Funds. Good Bye for the present
I Remain Yours
Sincerely W. J. Stares
Please note the slight change in address & number.