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Date: December 7th 1916
Harold Bruce

Crowborough Dec. 7 16

Dear Bee,

Have some time to myself so thought I would send you a few lines. Since we have been in this camp we have had no parades or Machine Gun work: we are doing fatigue work! That means in the army all kinds of odd jobs that must be done and that no one wants to do. The reason for this is that there are about 1600 or 2000 machine gunmen here and the classes will not take them all at once so a whole lot are doing piquets, patrols, guards and fatigues. Of course none will do any more than we can help so there is lots of spare moments (or hours) when we are idle: it is when I am doing nothing and there is no where to go that I get thinking of you folks at home and wonder how you are getting along. Now that we are so few of the old bunch together (only 24) and most of the old pals in France it seems worse than ever. I told mother in my last letter that we had come to a poor camp and it certainly does not improve on closer acquaintance. However there is a persistent rumour floating around that we are going to move again soon and I sure hope that it is true.

There are several huts quarantined here lately for measles too, and I would not be surprised if we were too before long. They don’t amount to anything but it means two weeks quarantine. A good thing for a lazy man. However I am heartily tired of of hanging around this country and the sooner we have this course in the Vickers Machine gun finished and are sent to the front the better I shall be satisfied. I have been training & working hard for 10 months & more now and that is enough for anybody.

There is an awful bunch of men from Hamilton here. A whole battalion in fact; there are none that I know personally tho. It is the 86th battalion.

We were supposed to have a week end leave every month and several days at Xmas, but I see in yesterdays paper that they are liable to be all cancelled for all soldiers. The powers that be have figured out that by stopping our leave they can lay off about 100,000 men now working for the railroad companies who would make soldiers; also that as they are short of rolling stock on the railroads in france they can send their idle engines and cars over. There will be an awful kick about it but the government can do as it pleases in Wartime.

I am sending a paper over this mail as I think it will prove interesting to you folks as you are not likely to get it outside of the big towns in Canada and there is lots of interesting pictures and war news in it that the Canadian papers do not have. I will try and send it regularly if I can manage it.

I have been just scribbling away to you, anything that came into my head and altho it is a very poor letter I know you are glad to get anything. Tell the kiddies I want another letter from them.

How are you going to spend your Xmas? I would sure like to have mine with you.

Well I will wind this up now and hope to hear from both you and mother soon. With best wishes for a Merry Xmas & Happy New Year from your loving brother Bruce.

P.S. Please notice I am in A. coy now instead of C. co. Bruce.

781871 Pte. B. McLagan

A. Coy.

Canadian Machine Gun Depot

Crowborough, Sussex,


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