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Date: September 1st 1916
Malcolm (Mac)

Sept. 1, 1916

Dear Mother,

Another month opens and I guess we won’t see many more open in Europe (until we come across as tourists) for Roumania seems to want a little blood all for himself and his help seems to be very acceptable to the Allies just at present.

Just 11 months to the day, from the date of our enlistment we came up the line. If anyone had told me nearly a year ago that we’d be 11 months training we’d have joined the 3rd university Corp. and come across earlier. But we’re here anyway and so far as we [bn] signalers are concerned we are about “bomb proof”. At present I am in a sheltered spot at bn Hgs where we’ll be a good part of the time. Signallers, in general, are in good dugouts [], and the casualties are low.

Did it rain the night of our coming up? Was the mud 24’ or 26’ deep? Did we feel good? All the questions can be answered strongly in the affirmative.

We came up with an Imp. Bn. And I’ll take back all I thought about Kitchener’s army being the scum of the nation for these fellows are splendid chaps and couldn’t do enough for us raw chaps. I was up the line in a dugout all day yesterday and enjoyed myself. It will be a long time before we forget our first impression of the imperial forces.

Day after tomorrow is Bruce’s milestone [] it. Will, Bruce, old boy be as wise as you look and take care of yourself to see many more of them. And the 13th is May’s and I hope she continues in good health to see another 41 of them. Sincerely I hope that the coming year brings you vastly more joyful news than the past one has. The past one was not extra good to you was it.

We’ve been hearing about the mutinies at Camp Bordon quite a bit. The mutineers haven’t much sympathy from the rest of the Canadian Army. If they think they enlisted for a S.S. picnic they’re going to be disappointed. One of the fellows read a bit aloud form a Can paper complaining about there being no drinking water in camp, having only 2 blankets & a ground sheet to sleep in, and the place being dusty. The only trouble with them is that they don’t know what a good time they are having. Any Can. Camp is better than the best across here and yet no one seems to mind the inconveniences. Even [balcanties] was better in October 1915 than Camp Borden and the 73rd went nearly a week without a dry stitch to put on or sleep in and yet no one heard of it for nearly a year. We are comfortable, well fed and altogether well done by here, so we’re “jake-a-loo”.

I suppose Charlie is preparing to return to the W.H.S. It seems rather strange to think of him in Form II. Now Charlie if you never work at any other time in your W.H.S. course, do it now. Get everything they try to teach you in II into that vacant flat of yours for if you do form III will be easy. It isn’t my habit to recommend drudgery in school to anyone but if you do a little more than usual in the coming 3 terms you’ll thank your stars in the following years that you did. Waugh what a spill!

How is Dave’s work progressing? He’ll make a success of the summer’s work all right but when does he finish? I got the N.E. & L.S.N.E. returns all OK but the most important metric are yet to come. I suppose they are on the way now.

I got a bunch of pictures from Winnie on Wednesday. She had them fixed up for me as I didn’t have time to do it before leaving Bramshott. They are good. I think I’ll ask her to send them home and you can see them.

Here is a list of them so you’ll know them.

  1. Tennyson’s home (Aldworth)

  2. Ted the morning before we left B. Aug ll.

  3. Osie Thompson with pack & rifle (short, stout, smiling)

  4. Bert Brown (Short fair)

  5. Looking down between 2 rows of huts 11/8/16

  6. 6 Jim Robertson & Bert Brown with bicycles

7-8/2 of The Lancaster Gang

9. Myself with wheel

10. Myself in Marching order as we came to France

11. Jim Robertson with tunic & Balmoral on a dark chap.

12. Lyallois or Rusty Rufus without tunic or Balmoral.

All these were taken 11/8/16 as we were preparing for the move.

We are not allowed to send pictures out of France or I’d send these which I have with labels on them. The fellows (all of our section) may want an occasional copy sent to their relatives so I’d like you to get 1 print of each to keep and, should they want copies they may have the negatives. These prints which I have will probably be pretty well knocked about with sleeping on them etc so if you keep 1 print I’ll be jake when I return.

I have a collection of about 60 good snaps now and if you ever take a notion to send me any small snaps I can take care of them well and I’ll have quite a little keepsake by the time I get my civie clothes on again.

Later on I’ll send you a sort of little code by which you can go if I am taken prisoner only. Our thing we are told about by officers is this “Caution your people to heat all your letters before destroying them”. The idea is that we can write between the lines in milk if there is any obtainable. On heating it colours. But then we’re not going to be made prisoners. You should tell Kenzie of that stunt too.

We made our own meal as usual tonight – Fried onions & Beefsteak a la mess-tin, jam a la stolen-goods, boiled iniquity – (tea), dough, condemned milk (condensed) not a bad supper. For breakfast MacCammon friend Beans & Bacon, made tea, & cut up bread. Dinner we had dandy beefsteak, bread & butter and a few sidelines. So you see we’re feeding better than when in Bramshott.

Time to hit the hay again 6 P.M. Fondest love to everyone on Front St. & the Nicholsons.

Your loving son


Original Scans

Original Scans