Dec. 18 '16
My Dear Mother, Father & Dorothy
I wrote you a short note at - en route, and as I can find time I will tell you about our rather interesting trip 'up the line'
On Friday night at 6.30 we fell in on the parade grounds, in the dark, rain and ankle keep in mud. It was so dark that I could hardly see Argyle standing next to me, but we sang & cheered, until the colonel of the camp called the parade to order. He gave us a short farewell speech, & wished us good-luck. Then the chaplain, Capt. Hiley spoke a few words splendid, cheering, comforting words, and commended us to the care of the God of Battles. God Bless Captain Hiley. He was one of the finest men I ever heard speak. He was a wonderful man amongst men. After three cheers for the king we were off down the narrow winding road, singing & cheering in the rain & dark, and marching to a wild skirl o' the pipes. 'Will ye no come back again' they played
At the station, forty of us were packed into a little box car, & all that night rattled along, getting what little sleep we could in the cold on the hard floor.
On Saturday morning we stopped at [heavily scribbled out word] where we spent the day in a rest billet. I wrote you a short note from there We enjoyed our day's rest very much and had a good feed a the Y.
Saturday night we again packed into a box car & travelled all that night and all Sunday without a stop. It was quite cold but we got an old biscuit tin & made a fire in it The fire was of little comfort tho' as it soon filled the car with smoke.
On Sunday afternoon we began to hear the roar of the great guns, and knew that we were getting close to our destination. On all the roads were long lines of transports and ambulances and every where guards and pickets posted.
Late in the afternoon we pulled into [heavily scribbled out word] station where we left the train. That night we were billeted in a deserted ladies college It was a cold dreary place, with all the plaster knocked off & windows broken by shell fire. Every where in the town were ruined buildings, for several times the town has been shelled. Although the city is quite a large one, it is almost deserted.
We got some supper in a little cafe. We ordered ham & eggs & potatoes, then two eggs & potatoe chips. Three of us ate five plates of good French pastry and drank three cups of tea each. After supper we went to an Anglican service in a partially ruined theatre.
On Monday morning, with our full packs, rifles & ammunition we started off across the country to march to our divisional headquarters. All day we tramped through the French country, stopping for dinner in a little village, and arriving at our present billet late yesterday afternoon
We are quite close to the firing line, and can hear the roar of the big guns quite distinctly We expected to get our mail when we got up here but found that it had been sent back to [heavily scribbled out word] the day before we got here One letter however came in today from mother & one from Dorothy, written on [deleted word “Oct”] Nov. 22 & 23. You said that you were in the midst of packing, and that you had sent me a box of eats and a box of candy. They are probably with the rest of my mail. I do hope that I get them. Our mail will come more regularly now that we are with our battalion. Every one tells us that the mail service is good & that it all comes through if securely packed
I feel fine, and quite cheerful at the prospect of 'doing my bit' before many days.
I do hope that you wil all enjoy life at Burnside May the new year bring you every happiness. God bless you all