Letter to Mother from Witley South Camp

Witley South Camp
Oct. 10th 1916 

Dear Mother:–

I think possibly that I should write to Horace but he will get this letter any way so I guess he won’t mind. I am doing a lot of writing these days on my Machine Gun notes but I guess in a month or so I wont have so many at the rate I am learning. I am greatly pleased with the ability I seem to have in picking up the name and movements of the guns different parts. We have drill out on the grass every after noon, and our physical instructor is away on leave so we just go for a march and duffle short distances at different intervals. Yesterday we went out about 1 ½ miles and fall out for 5 minuits but it was 15 I think so we had a great time picking blackberries they are surely good but a lot like raspberries they would be better with with sugar and cream, say it does seem funny when I think of the way these families are raised and live, they would know no more about how to regulat your range than a machine G. because there little fire place with a small oven beside has no damper at all They live on mostly bread and butter or margerine I guess they never have butter. I think the farmers will be able to get a big price for there butter. I know the price of beef is a fright and bacon to. There is no place in the world like old canada and the farm but when we are there we do not realize how thankful we should be to have every thing we need to work with and eat.

The shoes the little poor boys wear here an't fit to put on to pigs and they don’t have hats or caps at all. the boys that sell papers here at camp mostly have bicycles and they have caps to. Supper has just gone so I will be beating it.

I did not quite realize how pooly I wrote until I tryed to read the M.G. notes that I wrote the day before. I got my hair cut last night and it makes me feel chilly when I go out.

6.40 P.M.              11-9-16 [sic; should be 11-10-16]

Dear Mother:–

I receaved my canadian mail to night just before supper and surely enjoyed it. One letter from you one from Alice and one from Millie Peel she told me that she enjoyed Kates visit very much and she said that for her part she could say she realy never had got acquanted with her before she wrote a good letter, I havent heard from any of my girl friends to speak of since I hit here. I think I had one from Eula one and the last one from Myrtle one from Millie thats all but I don’t care I hope Eula don’t write again and I wont have to write to her.

Well I am away behind with my M.G. notes and I got them badly mixed to night so will wait untill tomorrow to straiten out the sheets they surely give use enough to do but it is fine work it takes a man to get it all I tell you, any man that had nothing in his head but sodust won’t be in the detachment long we sure go thru a pad quick. We are going out on night duty tonight again we have good fun out on this work it is just like about 2 ½ hours out on a hollow ean frolick. We havent had any of that guard duty to do here like C.H. at all we trust the boys here a bit different than C.H. but they get after the boys that don’t behave 3 days pay for being absent at roll call at night,

They still give use all we can eat and then some. I have my own jam for breakfast ever morning about 20¢ a week it cost I think are they sending your checks along the way they should. tomorrow night I am going to Milford prayer meeting. Stanley and I were out for a walk last night and had a good talk say Mother we are going to be lonesome boys when we get split up we walk up and down the road and thru the big trees and ly down in the shade of the [ferns???] and talk while the old moon shines over head. just the same moon as you have but a few hours sooner each night.

I hope if I am still here when Elmer gets accross that he comes to Witley there is not a better camp in England. I had a great time today at dinner time boxing with Leeper, it warmed me up in good shap but say it is good fun I can’t keep from it if the gloves are in use I want to be around. It is just like broncoes or cattle I can’t get enough of them. Two of the boys are boxing now.

Bob McKeith says that his father got 3000 bu. of wheat and 900 bu. of oats that is good at the price we are getting this year I hope Horace gets more than he thinks he is going to for he needs it, but if he can hang out till after the war and keep down expenses we will get out all right. I wish I could have seen things before as I do now and we would be better fixed have Teddy work in with you folks all you can and help to get him to understand that it is all in the family no matter where he works the least thing to cherish in this world is riches but of coarse it is nice to be out of debt but no one should worry in the least because they are in debt because any one with the land we have got will get out right away as soon as a systematice basis is provided and under control. Well I have to go and get my cap and belt I have my tunic on right now but I am comfortable and we are snug and happy we are used to the fact, that we are going to the front and we never worry about any thing I am striving to do something for the speritual good of my boy palls which I think as much of as I do of my self and if I can do this death will have no [pang???], and I will have no regret to make if I am wounded and cripped I will only thank God for life under any condition  good night Mother dear.  

Thursday 7.30 A.M.

Well Mother:–  

Thursday 4.50 P.M.

I didn’t get time to write any thing this A.M. and to night I have been down to the Milford mid week service. we had a good time to I do enjoy these meetings they seem to make a new man but still I want to go back as often as I get an opertunity. There is a lot of old grey haired wemen that attend the meetings regularly . Bob McKeith and Hunter were with me.

Don’t you ever pay any attention to any reports about the grub that comes from around Hazenmore because Bob said on the road home to-night that he tells his folks in every letter that the grubb is simply abombible and there is just not a word of truth in it and I told him that I could get more men to say that one would never starve on this grubb than he could get to tell any one that it was as he said. He says that the bread is not fit to eat and that he will starve before he will eat herring and the bacon is to fat and a whole lot of such talk. Well the bread is made of a portion of soft wheat flour so it is heavier than our bread but I would sooner have it than our bread because it stays with a fellow and it has a sweet taste that you can wrelish, I can sit and eat dry bread and be enjoying it as much as I ever would canadian bakers bread and botten butter

I did not eat the kippers for a long time but it was just a notion I eat them now and like them the porridge is just plain oat meal with sugar in it and I havent eaten much of it since I hit here because I have had enough bacon, potatoes bread and margerine, and I have a jar of jam all the time.

We have some great feeds though that I surely enjoy and I never go away from the table with out eating untill I am uncomfortable, and this is something I dident do once a week in canada on the choicest grub I could find I have to close so good bye your loving son


One of the boys are going to the P. O. now.