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Date: February 13th 1916
Beulah Bahnsen (wife)
Ralph Watson

13 February, ‘16.
No. 3. Canadian General Hospital,

My dearest Lal: —

At last I can write to tell you I am settled — at least for some time, and believe me it is some relief after knocking around since Christmas Eve. . . . We left England quite a large bunch, but are now split up, a few here and there to different corps. It was rather hard on some of the fellows, particularly those who had joined from some small town in Canada together, kept together right along, and then were finally separated. Being with any one you know well makes all the difference in strange camps, though where we are now, every one seems to be so jolly decent that it doesn’t matter so much.

Right up to the time when we left Sandgate, I was getting more and more disgusted with things. There seemed nothing definite about the work, nothing to tie to. Even the work in London was more or less unsettled. I began to think all I had heard about decent corps coming over must have been a myth, but at last it seems I have drawn the right thing — something worth taking a real interest in and something incidentally to be proud of, as undoubtedly this corps is about the best of its kind that has come out here. I haven’t started any regular work yet, but expect to to‑morrow (Monday). I don’t know what it will be, either, but I suppose the usual thing in a big hospital. Of course it is all Canadian. The Y.M.C.A. hut where I am writing is quite a different one to the usual run. I understand it was organized before the fellows left Montreal. It’s a private one and right on the ground, very quiet, very clean, and altogether nice in every way. There is a piano of course, heaps of papers, magazines and so forth, and a first-rate library, also lots of comfy chairs.

The usual run of camp Y.’s are — as far as I saw — just grocery stores, and only open at stated hours. That one at our last stopping place was a terror — you stood in line waiting your turn to get in sometimes for half an hour or so; to sit down was quite an event. There was a concert every night, it’s true, and the chaplain was one of the finest men I have ever met; but as a place to rest or read or write it was impossible. The men have their own mess, the first I have struck. It costs five francs only, a month. Another thing which is fine, you can go down town without a pass. It means I suppose they can trust a fellow, which is rather more than nice.

There are a great many things I want to say to you, but one rather hates to get personal in a censored letter. Twice a month we get issued with a green envelope. You are on honour not to put anything of military significance in it, or rather write anything and enclose it. So when the “Postie” hands you those, you want to look out as the contents will be uncensored.

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