Jan. 21, 1917.
Dear Brother -
Well I suppose that another week has passed and it is time I was doing a little more letter-writing. Since I wrote the last letter I have got one from Janet and three from England; two from Mr. Horton and one from L-Cpl Cann. They said they had moved from Dibgate to West Sandling.
I am still in the same dugout and on the same job but we are having to walk farther each time we go out. For the last two days I have been on the day shift. It doesn't seem so hard work but going and coming we have to go farther so as to have more cover on the road.
We get issued or are at least supposed to be issued with one of these blue envelopes once a week. We seal them ourselves and they are not censored regimentally but are liable to be censored at the Army Base. You have always to sign it or it is returned to you.
There is a rumour here that W. J. Heaman has gone back to Canada. Well I might say that he has not improved much in the estimation of the Exeter boys in this bunch. We heard that most of the superflous Officers in England have either to be discharged or to be sent to France where they will not be just drawing pay for doing nothing. The Govt. must be feeling a pinch in money matters just now and I think they are economizing in the right direction as far as the army is concerned. There is considerable chewing over here about the army rations just now. I don't think there is any use in saying anything myself but just to give you an idea what we really do have; you know you needn't mention to anybody but yourselves. Every morning we get rations; that is a loaf of break to three, a can of Jam 16 oz to six, sometimes we get butter 16 oz to twelve or else about 4 oz. of cheese. For breakfast we get a slice of bacon dinner about a quart of mulligan for supper hardtack, sometimes we get dried fruit. Up here we have tea three times a day. I didn't mention that there is always lots of bully-beef, that is beef in pound-tins. It isn't always very appetizing though.
I suppose that times are a little hard even in Canada this winter, with only a small crop to get through the year on. The boys in England just said food was a little slack there at times but they didn't think there was any use in kicking about it.
They also said the parcels that came in the Exeter box had been sent on to the boys in France Dec. 16, We have see nothing of them here. There must have been a bungle made of it somewhere. I think they were sent to Ern Harvey at the Base, but he is still there and it is hard to say what he did with them.
[insert by author at top of page] P.S. My address is the same as far as I know. [end insert]
You no doubt wonder just where I really am. Well we can see Mont St. Eloi on a clear day. It has ruins there from the Franco-Prussian War.
The weather has taken a colder turn here in the last week. It snowed three or four inches one day and has been frozen up ever since. It has done away with the mud just now but I don't suppose it will be any better when a thaw comes.
Well at home you will be doing chores as a matter of course and fixing up the wood supply between times. One thing the longest winter month and the one with the hardest pull [?] on the feed end will soon be passed. Are you having lots of snow or is it like the last two winters, hard on wheels? The water must have been pretty low in the swamp when you were cutting the big elm head.
We are having to-day off, I think they say it is pay-day You know they work over here every day, Sunday is just the same as Monday. It pulls a fellow a little to go seven days in the week even although we don't work more than four or five hours.
I hope you are all keeping well at home and if it isn’t too much trouble and I was sure of getting it, you might send a bunch of S.S. Papers once in a while.
From your Bro.