March 5th. 15
My dear Cousin Beaumont
It is with a very sad and heavy heart I sit down this Evening to write you on the very grievous news that came in our mornings paper of this date – There are no words of comfort at first to be given at these sad times. “It has to be borne” as my dear Mother said when she heard of the rather sudden death of her only son – but I must write you a few lines of deep and heartfelt sympathy to you his Mother and Sisters in the great loss of your dear son Herbert – I thought it so fine of you both letting both dear fellows enter the Army and to have met the fate that may always await a soldier, only each one hopes and believes it will not be his particular loved one – and I am almost thankful it was not that which so often causes a long lingering suffering time in hospital amongst strangers or else terribly disabled, a wreck for all life – Dear Cousin I do pray for you all in this most sad affliction – and that the loving Comforter may be with you and grant you grace to say “Thy will with [?] be done” and in time that blessed Peace may come in the thought of reunion in the blessed Land, where there is no tears no sorrow, no partings but Glory Everlasting with Him
It will always be a deep regret to me, we did not meet I enclose you all the letters I can find he wrote to me – In my last I sent him a little Service Testament weighing 2 ½ oz with Lord Roberts words printed inside, and I added “if you have one give it to a friend and asked him if he had a sleeping bag, as I could get him one of light Macintosh weighing but 2 ½ lbs (weight meant much) and the wet they had to sleep in was terrible and added “if you ever need a Bed (They send them home for a week or 10 days) there will be [?] I would not say wounded always a room for you, my friends call this a Bed House and you can do just as you like I am an old maid but not fussy” Poor lad the Rest came from God, so he knows best –
I wonder where my boy Arthur is! he told me how he looked after the horses and Herbert the cows. Ethel B[?] too will feel very sorry at his death she is a nice kind woman – and wrote “I like Herbert even better than Arthur and he is better looking not so large a nose I not seeing H. was quite contented with Arthur, Where is he now? my love to him I thought it friendly in your dear boy asking me to take his spare kit for him (I often house cousins extra baggage) I will now proceed to tell you what it consists off.
There is a “suit case” about 28 Inches long 14 wide with key which I have not unlocked that I felt was sacred – to you, last a leather Valise strapped only marked Lieut H. Boggs 7 Infantry E about – 4 feet long – and sound – and contained a haversack a deep strong pocket of same material with leather pocketful of bullets sewn straps and belts a Fountain Pen – and odds military boots 3 apparently including trousers for summer and a very heavy khaki great coat with B[?] buttons. [?] white thin summer under wear – Then in the kit bag tied up with string a couple of towels [?] and oddments; what needed washing I sent to the Laundry – About the “sword to follow’ as he says when the kit bag came I asked of it but the Carrier said “he had none – and I mentioned that to H in writing but I never had any letter than the one I mark last one – This I am sure you would like to have. Many swords I hear have disappeared – so I went to a neighbor soldier Col [?] Richardson or (Col Army Service Corps) he got his honours in the Boer War a clever man, and he advised me to write to Quartermaster or Adjutant of his Division and inquire if they had it, and what they were doing with Lieut H. Boggs effects I hope for an answer; the Post Office over there is wonderful but through writing being a difficulty over there I do hope some friend has written and told you all [?] and perhaps mentioned his effects and sword
Sir Nordhouse told me only the Adjutants took their swords out, and possibly all the Officers united in leaving their swords in one place. You will tell me if I shall put all I have in one Case of [?] and send them to you via Halifax or Montreal. I assure you it is no trouble. I have [?] our mail in writing you in grieving about the sword and do not think I was late in thinking of you all – With Deepest sympathy and love to you all, I am always you affectionate Cousin
March 9th. 15
[postscript added along margin:] Of the 1£ sent I have spent 5/9 for the baggage.