March 6, 1902
In camp near Newcastle
2nd Canadian M.R.,
On active service,
My dear Mother,
I suppose you will have heard from some of us before this reaches you as I told Jim to forward the letter I wrote from Capetown. We left for Durban the same day as I wrote, so I had not time to write more. We made good time up the coast, & arrived off Durban in 3 days, making 26 ½ days sailing from Halifax. We moved into the harbor next day, unloaded at once, & loaded up onto the trains, leaving for Newcastle the same day.
The country from Durban to Pietermaritzburg is lovely with peaches, pineapple, bananas, etc., & though it was exceptionally hot the day we disembarked, we put in a good time, eating pineapples until our mouths were sore. At some of the stations we could get them for a penny each.
We arrived at Newcastle after two nights on the train & immediately moved out to a pitched camp here, about 3 miles out from the town, where we have been quarantined since, on account of four cases of smallpox which we had on board the boat. Our quarantine is nearly up now though, so we may start on the march anytime. Lord Kitchener inspected the camp a few days ago, & I hear he is to be here again today.
We are living well & though we have lots of work, outpost, drilling etc, altogether we are having a pretty good time. We have to go armed even down to the river to water horses or bathe, as there are plenty of Boers hanging about within a few miles.
Well, I must close this, as the mail closes today & it is just dinner time now. The latest report in camp is that Botha & Delarey surrender today. I am afraid there isn't going to be too much for us to do. Kindest regards to everyone.