[Published in the newspaper The Ladysmith Chronicle on December 4, 1915.]
LETTER FROM E.H. KEMP
The Chronicle has received the following interesting letter from Mr. E. H. Kemp, formerly of the Provincial police force at Ladysmith:
SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE,
Nov. 15, 1915.
DEAR SIR: – As you will note by the above I am now in France. A few days ago I wrote to Ladysmith and headed my letter “somewhere in Belgium.” This is accounted for by us being very near the boundary and having moved a few miles. Since leaving Ladysmith I have been through the usual necessary training in England, having attended a machine gun school at Shorncliffe for six weeks. This was whilst in the 48th Battalion. On Oct. 24 this regiment called for trained gunners and nine of us from the 48th volunteered at once and left for France immediately. Since our arrival we have had our first experience of the firing line and I must say it was most interesting and instructive, but was more than interesting when the German shells came close, and on several occasions I found it very comforting to duck my head. The trenches are very muddy and we found ourselves up to our eyebrows in mud, but as happy as skylarks and the dugouts are quite comfortable, considering. Mail is received every day and even newspapers. We were within 200 yards of the German trenches. The food is first class and also brought daily, bacon, fresh meat and bread, jam etc., and everyone I met in the trenches, (and some have been there six and seven months) were in excellent spirits and health, and a fine lot of fellows and have acquired a knack of making newcomers feeling quite at home and cheerful. When we first arrived in this part of the country, we camped in an open field, (where the Germans had been a few months ago) and during our stay of six days slept in the open, raining some, but all the boys were in excellent spirits and it did not worry us in the least. After this we went into huts and from there to the firing line. We are now back six or seven miles and living in an old barn, with a few shell holes in the roof, but lots of straw, so we are comfortable. If it rains, well it saves us washing our faces in the morning, and our only worry is that it does not rain hard enough to wash our whiskers off. I am sorry that I am unable to give you details as to the regiment I am Uith, etc., but our dear old friend, the censor, will not allow us to get too talkative in our letters, and no doubt I have already said enough to bore him most horribly, so I had better bring this to a close and let him get on with the next. Give my very best regards to all the boys and no doubt if any more men are still required from Canada I shall meet several of them over here before very long, as I am sure there are many more in the little burg who will come forward. “Better late than never.” Kindest regards to yourself and family.