Letter to Mother from Mitchett Ranges, Ash Village

Mitchett Ranges
Nov. 1st 1916
Ash Village

Dear Mother:–

We have had another wet afternoon on the ranges. I got a foot a little damp and one elbow where I got it off the ground sheet when I was firing the M.G. when it started to rain we ran into the trees and stayed there untill our turn came, and mine came only once, I shot 44 rounds at a target 400 yds away. I don’t know what I done but will find out tonight.

We got a telegram at noon saying that the 144th and 108th M.G.D. were to return to Witley at once some thot it was the 128th because the 108th is not here but we found that it was not use and I am glad to for I think we are luckier here than in France. Well I am going to supper so bye bye Mother.

6 P.M.
Nov. 2nd

I have finished supper and had a great big one. I would have been a little better if I had not eat quite so much, supper consisted of bread and margarine, soup and syrup but Mother appetite is all a man neads to get along on any thing just so the quantity is there. I could eat till I am uncomfortable on raw dog. te. he. We have had dinner out on the range the last three days they put use up potatoes boiled with the hide on beaf and gravey and bread tea and cabbage or some other vegetable, breakfasts are porridge that is good, bacon, potatoes, bread and marg. some times jam some times syrup.

I took in a lecture last night at the Wes. Methodist church by a Rev. from London one of Englands best speakers and he was surely good, the talk was on Christ in this age. I tell you Mother it was worth the 13 mile walk down here from Witley just to here that talk if nothing else. He give it to the men who think that there money makes them any above the working men. Oh I can write the things that I could tell you if I was with you. I received your letter of the 10th tonight just before supper. Last night I received one from Alice and one from Ted also a roll of Honor from Miss Hurd of the Hazenmore boys who have enlisted also a letter from Annie. A little English boy just came in selling papers they are very small to.

Well Mother I have just got back from down town with Harvey Mitchel is pretty sick with a cold he coughs all night but I think he will be all right if he gets into a warm bed when he gets back home again.

We went into the Soldiers Home, and sat down Harvey was out for a minuit so I read your letter over again. Then he came in and we were sitting together a young woman came over and asked me if I wasn’t a Canadian she said that she was going to some new Canadian camp down along the south coast to open a new Soldiers Hut tomorrow and she wanted to know if I knew what Batt. were going to this point but I had never heard at all, but we are moving from Witley camp to Bramshot tomorrow or in other words we are not going back to Witley at all and we gain our batt. at Bramshot. They moved today but address is the same till I write again. I don’t like the idea of leaving Witley at all for I won’t be acquanted with the new camp until we pull stakes for France. I passed well as a machine gunner on the ranges here but I did not get the last Field practice shot but it was not any thing that I would have had a mark on any it would have just given me that much more practice and on the rifle ranges I done the best shooting I ever done by far. I wish you could see the fun we have out here some times, today we started out at the 600 yd range with 20 rounds and bayonets and gas helmets I put my bayonet in my haversack for I didn’t have a scabbard on my belt and the next relay would have the bayonets any way. Harvey was just the same beside me and the officers around thick. Well shot at 600 and dubbled till 300 and I looked and I had lost my bayonet. I told Harvey and he look for his and it had jumped out to.

Then we dubbled till 300 shoot then 200 and put on helmets but mine had one one eye unscrewed and loose so I just droped it on the ground and never put the tube in my mouth at all. Then the bayonet charge for the last trench and to see how many times we had hit the head body and six inches of one arm of a board man well I hit him three times and I saw the most of the the rounds for the 300 yds for them was the best shot. I just had one round left to shoot with the helmet on. The next practice I had a helmet that had neither eye so it didn’t bother a bit. These helmets were just as good as new the day before yesterday but the boys unscrew the gogels so they will get the fresh air. We will have lots of time to drill with them when they essew use with them in France, all we have to do is learn to breath in thru the nose and out thru the mouth always, to breathe inside puts mist on the glasses.

Say Mother beer is talking pretty loud in this hut tonight but they boys are all friendly no scraps or any thing like that. I am proud of Mitchel and Harvey neither of them smoke at all and Harvey seldom take a drink and Mitchel never he took about three since he hit England and was mad at himself afterwards. Well Mother this is a poor excuse of a letter but I will have to get ready for bed.

As ever your loving son