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Date: December 29th 1916
Uncle John


Gunner David W. Benson, who went to the front with the Cobourg Heavy Battery, writes as follows:

Dear Uncle John:
I don't think it will be necessary for me to write about our voyage, only I hope we may have the same voyage on a return trip to Canada, although it is many miles away. The good old Canadian soil is good enough for me. I was reading a piece in your local paper where a Prince Edward boy wrote home to his friends that 'Canada didn't have anything on England or France. I know nothing about France, but after travelling 350 miles through England and having a six day pass to London, the historic history of the British Empire, I can honestly say with a clear conscience after travelling from Vancouver to Halifax, it would be almost impossible for a person to say England has it over Canada for picturesque scenery. Through the Canadian Rockies with their curiously designed and snow-capped mountains, rivers of which no man can press the grandeur, plains of rich, fertile soil, one of the world's greatest wheat belts that is supplying millions of people, and the products of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces, are scenes unequalled. In my judgment the sun never set on any country any better than our fair Dominion where Christianity prevails to the fullest extent. For illustration, look how liquor has been treated during the past ten years. I don't think it is fair for a Prince Edward County boy to say that England has it over Canada, I must confess that the motherland is a fine country for a tourist. Its ancient buildings, beautiful green meadows surrounded by green hedges, houses with their beautiful holly hedges and curiously trimmed trees, and he magnificent country roads kept in good repair are pleasant and interesting. But there are places I think it would be impossible for an auto to turn around. Quite often you will see a cart and a little pony hauling two and three women going round collecting washing. As you no doubt know I have worked on a farm for two years and a half and naturally am interested in methods of farming. Here they raise a lot of sweet marigolds, little grain and plenty of hay. They erect their hay stacks square and top them off like a roof. In fact it is a hay roof placed on the stack, and interwoven in the stack, and it is impossible for the rain to penetrate. Yesterday I saw a farmer sowing his fall grain. He had a six-foot seeder with shafts, and a single horse attached. To the collar of this horse a team was hitched. There was a man heading each horse and a man on the back of the seeder. Just what the team was needed for and why four men were required to sow wheat is more than I can understand. Their plowing is excellent. They turn an 8 inch furrow and just as straight as a string, but the ploughs are nothing like we use in Canada. The soil is always moist and it is impossible to see where corn has been growing. The Clyde horse is the whole thing, and the horses are rolling fat. Their harness appears to be very heavy - I should say three times as heavy as our working harness. I could write considerable about England and our training quarters, but must find a destination soon. Wishing you and Mrs. Burns a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Yours truly,