Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: May 15th 1916

Dear Marie


Excuse me for not having written before, but I have been under quarantine, we were told we could not write, but I see we can, so here goes.


It is not yet three weeks since I left Toronto, how long it seems though. During that time I have travelled quite a distance, and have seen a great deal. One thing I noticed that surprised me, in passing through on the train to the coast everything was green in Ontario, but in lower Quebec & New Brunswick the snow in a great many places was still upon the ground & the air was much cooler. In passing through Quebec I noticed the French system of farms, narrow frontage and great depth, but how well taken care of they were. There was hardly a broken fence, & the houses were whitewashed shed looking places with steep roofs. Most of our trip through New Brunswick was spent in going by great stretches of low ground covered with very thick woods.


We arrived at Halifax about 12.30 Friday night & went on board at 3.00 o'clock Saturday afternoon. It was the Olympic, it left Halifax on May 1st, and altogether we spent five and a half days on the trip across. Part of the Bn. had buncks and part hammocks. I had a hammock. There was the 66th 68th 81st & 83rd Bns. on board & 10th Mounted Rifles, one hundred & fifty cyclists, a number of army service men, and one battery of artillerymen. Of the whole trip I was sick three days, what misery for us. I was about the worst and longest case on board. We had one death in our Bn. on board and he was buried at 12.30 one night. At last the coast of Ireland loomed up and we were accompanied by three destroyers till we reached the light ship in the mouth of the Mersey took on a pilot & shortly afterward landed in Liverpool. Sunday we entrained and I saw the most picturesque bit of country I ever saw in my life Kent - “The garden of England” it is called. Travelled through Rugby & London and arrived in “West Sandling” at 11 o'clock Sunday night. Monday morning we were inspected and it was decided that our Bn would go to the front in drafts. The machine gun section was separated & transferred to the 36th Machine Gun Brigade.


But in addressing mail address it to


#157114 Pte J G Sproule

M G S 81st Bn

Canadian Contingt.


c/o Army Post Office London


Busy, well I should say, they certainly rush us here. Last Thursday Pte Biggs in our tent, (which holds ten men) took the measles, & of course we were quarantined for eighteen days, imagine nine of us living in a bell tent on the ground without boards on it. Saturday it rained all day & we were flooded, blankets & equipment got wet. But what fun, I have a great time, Ghee it is funny to see how the men take things under trying conditions.


We were to go on our six day leave but the quarantine has spoiled that for us. We may or may not have our leave when we have served our term.


After that we are sent away to a school of Machine Gunning to complete our course, after that we may be sent to France, but I don't know.


Well I guess I will close a letter now & again will certainly be welcome.


Give my love to Aunt Kate & Uncle Henry & Mrs Golay

(Vic) & how is my little girl.


Hope you are all well.

Love Joe.

Original Scans

Original Scans