Wed. afternoon 5th
May 5. 1915
We arrived here Sunday afternoon at 3.30 and this is wed. afternoon. It is raining and we have been dismissed. I'm am sitting on my blankets in the tent. There are 6 fellows in this tent,- Sparling, Turriff, [Guich?], Wilson Graham & myself. I'm in charge of the tent and have to see that things in the tent are in order and answer to the roll call at night and get all supplies etc.
Last night and yesterday afternoon it was raining. We were out shooting and got kind of wet. We changed our clothing when we got back and spent a very enjoyable evening.
I had to quit writing and go on Parade. This is a swell morning and I don't have to parade because I'm a mess orderly. I wait on the tables, dry the dishes & clean up dishes at 9. and don't have anything to do till 11.45 and then again at night. I like this job pretty good. It is better than drilling for a change. I mentioned being out shooting. We shot at a small target at a distance of 30 yds. It is to qualify us to shoot on the long ranges. I made a very good score in deed. It is group shooting. You try to get your shots all close together. If a 1 inch circle will go round your 5 shots your get 25 marks. If a 2 inch circle 20 and so on. For my 1st 5 I got 20 and my second five 25 marking 45 out of possible 50. Nine out of 10 of my shots were on the bull and just one a little off,- pretty good eh! If I can keep that up on the long ranges I'll know that my experience at the ranges in Regina has done me some good. There were only a few possibles (50) made and I did better than most of our fellows.
Pa got to Montreal thurs. morning and I left sat. night. I didn't see him very often he was kept busy. I had dinner sat. night with uncle Bob & Pa at the Windsor. Sat. afternoon uncle Bob & I went to the theatre. Pa went out to the golf grounds with one of the [drug men?]. Pa was at the station when we left. I wrote Reg. I was coming thro Toronto & he met the train Sunday a.m. at 11. I spoke to him for a few minutes at the station and he followed us while we went for a route march thro the city for 2 hrs. or more. I spoke to him just before we got in the boat and told him I'd write if I could get leave and come over to Toronto this week end and see Pa & him. I applied for leave this A.M. and I am pretty sure I can go. I must write Reg. to-day If by any chance I can't get over I think they will come over here. I wrote Pa in New York that this is a swell camp & worth while coming to see.
This sure is a dandy camp, better than I ever hoped for. The meals are better than we got in Montreal. Water works run all thro the camp. We have good lavatories. The parade grounds are very large and covered with green grass. There are about 1300 here now, 600 from McGill & 700 from Toronto. We are the only overseas bunch here, all the rest are taking the officers training class. There are about 260 of us, you know we are D Co. of the 38th. Just between you & me, we look down just a little on the other fellows and I think quite a number of them look up to us. Although there are a number of good fellows with the officers'training bunch. Harry Jameson & Herb Gardiner are with the Toronto O.T.C. I've been talking with them both. Eaton's Battery the corps that Gordon Gauld is with, is in Ottawa and I think the cycle corps (Harvey G) is in Toronto yet. Art. Brown is in Ottawa also I'm not sure what corps he is in but I think Eaton's Battery. There are no overseas men from Toronto here.
I don't think I mentioned about the bands that are here. My goodness! It sounds great to hear them, they play such swell music that you think you are at a picnic or exhibition. They are sure great things to keep up a fellow's spirits. They play at intervals all day. They start playing before we are up (6.a.m.) and until we good to bed (10.p.m.). Lights are out at 10.15. They play when we are marching and it sure makes a fellow swing along with a springy stride. They play for physical drill 8.10 - 8.45 a.m. and we go thro the drills in time to the music.
There is a Y.M.C.A. at the camp and they have organized baseball & foot-ball leagues. Our platoon(15) played platoon 16 and beat them. That was our first game. We play again to-night I think. I play short stop. We play indoor ball. The foot-ball hasn't started yet. I don't think I'm good enough to catch a place on the team. I never played much of it.
Did you get the pictures from Saskatoon. Be sure & let me know for I payed Geo. Porter $5 to send them home. There are 3 pictures - the rugby, University Hockey Team, & C.A.S. Hockey Team. I think I'm best in the C.A.S. picture, what do you think?
Say! Those Cookies went good on the train coming over from Montreal and tell Mary the Candy was great and that she is sure getting to be a good cook. Reg. has not got his boxes yet. I couldn't bring them. You know we are not allowed to carry grips any more. All we own now is carried in our kit bags which when fasten to our backs when we march. I sent the other grip to Toronto with some dirty clothing in & boots, sweater etc. We have had three or four marches with all our goods on. We carry a kit bag which when we have all our clothing etc. in. weighs about 50 or 60 lbs., our great coats, haversacks, grub tin, water bottle, & gun. We are getting used to the little load and soon we will be able to go forty or fifty mls. a day quite easily(Perhaps). The longest we have carried them is about 7mls. But that was only for 2 or 3 hrs. in the afternoon. I suppose before we leave here we will have an all day's march.
