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Date: January 14th 1917

From: Lark Hill, Salisbury Plain, Wilts., Eng.
Sun., Jan. 14, 1917

Dearest Mother -

It is exactly a week since I wrote you last and have been rather busy for last two or three days with no good place to write. The last letter I have received from home was yours of Dec. 12 which I received on Jan. 1. That letter was slow in coming and I expected another before I left for Lark Hill but they are probably delayed. I have got none of the letters I was expecting and a couple last Mon. I was not expecting namely an Xmas card from Everett Latimer (chum of Clarence's) who is working in P.O. in Brockville and a card from Evelyn Ferguson answering mine. However, there are probably some letters for me at Witley which we will not get till we go back next Thurs.

We left camp last Wed. in the forenoon and went by way of Guildford, Winchester and Southampton to S.W. of Salisbury Plain. We had a walk in evening of about 4 mls. from Amesbury station to Lark Hill camp. The week before, the 14th & 16th Bdes. had been here firing. They left their horses & guns here which we use - the 13th & 15th Bdes. On Thurs. the 15th Brigade went firing about 4 mls. from our camp and on Fri. we went. Our battery fired about 92 rounds altogether and didn't do too bad. I was No. 4 on the gun crew that day, my duty being to see that fuses were properly set and to load the gun with the 18 pounder shells. Yesterday, the 15th went again and this forenoon, we fired. I was No. 2 this time having to put on the range and open & close the breech. I stuffed my ears but really did not need it. It makes quite a loud report but gun works beautifully. We will have to go twice more, I believe - on Tues. and on Thurs. then back to Witley Camp.

Salisbury Plain is a great camp but an awful mud hole. You probably remember reading of mud and cold the Canadians went thru in tents that first winter of the war. Many of them perished, I believe, and indeed now the Australians find it pretty hard even with excellent huts and accomodation. There are practically no Canadians here but Australians & Imperials. You can stand on the road outside the hut here and see myriads of lights twinkling from the huts on the hill over to the right.

About a mile or less from our hut is Stonehenge. Have you ever heard of it? Altho so close, I have not yet been able to go over and may not have the chance, but can see it in the distance. It is nothing but a few huge sandstone blocks standing in peculiar shapes, but in 1700 B.C. or before was a sort of temple of the ancient Britons - over 3600 yrs. old - long before time of Druids. The government has taken it over now and are trying to preserve the ruins, charging a small fee to see the place. I shall enclose a couple of post cards showing the place.

Nearly every day here, we can see several aeroplanes, mostly biplanes sailing around overhead. There is a hangar not far from here, and the other day, I saw an observation balloon go up from it. They have a few German prisoners near here whom they make work on improvements round the camp, but I have not seen them.

The first day we went firing, I got plastered with mud and my feet were pretty wet, so that evening I bought a pair of long rubber boots. We are allowed to wear them on parade if we have them and most of the fellows now have them. They are just the thing for this kind of country and we will likely be able to take them to France with us. I feel pretty well but must try to keep my feet as warm and dry as possible. I can wear two pairs of sox with these rubber boots so that my feet are nice and warm in them.

I expect when I get back, there will be lots of mail waiting for me and that we will soon get another leave of absence. Very best of love to you, to Harold and to Arthur.

Yours affectionately,

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