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Date: April 5th 1916

4th Univ. Co. P.P.C.L.I.
West Sandling,
Shorncliffe, April 5 '16.

Dear Mother: -

Your letter dated the 11th of March arrived yesterday and I was very glad to hear from you again. The enclosure was very good of you but I would rather you would not send anything like that for I know money is not plentiful now. If you send an occasional pair of socks and a taste of candy or cake once in awhile I shall manage fine.

First of all I might tell you that I am a private again. They wanted to keep me here as an instructor in physical training and bayonet fighting. That was the reason I was made a Lance-Corporal. I did not want to stay so I went to the powers that be and asked that I be allowed to go to France with the others and finally succeeded, so I am full private once more. All the sergeants and corporals of the company are reduced to private's rank when they go across to France.

I was away all last week to a place called Ashford, about 20 miles from here. We went up by train and stayed the week guarding ammunition and stores that the Canadian government has there. There were only 4 from our company and about 40 from another company. Another fellow whom I chum with considerably, and I, were billeted at a private house and I enjoyed that week more than any other of duty since I enlisted. The people were very nice, meals were good and we had a feather bed to sleep on, when we came from work though our work was all at night. We were 5 nights on guard, and we had all day to ourselves. Of course we had to sleep some during the day to make use of the bed.

We had all day Friday, all Friday night and Saturday off, so we took a bus and went to Canterbury to see the Cathedral, and it was well worth it. A guide showed us all through it and pointed out many tombs and places of interest that we had read about in our history.

Incidently, I might say that my friend, Blott, by name, is from Saskatoon, and is quite a singer as he won the gold medal at the Musical Festival in Saskatchewan last year, (baritone).

We were in Faversham part of the day waiting for a bus to take us to Canterbury, and had dinner there. That same night a Zeppelin dropped bombs there and the powder works exploded causing about 200 casualties, killed and injured, so I heard, though the papers make very light of these raids.

Yesterday all the troops in the Shorncliffe camps were inspected by Sir Sam Hughes. We marched to Shorncliffe in the morning. It is about 6 miles and I saw there the biggest body of troops I have ever seen at once. I don't know how many thousand there were, but the parade ground a mile square was almost a solid mass, all Canadians. The drilling and review marching of one battalion after another until every battalion on the grounds were going at once, wheeling, marching in line and fours. It was the greatest sight of a military nature that I ever expect to see.

I was pleased at reading the first part of your letter to hear of the arrival of a nephew at Broadview but was very sorry to learn that its life was so short. I am sure Francis and Geo. feel it very much. I shall write to them when I can though I cannot begin to keep up with my correspondence these days for we are so busy. We are shining brass and cleaning equipment every spare minute.

By the way, I am warned for the next draft, so I expect to be in France before this reaches you. I am very glad too for if I stayed around here much longer I would be sick of the whole thing. There are so few men here that we have to do the work of about 4 men each. Guards, fatigues, picquets and parades are put on us almost all at once. Yesterday I was doing no less that five different duties when I should have had only one of them. It is not the fault of our officers. It is simply because they haven't the men to do the work.

Today those of us on draft were inspected by the General commanding this division. Tomorrow we have a medical inspection to pass and the next day kit inspection. I hear also that we are all going to move back near the camp we just left about 4 miles away.

Somebody is sending me the daily Free Press and Abe sends the Province so I am getting lots of news these days. Will write again before leaving here.

Love to all

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