Pa & I were over to Decatur's Friday evening for tea. M. Decatur is a great talker. He was over at the hotel sat. and kept talking till 7 o'clock. I got there at 6 and he kept us for an hour talking about numerous & diverse subjects that were of not very much importance. I wouldn't have minded so much but I was hungry & we had to wait till he went before we could go down to eat.
I'm glad to hear Mary is better and back to school again. Did you forget to send my slippers? Pa didn't bring them after a survey of your letters.
I don't know any one like Mrs. Decatur. She is always good natured & friendly. I didn't go to say good bye to the Rosses but if we are in Montreal again I'll go & see them. Mail was especially good to Buzz and I. Two nights before he left he had the 3 fellows from St. John's and myself up for the evening. Buzz H. is from St John's you know. We played cards & had some eats. His cousins are very nice, the two girls especially. They asked us to come up any evening and one night (the night before we left) they were going to have some friends in and have a dance but one couldn't get leave because we were going away next day. They were down at the station and I didn't see them. one of the fellows told me a young lady was asking for me. He described her and & I knew who she was. How is Mr. Young, the Reiffensteins seem to think he is pretty sick & haven't much hope.
We are not sure where we are going after this camp. Perhaps we will remain here for sometime. I'll tell Pa if I here of anything definite. I can stand all the drilling Jake. It is my ambish to get strong and be able to handle 3 or 4 germans. When I see some of the other fellows who are smaller than myself I sometimes wish I was with a bunch of fellows who were all bigger & stronger than me.
We have had two inoculations & the 3rd comes in 3 or 4 days. My arm was not so sore the 2nd time as the first. I don't mind these inoculations for we get a day off after each one. I am still in command of sect. 15. There are 12 men in my section and good fellows. In fact 9 are sure ours is the best section in the platoon. Our lieutenant told me he wanted to keep me on the job and gave me a drill book to read up. I haven't had any washing done yet but if I want to I can send them to the Chinamen in the town here. The sox are standing it good. There are no holes so far.
Pa went to New York from Montreal and will be back to Toronto this sat. or Sunday.
I had to leave and go to the mess tent. It is now 3./5 p.m. and we have finished drying the dishes and setting the table for supper. It is no little job drying the dishes from a table of 54 or so. There are 3 of us who dry and a fellow who is payed to do nothing else but wash. I wouldn't like the washing job a little.
I had a broach made out of a hat badge and also had it gilded I gave it to Pa. He will take it home. I also bought two or three other military souvenirs. Pa has them. My No. is A11089 as you had in the letter. I had my no. put on the broach. About our moustaches, mine is coming along fine. It is a rule that no soldier is allowed to shave his upper lip. I have a couple of those post cards and will send them in a separate envelope. The photographer in Saskatoon who took them was Mr. McCarthy-2nd Ave.- If you send for more better put photographer on the envelope because I'm not quite sure if his name is that or not. But I'm pretty sure it was. I gave Arthur Parlett the box of salve. The bags are handy, although we have a haversack that will carry our towels soap, comb, brush etc.etc.
Of course Arthur couldn't come east with Pa. I hope and am glad to know that he thinks of me once in a while. I hope his cold is all better now. I knew about Reg. standing 3rd in his class. Bob Turriff thought Reg. looked very young when he saw him in Toronto. Reg. will tell you the route we took in Toronto I'm not sure just where we went. I think I saw Mr. Carter who used to be in a bank in Regina, in Queen's park as we went thro. I waved my hand at him. He was some distance from me and of course wouldn't recognize me altho he waved his hand. Do you know if he is in Toronto?
The meals are better here than in Montreal. They are sure good for a military camp. I had some swell meals in Montreal at ‘Childs' the last few days.
My cold is better and in a week of this life I ought to be healthy enough for anything. They supply we overseas fellows with small toques? which we are used for sleeping caps - a good [stunt?]. I also bought a pneumatic pillow. It consists of a bladder and a cover in an oblong shape. You blow the bladder up with your mouth and it is corked very easily, simpled by pulling a stopped out. In the morning you push the stopper in and the air comes out. You can fold the whole business into a little square and carry it in your pocket.
Willie will make good on his exams. He has studied pretty well, hasn't he? I am sending him a fob with Pa. Reg. or Willie can have my watch if you like. Perhaps Art would like to have it. I sent it home along with some of my clothes with Walter Hastings. If he hasn't brought them over yet, ask Willie to go round & get them. Walter left for home last thurs. I got the box of candy from Beth. I must write her she said she would send another if I did.
Arthur should be a big strong fellow. He has started gym classes at am early age. This afternoon the fellows from here have gone for a march with all their belongings- My stuff is the only thing left in the tent- We carry everything on one of these marches- It is pretty warm and I guess the fellows will be tired when they get back.
I think I'll close now. I'll likely get to Toronto this week end. Arthur sends his best and thanks you for salves etc. I think he said he wrote you a card.
Everything is going fine. Be sure and not worry. We couldn't be looked after a bit better. Our Captain (Barclay) is a dandy fellow.
I haven't written hardly anybody since I've left home. I must write and get a letter once in while. Remember me to everyone and tell them everything has gone fine so far. With love to all and I especially appreciate the sacrifice you have made in letting me come. Trust in him and no harm can come to any of us.