350 Pte. W.J. Stares
21st Battalion. C. Coy
2nd Expeditionary Force
Mar. 26. 1915
Received your welcome letter to-day and was pleased to hear from you all though it was up to me to write first.
The Boys are enjoying good health except Chappelle who is still in Hospital suffering from Rhumatism, his chances to go with this contingent do not look very good, and will I think be discharged I am studying hand these last days to catch up in my Scout-work-the lastest thing I am tackling is the Morse code of signaling. Maybe a days work with the Scouts would be interesting to you.
We start at 8:30A.M. fully equipted-haversack rifle, canteen with uncooked rations for a march across country, after marching a couple of miles we halt the rest.-Some will be asked to draw a sketch of the country seen, others will give a two minute discussion on the lay of the country – what it will be most suitable for, and why. We then go forward again for another mile, more sketching and rifle shooting, judging distances, using the compass. Another march till dinner time, and then finding wood, making fires and cooking dinner. After dinner, return home by different route. On rainy day we have lectures from the head cook (a South African hero) on how to provide for ourselves, best way of cooking certain things, and the best spots to look for when sleeping out. Each days work is different and makes the work most interesting. My sketching has been highly recommended and is allways picked out for this branch of the work.
We expect to leave very shortly and the Boys are in fine spirits, some are counting the days. yes, even the hours for the time to move- I went to the Hospital yesterday and said Good-bye to the kind Norwood friends there. Miss Mathews has not been feeling very well lately suffering with the La Grippe, and wishes to be remember to you. The weather has been great and the Boys are getting “Tanned up”. Sorry to hear of the death of Mr. Moffat. Next week the Battalion will go on a two days manouving and the Scouts are to suppose they are the enemy and to get by the outpost and capture a company or two. Our Captain thinks we can even capture the Colonel he has so much confidence in our ability. Of course we will try our scheme in the night. Our examinations takes place next week and I do not know how I shall come out, being so far behind the rest. Well I will close for this time – hoping to hear from you again
I Remain Yours Sincerely