Winterbottom, Sydney Amyas

Letter
Date:
August 12, 1917
To:
Dad and Mom
From:
Sid
France..Lens
Aug. 12,1917

Dear Dad and Mom:

Thanks ever so much for the jake parcel of - cake, candy, ect. you sent me in the round tin. It was a fine surprise. Also thanks for the ten shilling note of July 10. The note changed for twelve and a fraction francs over here. I hope you always send soap in your parcels as washing is very much appreciated over here. Instead of sending any more cigs please send me Dad’s pipe and a tin of Old Chum tobacco. I rarely smoke but would much rather have a good pipe when I do.

I got a funny letter from John and Joan in Kelowna. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. Dug and I are feeling fine. Dug looks twice as strong as he did on his arrival here. He will be a fine looking man when filled out. Don't take any notice of the p.c. picture I sent you. It was taken by one of these frog eating Frenchmen the day after we came out on rest. The darned card doesn't in the least resemble any of us. Why it didn't even show my moustache! I'll send you a decent one some time.

I heard from Linn a couple of days ago. He seems quite taken up with Trixie D. and wants me to write and tell him all about her! I receive the Kamloops Telegram fairly regularly and look forward to its arrival. Percy Sp., Dug and I always hold a palaver over the contents of it.

Now at your home don't go and worry about your "gallant son ect" as the same son has not been in the front line for something like four months. Therefore don't picture us charging the Hun every day or week with a dripping bayonet because we have only been over the top once at Vimy since my arrival. Also don't go worry about my leave as a fellow seldom gets his leave in our bunch until he has been out here something like sixteen months. Also don't believe that darned rot your gas bag parson has been preaching you about sin, bad women, ect. because it is absurd. As regard bad women they are almost an unknown article around our place of travels. Besides a pretty woman looked upon as a rare thing about here.. As regards to the booze, the only booze a soldier can afford out here is watery French beer, and wine. You have to imbibe enormous quantities of each before you feel any affect at all. Of course there is champagne but that is a luxury. Of course a fellow can play poker. I often play it myself, but you can hardly call this a horrible sin as a lad only receives three paltry dollars or fifteen francs each pay day. Therefore don't worry as it is foolish to do so under the circumstances.

Please don't worry about me being a colonel or general. I belong to a Lewis gun section of eight to ten men. No. 1 looks after the gun. No. 2 carries the spare parts. Nos 3, 4, 5,6, 7, 8. carry ammunition.
When No. 1 is put out of action No. 2 takes his place, while No. 3 takes the place of No. 2 and so on.
There is a lance corporal to each section. When he is put out of action, No. 1 becomes lance - jack- and so on. I am at present No.3 - comprez?

I am sorry to hear little John has the Exzema and hope he soon gets rid of it. I guess he and Joan have grown a lot in my absence, eh?

I'm glad Mrs. C. is recovering and send my best wishes for a complete recovery in time. Harry
Batchelor wrote not long ago and said he was arranging to take up land round the Quesnel district. That is where he had that little trip with his dog Pat a couple of years ago. He said Art. and Harry were taking up land with him and asked me if I wished to take up an adjoining piece. As I don't know anything about this district I would like Dad to tell me something about it and also to give me his advice what to do. I understand the district is located at quite an altitude and that market is a long distance away. Of course I wouldn't think of taking up land unless he and Keith did the same. I'm glad to hear the little mare has another colt. What became of the one she had at Batchelor's ranch? Did it die? I hope not.

At present we are billeted in a huge cellar. Fritz throws a few shells but we are jake.

With best wishes to all,

I am your loving son, Sid
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