Winterbottom, Sydney Amyas

Letter
Date:
July 7, 1916
To:
Mom
From:
Sid
Halifax, Nova Scotia
July 7,1916

Dear Mum:

We are sailing to-morrow morning so I thought I would write my last letter home from Canada.

We got in here last Saturday and slept the night on the train. In the morning we hitched on our packs and marched up a steep street to the barracks we are now in. We were all very soft so naturally perspired violently.

I was given the mess orderly job for a week and have been on it for five days. Another chap is on with me and we dish out grub for forty-five men every meal. After the meal is over we wash up all the plates and cups - swab down the table and sweep around and under our tables. The job is a comparatively easy one as we get off all parades.

Last night I went up the hill where the fort is situated. From there you get a magnificent view of Halifax and the surrounding country. The fort is now being used for German prisoners whom are guarded by a garrison of infantry. We then paid a call on Pemberton’s sister who runs a small hospital here. From there we visited a Mr. Dean who is a music teacher. There we had a dandy evening for Mr. Dean proved himself a good host. He played us several nocturnes and also Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata. He plays the organ in the Presbyterian Church here.

To-morrow we have to be on board by eight AM so we mess orderlies have to get breakfast ready by six AM. I am still enjoying the jake grub you put up for us. To-day I ate my first piece of the dandy dripping cake you made.

I forgot to tell you that we had a case of measles at Vancouver. They did not quarantine us however but disinfected the car in which the case occurred. At Sudbury, Ont. We left a man behind who had contracted pneumonia. The poor beggar must have suffered intensely on the train as there is no comfort whatsoever on a troop train.

I sent a post card to Aunt Myrtle and Fanny to-day and hope they will write sometime.

We were paid five dollars of the fifteen coming to us. That leaves ten dollars to come to us when we reach the old country...For a wonder it is sunny here this afternoon, the first sunshine I’ve seen for a whole week.

By gosh, I wouldn’t live outside B.C. for any money. If England is the same foggy, dull looking place as this is I don’t want to see it. Of course there is not that darned wind here but I would rather have it than no sunshine. The lowest temperature known here was 16 degrees below zero and the highest 94 degrees (in the shade). We asked Miss Pemberton yesterday how much snow they had here in the winter and she said in a most matter of fact way “well you seldom get more than four feet.” Fancy four feet of snow freezing and the next day turning to slush! None of your Halifax for me thanks.

There are some pretty tough dives around here. Adrian and I were walking down one dirty street when we saw a villanous waitress standing in the door-way smoking a cigarette. I hear there are some tough places in the old country also.

I was sorry not to see Mr. Goudy. I saw him standing on the platform as the train pulled out of Kamloops. I haven’t written to Dug. yet but will do so shortly and send him the photo he asked for.

We are sleeping in sort of a bunk house. The toilet arrangements could not be better. We have the flush toilets, hot and cold water showers, baths and washing benches. Everything is clean and airy and everyone feels quite pleased with it all.

They are building some gigantic water fronts here. I guess they are one of the biggest constructions in Canada..

You would laugh to see the queer little dinky street cars here. They climb up many streets which are a lot steeper than first avenue. You can ride for almost an hour for 5 cents. Lots of fellows saw the city that way..

Hoping I receive some letters from home on the other side,

I am always your loving son, Sid.
Original Scans