This is my second night with the squadron. Left Reid's Monday evening and took my luggage to Victoria station and slept at the Grosvenor Hotel which is at the station so as to be handy and not have to get up too early. Train left about 8 o'clock Tuesday and three of us who were at Netheravon together had breakfast on the train and stayed together till we reached that place Sur-mer where I have landed & sailed from several times where were a few hours in the place where Willie was till the boat sailed. I didn't see anyone there thought of going to see Mrs. Brown but didn't.
The channel was very smooth and I enjoyed the trip across. In fact haven't feel punk at all. I am so thankful to be out of the infantry and to travel practically on your own hook. We slept in an hotel at the place were I was in hospital for a week and weren't marched up any long old hill to a camp drenching wet and completely tired out. You know what I am referring to-that first trip coming over. That was out worst march.
Yesterday two of us George Dracup of Yorkton 128th Batt'n & I who have been together since joining R.T.C. He is a good head and we are not absolutely together now but he is only a short distance away and I have seen him twice to-day. We came up on the train to the North and arrived at our squadrons last night. There are a few Canadians around but I am the only one in our mess.
I am glad that I have been sent to a part of the line that I know fairly well and where I have spent some time in the trenches. It is very pleasant to think that you don't have to go up in a few days. Right now I am very close to the town where I took the train on leave and where I came back to. So look up some back letters of Jan 28th /16 or thereabouts and see. Do you remember that pleasant little march I had from the trenches to this place to go on leave. When wounded I didn't leave this place but a town in Belgium you know.
I use to march past this place and see the flying fellows and machines but never thought I would ever be in this game. I know this part well and will go down and see Madam Hughes you remember me mentioning here before don't you. She was so good to all of us during the winter and I wonder if she still is there.
France looks lovely, everything so green & fresh and I can realize now more clearly why it is called La belle France. It seems even fresher than England.
Please don't worry for I feel better off than I ever was. This is a quiet part just now and I could be in far worse places. Willie is some distance from here and no chance of seeing him just now. I had a letter from him just before leaving England telling me about Howy. It is terribly and a fellow won't miss all his chums till after the war. Howy has always been my real chum and it is very difficult to realize that he has gone.
Give Mrs. Longworthy my sincerest regards(?) I tried to see Earle but he was away when I was down at Wittey. Saw Geo. Porter, Chas Bayne & all those boys.
Will close for just now and get to bed, never before in France. I am very thankful mother and you are too. With love to each one.
Your loving son,
From - Jas.S. Balfour Lt.
P.S. - send certificate from Crowbow later