Address your letters so. as there are two other McNeills in the Battalion & I don’t want them to get my letters
My Dear Janet -
I suppose you will think that I was not going to write, but if you only knew how I have been kept going all week, you would understand that I did not have much time, I have to attend three lectures every day each one takes an hour, so that what with drills & lectures I get so tired that I am glad to get to bed as soon as I get a chance. We had a route march on Thursday that just about played us all out, we left camp at 9.A.M. & got back shortly after 6 O.C. we only stopped twice to rest, at 11 & 3. we must have covered 20 or 30 miles & lots of men dropped out & had to be taken up by the wagons, but I & all the Vernon Bunch stuck it out although we were very tired.
Campbell has straightened up & is doing all right, he had a narrow escape of being put in the Guard room, for being drunk on parade, so several of us gave him a good talking to & he has promised to behave himself.
I got my pay, or at least a part of it, they gave every one of us 1000 a piece, that is, we got two pays, they pay us on the 5th 15th & 25th $500 a piece & at the end or beginning of the month we get paid all arrears, I bought myself a sweater & stamps etc & I had to buy cleaning stuff for my uniform & boots, I had $400 left which I was going to send to you, but at lecture that night, the adjutant told us, we would have to buy drill & instruction books, there are three of these & they cost me $335, so you see I have nothing left, I had to get the books, same as the other non-coms, because we have to study up for the examination, which will take place early next month, I think I will pass all right, in fact I have been told by the Sergeant Major that I will probably be made a full Corporal, I am sure I hope so, as I would hate to go back in the ranks, I hope, dear, that you will be able to manage till my next pay day, which will be Wednesday, when I will send you as much as I can. I have had quite a time, signing papers this week for the Patriotic Fund & the Govt separation Allowance, the Govt allows you $2000 a month, which will date from the 1st November & you should be getting this very soon as the papers were sent to Ottawa this week & the Officer told us that the money would be sent from there immediately, the Patriotic fund will also send you something, but I am not sure exactly how much, but as far as I can find out, it will also be $2000 a month & something more for the children, I dont know how much they allow for each child, but it all helps
you certainly gave me a great surprise by telling me that Bob Stevenson had joined the B.C. Horse, I never thought he would do it, nor, I suppose did anyone else, he might be here yet, as I hear that some of the B.C. Horse are coming here soon, he will find things a lot different here from Vernon, as we are certainly a rough bunch, the food is rough & the sleeping quarters are cold & draughty & it is all hard work without any comforts. I dont know when I will have a chance to go & see your friend, the place where she lives is away at the other side of the city, in the Saanich direction, if next Sunday is fine I will try & look her up, but it would be too far to go on a weekday.
You certainly have a nice bunch of neighbors, I thought that Mann, anyway, would have gone up & chopped a bit of wood for you, he told me that he would, before I came away, it is certainly pretty mean of him if he does not, Bob Harwood also I met that morning & he told me without asking, that he would run up now & again & do what he could for you, but I suppose now that I am away they forget or dont care;
I believe you have had snow in Vernon, we have had nothing but rain here, it rains every day & is pretty cold and miserable,
The only clothes I will send back, will be my coat & pants, but I wont send them just yet, as I am using them rolled up for a pillow, the undershirt & shirts I will keep for changing, I threw the drawers away.
I very nearly forgot to tell you, you know before I left I said that I would get the paymaster to send you so much of my pay, well I thought then that all I had to do was to draw 24₵ or 30₵ a day for myself & apportion the rest to you & that you would draw it at the post office, well, they wont do that, as they say, with so many men it would only cause confusion of accounts, however, it will be pretty much the same thing anyway, as I will always send what I can every pay-day; I hope you understand this, dear, & that you are not angry with me for not sending you anything this week.
I dont know of anything more just now to tell you, except that we had a Church parade this morning, we had a very nice service & each of us is to get a card to put in our caps, with prayers printed on it. This is a gift from some lady in Victoria, I will send mine to you when I get it, as I am afraid I would lose it. Give George & Eileen the usual Great big love from Daddy & with the Greatest love for yourself. I remain, dear wife
XXXXXXXX Your loving Husband
P.S. I will get my photo take the first chance I get & send them to you.