5th Reserve Batt
My own Dear Wife -
As you will see by above I am still at Bramshott but we are going to move next Wednesday to Sandling, so that in future you can address your letters to
5th Reserve Batt.
last time we were there we were at East Sandling but there is not much difference, only about a couple of miles, I will sure be glad to get away from this mud hole of a place it is raining all the time & everyone is absolutely fed up, it may not be much better for rain at Sandling but the roads are better, they are all flint there, while here it is all mud no matter where you go.
P.S. I have not sent the cards yet as I couldn’t get envelopes for them, but I expect to get them to morrow & will sent them right away.
I am still with the same company & have had no word yet about having to change, I may not change till after we get to Sandling, I fact I am beginning to think that I will not change at all, if I do, I am going to apply for different courses, they will take up a lot of time, you would be surprised to see the number of young fellows here who are instructors & have never been to France & never will go, they are supposed to be indispensable, it is a d – d shame, fellows who have done their bit don’t get a chance, for my own part I am too old to start gymnastics, but there are lots of other things I can do, I am going to try & get a trench mortar course, they have no instructors here for that & perhaps I will get a chance, there was a draft of men warned last night for a draft for France & every man had been there already, some of them twice, & there are thousands of men here who have not been over & who want to go & cant get, why is it? they always seem to pick on the casualties. The men here are all very sore too, because they cannot get any leave, all passes were stopped & even those who were sent to France could not get a chance to say good bye to their people, the result was that a great number took French leave, of course when they get back they get severely punished, as it is a very serious crime for a man to be absent after being warned for a draft. This will show you, dear, that soldiering in England at the present time, is not altogether a pleasant occupation, the work is very hard & very monotonous & it is only the very strongest who can stand the strain, of course I have not done any of it yet, but if I have to, I don’t think I will be able to carry on, my rheumatism has got me pretty well stiffened up and would probably make me give up altogether, however, I am not worrying any, what has to be, will be, & there is no getting away from it. However, I guess you must be tired of reading all my grumbles, but they say that it is a soldiers privilege to grumble, so perhaps I am only living up to the adage.
I suppose you would like to know how I spend my time here, well, seeing that I have not been doing any duty time has been hanging pretty heavily on my hands, I have not been out of the camp since I came here, I remain in my hut most of the day & in the evenings I go over to the mess & play whist or cribbage & have a couple of beers, that is if I have the price & am in bed every night by 9-30, so you can see that I am not doing anything very exciting & I am keeping very quiet. I was dreaming about you last night, dear, & I fell out of bed, you know our beds are only about two feet wide & six inches from the ground & I dreamt that I was at home & you were getting into bed & I lay over to make room for you & of course rolled on to the floor, you can guess how disappointed I was dear, to find that it was only a dream. I was speaking to a chap who has just come over from France & he was telling me that Andy Campbell is still alive & is still with the transport of the 15th he has stuck it out pretty good has’nt he, dear, I could’nt find out about Bob Hanna, but the rest of the boys I knew are all gone, poor fellows, they had a hard time & their duty has been done.
I suppose you have seen by the papers about the food shortage in England, well dear, it is only too true, there is a potatoe famine on now, we have had none for several days, we are substituting rice & parsnips instead, all rations are cut down to the minimum, but no one is starving, the nation has been put on its honour only to eat a certain amount every day & I believe the majority will carry it out. We are all eating war bread which is all right, it tastes just like the bran bread you used to make, the only fault with it is, that it is too short & crumbles up, butter is a thing of the past with us, we are using margarine & it is pretty good, it is better than some of the butter we used to get, meat has been cut down too & fish has taken its place to a certain extent, Herrings are pretty plentiful & people are now eating fish that before the war were thought to be unfit for food, such as dog fish & conger eels, bacon & eggs are luxuries that very few people can afford, pastry cannot be bought & candies are very scarce & dear on account of the shortage of sugar. I do hope that things are not so bad in Canada,that is one reason that I would like the U.S.A. to keep out of this war for, because it would raise prices up so much & I am sure things are bad enough as they are. I am daily expecting a letter from you, dear, but the mail from Canada is so uncertain that one never knows when to expect a letter, it is the same sending from here, we never know when a Canadian mail is leaving & it is just a chance if our letters reach their destination. I hope you are all keeping well & that Georges eye is not troubling him very much, poor little chap, it must be an awful worry to him, I think you are perfectly wise in not sending them to school till they are seven, I think like you that that is early enough, especially George, because the strain on his eye might cause trouble that could not be remedied. I think dear that this is all I have to say just now, I have no news as usual, but I have to write & let you know how I am getting on or you will think that I have forgotten you, which I can assure you dear I can never do, it seems to me that every time I write to you I want to tell you how much I love you, I don’t think I could put into words how much I feel about it & you have no idea, love, how glad I was when I got your last letter & you told me that you loved me so much & how lonely you were without me, I am lonely for you too, dear one, & I do miss you so much, oh if I could only have you in my arms again, just to hug you & kiss you & fuss over you, would’nt I be the happy man, God bless you dear sweetheart, the thought of you keeps my heart alive & if I could only get to you again, how happy we could be in each others love, it will be like getting married over again & starting life afresh, it will be nice, wont it dear, think of me to-night, love, & try to imagine me lying beside you & you snuggling into me to get warm, but oh, such a thing seems to me to be too good to be true, kiss my little darlings for me & give them a big love from daddy, who loves you all so much, So good night dear love, I hope to dream of you to night for I have been thinking of you all day long, and believe me to be as ever & for always, Your own loving husband.