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Date: December 12th 1916

From: Witley Camp, Eng.
Tues., 12 Dec. 1916

Dear Mother -

Received your letter of Nov. 26th this morning and thought I would answer right away. I was glad to hear that you had received pictures and postcards alright. You spelled the name of the other in the picture correctly. It is Bombardier Earl W. Van Blaricom. He is a good deal older than I am, being 26. He graduated with an M.A. from Queen's and is now a full fledged barrister. He was working in a law office in Regina but home is in Belleville, Ont. The name is Dutch but he is very much a Canadian - his great grandparents, I think it is, having on both sides been U.E. Loyalists.

I was puzzled at first too by the letters W.C. or E.C. but it stands for West Centre or East Centre, distinguished thus, I suppose, from West End and East End. London is so huge that it is divided into many districts or municipalities. What is known as the City is just a small area in the heart of Greater London. One section is known as the City of Whitechapel, another the city of Westminster, or the Borough of Marylebone, or Waterloo, Charing Cross etc. If one was writing to London to an address on one of the smaller streets or lanes, he would have to mention a large street it was near or the district it was in.

Is it not strange that Harley should be in London when I was. I read his letter in the clipping he sent with interest as I recognize all the places and things he describes. He evidently started for London on Oct. 3 with 10 days leave while I was there from Oct. 6 - 12. I can't imagine how he found it out. I wrote to him at his Shoreham address about 2 weeks ago but have received no answer. It may be that he has already left for France again. I was glad to get that word about him as I didn't know whether he was still sick or not.

If you get my last letter, you will know that I have seen Willie Dickey again. He seems well and to enjoy it here alright. I have not seen or heard of Heffernan since that first night.

Yes, I have quite a bit to read here. I see the London dailies nearly every day. The fellows are often getting bundles of papers from Canada. Then, I had those 4 books I sent home and I borrowed others to read from some of the others. There are also lending libraries free of any fee in connection with the YMCA huts here.

Someone heard this morning - I have not yet seen it in the papers - that the Caledonia was sunk on its way from Canada with a very large Xmas mail. If that is true, it might be that some letters to me might be lost or even those parcels.

Yes, I was given a Testament before leaving Petawawa and I also have the Gospels of St. John and of St. Mark in separate little books. Sunday evening I was able to go to church. I went to the nearest one - St. John's Church of England in Milford but the service was rather too Anglican to suit me. We have Church parades Sun. mornings but the service there is Anglican too - our chaplain is Anglican. I have often been kept in on Sundays being on some fatigue so that I have not had many opportunities to go to church. Church parades are not quite the same as being in a church where they have the hymns and choir and the regular service. Do you know I miss it very much - in Kingston I used to go so regularly - and being in church, sort of makes me feel at home or as tho I were back near home. It is only when we have to do without a thing that we appreciate it, I guess, and I have a desire to go to church when I can that I never felt before.

You say - "So you had a letter from J.S., did you?" I couldn't think for a moment who you meant, and it made me smile the way you put it, why I don't know. No, she has not yet sent the second pair of sox. If I remember right, she mentioned it in that letter. Said she had some sort of trouble with her eyes so that her mother didn't want her to do any knitting for awhile.

Best of love to you, Harold, Cecil & Arthur and all the rest.
Yours truly,

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