Cheriton Camp, England
Aug. 8. 1916
I am writing this letter on a nice plain writing table in our new Y.M.C.A. tent. This tent is a large green “mark E” (?) and is at present filled with about seventy-four of our boys most of whom are like myself writing home to loved ones. A fellow is on the small platform playing the piano while about twenty-five yards from the tent our band is giving its regular daily concert. The Y.M.C.A. are about the only outfit around here who don’t soak you a penny to have a little pleasure. I don’t know what they would do without them. Every evening at 9 p.m. they close with a little prayer and a hymn. From what I’ve seen of England I would not live here for any money. Mind you however
I’ve scarcely seen anything outside yet. I heard from Dorothy to-day. She is having a great time on a hop farm just where I’m cussed if I can tell you.
This week our instructors of last week have taken over the other half of the battalion so we are having an easy week of it under our own men. We see English dirigibles every day. Nobody even bothers to look at an aeroplane now as they are almost as common as birds some days. Some days the heavy guns from France can be heard all day. From here they sound like distant rolls of thunder. At first I thought it was thunder. When close up the din of their detonations must be horrible. Poor beggers often come back into the camp next to us to recover from the nervous shock. The poor chaps tremble and shake from head to foot as if they were leaves being blown by the wind.
I have heard from Maud B. Also Arty (?) B. Since arriving. Maud especially wrote a welcome and chatty letter. I’ll answer it someday. The climate here so far has been very changeable. Some days are really warm while others are very raw.
I’ll tell you are daily routine as near as I can. Reveille 5:30 a.m. Walk out 5:45-6:15. Brekfus 6:30. Fall in for drill 7:30. From 7:30 to 11:45 we proceed in the following manner. 1st half hour physical jerks. Then on till 10:15 we have musketry - learning how to shoot etc. Every hour we have a ten minute rest. From 10:15 to 11:15 bayonet fighting. Dinner 12 noon. Again fall in 1:30p.m. The afternoon is taken in a similar fashion. As we are out of doors all the time we are always ready for “cook-house” or the call for grub. When you want a bath you go to the bath house where you are allowed one bucket full of hot water. This with cold added to a tin tub constitutes a bath.
With lots of love,
[Editor’s note: Transcription provided by collection donor.]