1st Oct 1916
I received your letter last night but I have not as yet received the parcel you mentioned.
I wrote you about three weeks ago but this is the first chance I got to write since. I guess you need not bother sending any papers as I get a big bundle from the office about once a week.
We were in the Ypres District and we expect to be where there is somme real fighting very soon.
We had about five days steady marching after leaving our last camp before he reached here. We passed through a great many small villages and spent our nights in school houses, cow stables, lofts, etc. It was a hard tramp with a big pack on your back but very few of our boys fell out on the march. For a short time back we have been in training. We get up at five in the morning, shave before daylight, breakfast at six, and on parade at six forty-five, March about four miles, drill steadily until twelve, have about half an hour for dinner and drill again until three thirty. After reaching our domicile, the ex-cow barn, we get supper and by the time that is over it is dark and about time to hit the straw. It's the same old thing day after day that I think the tune will soon be changed. We had quite a few casualties but none that you know has been wounded or killed yet.
We were issued with a new kind of gas mask - gas respirator, it fits tightly on your face and has a tube reaching to a small tin box in a bag which is tied around the waist. The box contains some chemical. This respirator supposed to be last or latest thing in that line. A number of us at a time or in a room with the door shut and gas on for a few minutes and came through without any ill effects.
If you have any issues of the B.C.W.C. you might send them on as I would like to see what's doing, if anything, in the east end.
S has a good shell-proof job in Vernon and C packs the certificate for flat-footedness around with him. That was Miss MacDiarmid's brother who was reported killed.
I will write you again soon.
We are not allowed to give our address to anyone who did not have it before we left England so you might send mine east.
I see Mr. Watt (Jack) often – he is also in the best of health & spirits.