Winterbottom, Sydney Amyas

Letter
Date:
August 10, 1916
To:
Helen
From:
Sid
Cheriton Camp - Kent
Aug. 10.1916

Dear Helen:

Thanks for your nice letter. Not long ago I sent you some views of “Folkestone”. I hope you got them. I heard from Frank to-day and he said he was off to France in a couple of days so I will be unable to see him or Harry before they go.

So far we have not had any signs of moving. Next week we go into the ranges for a couple of weeks. These ranges are I believe at Lydd which is from fourteen to seventeen miles from here. We will march out there and camp there until we have finished our shooting course. From what is to be known we have to start for there about three in the morning. I see where we will all sweat like bears. I received a nice generous long letter from Trixie Dandy. I was sorry to hear she had broken down through teaching the yelling, squawking little country kids.

So far we have been steadily confined to barracks. It is as you may imagine becoming somewhat monotonous. There are rumours that we are to allowed out this Saturday. I hear that the Canadians are treated like kings in London. One of our boxers was in a boxing competition there and happened to have a gory face when it was over. On stepping out of the ring a woman kissed him. He said that he was positively embarrassed by the attention he received. Please tell Mum that the Miss Pemberton who nursed Grandmother Banister was a cousin to the Pemberton in our tent.

We hear ghastly tales from the front. Very few of the Canadians we hear give or are given the slightest quarter. I heard of one sergeant who witnessed the crucifixion of that Canadian sergeant some months ago. This man is known for his love of German prisoners. One yarn I heard was this - It shows the horrible nature of this scrap-. One day while out reconnoitering with a few other fellows they came onto a German outpost fast asleep. On being awakened the Germans were pretty well scared. One of them fell on his knees and piteously entreated to be spared as he had a wife and kiddies in London. “ I’ll spare you you son of a________! “ said one of the victors who on saying this sprang at him and kicked him on the head and knocking him down absolutely kicked his head to a jelly. The remaining prisoners were turned over to the above mentioned sergeant who lining them along a trench shot them all dead in turn with his own hand.

Gosh this war is H—L. We often hear the thunder of the big guns. Goodness only knows they must make an awful din when heard up close. One of the returned soldiers said in one fight he distinctly remembers killing twelve Germans singlehanded.

I have met Heaton whom mum spoke about and he seems a nice fellow.

Adrian and I have decided to join Dug’s regiment if we are broken up. The pioneer work will be hard but we will be able to quarrel with each other to our hearts content if we are able to get together. Adrian and I quarrel horribly. We decided we quarrel because we each need a good long rest from the others company. Adrian even suggested counting up to ten every time we itched to scrap then maybe we would get on better. He receives about two parcels of grub per week from countless aunts. I have the greatest pleasure in helping him eat the contents thereof. Adrian and I are having a competition as to who can grow the best moustache. I will send home a picture of the result.

Now I am going to give you a little advice about teaching. Don’t work too hard It is not worth it.

Buy yourself a nice little revolver when you get paid. You never know when you may need it. I speak from what I’ve heard about certain animals called man. I hope you take my hint without thinking me rude.

Lovingly, Sid
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