Baker, James

Letter
Date:
January 28, 1940
To:
Mom
From:
Jim
January 28, 1940

Dearest Mom,

I haven't received a letter for almost a week now. I hope to get one tomorrow. I've just finished blanching my equipment, shining all my brass, shoes, etc. and as I have nothing else to do and as it is Sunday afternoon, I'm going to write this letter.

I'm afraid this letter will get to you too late but I'll say it anyhow. Congratulations on your birthday. I'm sending you a little birthday present after next payday sometime but I'm afraid it will be very late. Anyway you'll know the thought was behind it. I understand that our letters are not censored but they are held here for ten days so that any news which we send will be of no use if it is intercepted. The same is true of our incoming mail. Some of the boys have got airmail letters from Canada sent on the US Clipper which has arrived here in barracks after letters mailed by the ordinary route.
I've got very much to say today I'm afraid. Last week nothing very exciting happened. Squad drill, lectures. etc. The weather has been anything but nice. It has rained almost every night and day. Last night it simply poured for about three hours and then when the water was lying everywhere, it froze solid. Our cement parade-square is simply one sheet of solid ice, the roads are so slippery that we can't walk on them. The only thing that isn't frozen is the mud - about four inches of it all around our barracks.

We went to a church-parade this morning but I'm afraid it wasn't very successful. There was a picture show over in our recreation rooms last night. A real show. Talkies, music and everything. There must have been all of 300 men in the room. The show was "The Mad Miss Martin" and it was very funny. I certainly enjoyed myself.

The Canadian YMCA has a room here as you have probably gathered. It is fitted up very nicely for the boys: writing tables, ping pong, darts, a 12 tube radio and all the magazines that we can read. Also free paper, pens and ink. They have also opened up a huge recreation centre in Aldershot. Just last Friday it was opened. There are 4 sumptuously-fitted reading rooms, a huge canteen and restaurant bar, baths and showers, a gym and five play rooms. So you see things are beginning to wake up for us.

What the dickens has been going on over there lately? What is this rumour that the Canadian soldiers are going to be asked to vote on a new government for Canada? Has McKenzie King done something wrong or something? We saw in the papers where he had been severely criticized by Premier Hepburn but why did he have to ask for a new poll? I guess I'll be able to vote in the election if it comes off but I don't see that anyone of them is any better than any other.

Do you know what I read in the paper. An MP in the House of Commons had been criticizing the War Minister on the way in which they had been treating the Canadians; no supplies, clothing or anything for them. At last one of the other MPs became so exasperated that he jumped to his feet and said something about "We don't want the Canadians over here, we don't need them. The Canadian government said they would send over a fully-equipped, fully-trained fighting force and when they get here what do we find. They have no supplies, no equipment, they have only 3 months training. They are more of a burden than a help. We don't want the Canadians! I don't know but someone made a terrific blunder.

Well I guess that's all. Please expect a parcel sometime next month. I'm going to try and send home all my excess clothing. I've got so much of it that I can't get it all in my kitbag. We were issued with two uniforms of summer-drill last week and I don't know where to put them. I guess I'll have to get rid of my fatigue clothing. I hope you'll like your birthday present. Please send me some cake, cookies, candy, raisins, dates or something to eat. We miss sweets and cakes more than anything else. Boy I'm certainly glad I don't smoke or drink. Every time when the end of the month comes round and no one has any money and everyone is trying to bum a smoke, I thank my lucky stars that I never learned the insidious habit.

Well goodbye for now. I'm well, just a little touch of cold in my head and a bit of sinus. Love as always
Jim
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