#475465 Pte. C.D. Richardson
Dear Mother: -
This is my first letter from France. I have been here since Sunday. This is Thursday and is supposed to be cleaning up day. When we get that done we have done we have the rest of the time to ourselves, except for medical inspections and a few other such formalities.
Today and in fact every day since we have been at the base, it has been very hot. There has been no rain nor anything else to make living in tents unpleasant. It is a relief to get away from from the strict inspections and guards that we had in England. We work hard during the day at a training camp about 2 miles from here but after we come back and throw off our packs we are through for the day. There is no cleaning of equipment and brass and shining of buttons to do for the following day. The training we get is not fringed with frills and ceremonial stuff like we have been used to, but is of the practical variety.
The country about here is very pretty, much like that at Shorncliffe but the weather so far is much better.
Our trip across the Channel took about 6 hours and was done during the night. The boat was small and the crowd on board large so we slept or tried to sleep wherever a space was not occupied.
The draft of 30 that came over from our company are all together here and we found several of the rest of the company, who had come over previously, here, but since then they have gone to the trenches. My friend, Brown, has been up to the trenches for over 3 weeks now. We shall probably be here about a week longer.
Around the camps it seems hard to realize that we are not in an English speaking country for we do not see many French, except those that pass on the road. On our march to the camp which is about 6 or 7 miles from camp where we landed it was interesting to watch the people and hear them speak. The children flocked around and kept asking for pennies and souvenirs, biscuits, bully beef etc. They knew that many English words anyway.
By the way, bully beef and biscuits have formed a very large part of our rations lately and probably will for some time to come now - biscuits made from whole wheat flour and ordinary corned beef. The biscuits are as hard as a rock but they seem to fill the bill so far as keeping a fellow in condition goes.
There is always lots of grumbling about grub, but, I find it not so bad as some try to make out. I did not expect to be fed like a Canadian farmer and I know I am in better condition now than I ever was before.
No cameras are allowed over here so I will not be able to get any snapshots though it would be interesting to make a collection of incidents that happen and circumstances that we find ourselves under
At present I am sitting on the floor of the tent. There are 4 or 5 others sitting around, some writing, others reading or smoking and some sleeping. Our equipment is piled up in any convenient place, our blankets are folded and piled in front of the tent and our rifles stacked up together.
I think I had better draw this letter to a close now as I see I am starting the 7th page.
I shall be expecting you to write often and the others at home too, and I shall write every week if I can. I would like to hear from Abe and Mr. Adams occasionally too. Mr. Adams used to write but has not done so lately.
Love to all,
Your affectionate son,