Letter to Mother from London, England

[Letterhead: King George and Queen Mary’s Club
for the Oversea Forces Peel House, Regency Street,
Vauxhall Bridge Road, S.W.]

Sept. 14th 1916

Dear Mother:–

You will see above where your boy is to night. We got here about 7.40 I just remember as we come by a big clock. I was sitting up with the driver on a buss, loaded with soldiers to the extent that when we stoped the team had all they could do to get started again, but we went at a nice trot very nearly all the time. The team were drark[sic] brown nice and fat just about like Bobet and Bell. They was one thing I would have sooner had and that was a ride on the top of a dubble buss a head, pulled by two big gray horses, that came very nearly getting stuck on some slight up grades between here and Waterloo station we left camp at six P.M. and were in here at 8 P.M. now it is nine and I have found my room 138 on 3rd floor, had a wash, and a good supper that cost me 28¢ and say it was fine. There is two other boys here we are palling it tonight and tomorrow. I will tell you a little of the trip but Mother it will be a little no matter how many pages I write saing these things is the only way but if I could talk to you it would be so much better than writing. I went out on the street and of coarse they are dark under these conditions, and I ran into four bad girls in less than 400 feet, so imagine what the private soldier is up against who drinks and is away from home. I thank God more and more from the bottom of my heart that through Jesus Christ I have got the power to over come any tentations and tonight I am here writing to you and enjoying life instead of being out raising hell with the other boys Mother this sin is a terrible thing. Our Cornel gave a talk this A.M. that will drive many a Mothers boy farther into hell than he is to night and yet he believes that he is living the only life I have talked to men that have talked to him and he is as unprincipaled a mortal as ever drew breath. But still I have confidence in him as a soldier he is a good soldier has been at it for years he told use he was a private in 1895.

There is 300 of use boys come in to stay right in this one building tonight and I have no idea how many there was here before we came this 300 are going in one party to see all we can in one day tomorrow guided by several English Chaplains. It only cost me 40 cent for a nice single room and breakfast or they say 1/8 1 shilling and 8 pense I have got so I can count the money all right now if I could under stand there talk, but I can’t always the first time they say any thing.

I don’t think I till be able to see Mrs Whitby because I don’t know where she lives and it is no where near our camp. I have her address in my pocket.

The return ticket from camp in costs 3 bob or 72¢ Our rest room here is something great the heavy leather feather cushoned furniture a couch that would make you think of home, and the big chairs would put you to sleep.

Well good night Mother dear I will write some more tomorrow.

8.45 P.M.

Dear Mother:–

I have put in a great day I had three good square meals and saw lots of the best of the city. I was just reading over my last nights letter and I see where I told you I had room 138 I went to bed at 10.40 and about 12 a fellow come along and nocked at the door he said I had his bed so I got up and looked at my ticket and found that my room was 148 so I moved.

I got up about 6.30 and washed shaved shined my buttons and shoes and got all ready to travel come down booked my room over again and go into the dining room early and got breakfast over before the boys got in at all. At 8.15 we started and I will only mention a part of the things we saw. One was West Minster Abby, I have to go back to it again before I can tell you what it is like in the way I should. The corved stone and bronze work is had to beleave hard ever done. and then the whole floor right where every one walks is over the graves of the noted men and wemen some of the monuments are the greatest piece of architecture that one could amagine and there is one room that is something grand. All of the most important are sandbagged to give them protection against the air raids so we could not see them

The St. Pauls Cathedral is far grander than the abby again, far bigger and oh the light and the colors and work I couldn’t begin to describe it people look about the size of flies on the street below from the tower. There was three good paintings here one the picture of Jesuse nocking on a wall all covered with vines under it was Jesus the light of the world. he is supposed to be nocking at the heart of man.

The other two one was Time, Death, Judgement the other Peace and good will. I will tell you about them some time.

There is a wagon that was made at the time of the death of the Duke of Wellington it took 18 days to complete it its weight was 18 tons and his body was put in it in a cofin and griven thru the streets of London. there was a break on it at the back that screws up just like one on our box car at home. the wagon stands in a room there yet.

I am sending some views tonight but this letter wont get away untill tomorrow so I will have to say good Mother dear as ever your loving son


9.47 P.M.
Sept. 16th

Well Mother an other day has passed and I am still seeing London. I just got in from the Salvation Army and I took part in the open air. I have go so I will have to take active part in Gods work or I am going back again for I have such a desire to do something for the uplift of humanity, and then to back down on every opportunity to confess God dores hurt a man, I find my own well fare is the smallest part of living a christian life. I have to work for others now.

This Corps is very small there is only one man left in it so they need help and tonight there was two of use in khakie the other lad is a great man to work, he has experience and I am going to try to take part in every meeting tomorrow. The first one is at 7.15 A.M. but I can be there just ten minuits walk from hear

To day I took Madame Truessaud’s musium and the wax work of all the great men in every walk of life are so real to life that at first it is embarising to stand and look at them you can’t realize they an’t, alive, and when going I wanted to go thru as cheap as I could so I didn’t buy a guide book, but I saw a lady at the entrence selling them for 6 pence so I went back to get one and I had to be care full that I dident go to a dummy guide with a bunch of guides I was just between the two as to which was doing the selling.

All the murders are there and all the royalty from the 10th century Lord Kitchener and the Kaiser. I only wish you could see them

After dinner I went out to the Zooalogical Garden in Regent Park and Mother it took me 3 hours to get a look at every thing birds all kinds of beasts you could mention of every discription from every nation under the sun hot and cold. The heat belt snakes have to be kept inside this time of the year and the polar bear is away to hot. Now won’t try to mention one kind of bird or monkey or dear or goat or elephant or camel or geraff for I think they have every thing even the beast of burden from India and China. You can see them all for 6 pence and get a ride on the elephant for a pennie or the camel all kinds of wolfes and foxes buckes and geese, chickens etc.

I done my traveling to day away up on the top of a dubble tram auto bus which was fun they charge you never over a pence and some time [pap-one???]. I was only on Three or four, I got my picture taken I hope it is good if it is I get a dozen and I will give you the address of the photo shop and you can pay for as many as you would like to send to our friends out of the little box on the cubbard if they an’t any thing in why get them as quick as some comes in to it. I will send you what I don’t want of the dozen. They charge more for developing and printing here than at home. I put 24 in to get developed to day. The pictures cost 15 shillings a dozen or $3.60 per.

There is some fine looking girls here as ever drew breath but Mother there is such a number of bad girls they seem to think the soldiers are such a novelty that they have went to the dogs since the war began a lot worse than before. The Australian and Canadian soldiers have the advantage over the English soldiers because we get as much in a day as they get in a week. And naturally the worldly girl goes with the money.

Well good night Mother dear as ever your loving son