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Date: January 20th 1917

From: Witley Camp, Godalming, Surrey, Eng.
Sat. Jan. 20, 1917

Dearest Mother -

I arrived back here last night about 10 o'clock. Most of the battery went back the night before but fifteen of us were left behind for a day to clean up huts, stables, kitchen etc. We fired again at Lark Hill of Tues. and on Wed. On Tues. we fired with aeroplane observation and did pretty well. Thurs. afternoon, I was able to get over to Stonehenge and saw the ruins of the old temple. The ground at Salisbury Plain is chalky and so mostly unfit for cultivation and, unless frozen, is very muddy. However, except for the first couple of days, the ground was fairly hard and so not so bad as if it had been warmer.

I found two letters from you waiting for me here - one written on the 24th and the other on the 27th. I guess you have received all of my letters alright. I was rather surprised and dismayed to see that clipping from the Athens Reporter. I never wanted nor expected anything of that sort. We have had no snow here yet so it must be a good deal different from what it is at home. I also had a letter from Aunt Lettie with an enclosure from Cecil. She says she will try to write every week if I want her to and would like to send me any little things I might need. There was also a letter from Gladys written on Jan. 3rd telling of her trip back to Ottawa.

There has been talk for quite awhile of splitting up some of the batteries to make six gun batteries. There are now four gun batteries and that would mean that one battery would have to be split in two and added to two other batteries. This is going to take place in a day or two and when I came back last night, I heard the disagreeable news that the 50th Battery was to split up - Queen's Battery is to be no more and that we were to be put in the 52nd and the 53rd batteries. I don't know what is going to be done with the 51st as it is a howitzer battery. At first, it looked as though we might be all mixed up and picked out indiscriminately, some to go to 52nd and other to 53rd, which would be very, very disagreeable as chums & friends would be separated altogether, but the way it will likely be done is for one section (half the battery, two subsections and as each subsection has been living in a separate hut, those in a subsection know one another real well) to go to one battery and the other, to the other battery. If they do that, it will not be too very bad, we will hardly know we have been changed. Capt. Anglin, I believe will no longer be O.C. of a battery but Capt. in the 53rd. It is said, the Left Section (I am in C sub and left Sec.) will go to 53rd but I don't know. The 53rd are practically all from Toronto, some of them being Varsity men. I understand there won't be such a thing as a brigade but a bunch of batteries will be called a group. I believe, there is still to be two or three - four gun 18 pdr. batteries which will form a corps of artillery supposed to be for coming up quickly to a position to assist or relieve the larger batteries. I suppose, in my next letter, I will have a new address for you - in the meantime, of course, the other will always reach me - the number (304638) is important. The other brigades are being treated the same way - I believe, the 16th Bde is being completely broken up. I think in each, it is the leading Battery that is split up - the one with smaller number.

No more word of when we go to France - it won't be till middle of Feb. anyway I should thing as these new batteries will have to be organized. I think you have pronunciation of Godalming right - Gðd-äl ming - accent on first syllable and a as in all.

Am enclosing two more postcards of Stonehenge also the Xmas card received from Everett Latimer. Lots of love to all,

Yours sincerely,

Original Scans

Original Scans