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Date: January 23rd 1916

From: Kingston, Ont.
23 Jan. 1916

Dear Mother -

I have been getting along pretty well so far and like it alright. My appetite is excellent and the food we get is real good. They have a good cook in the Battery. The first few nights I didn't sleep very well, not being used to it, but now I sleep fine and am always plenty warm enough. All the work about the barracks is done by the fellows in the Battery. Every day, four men are selected to go on Guard at the Headquarters across from Chalmers Church and two for Nichol Hall. Also, two men have to go on what is called barrack fatigue at Nichol Hall. This is the easiest fatigue of them all as there is only a couple of rooms to sweep out. I have been on that twice since I joined - a week ago Tues. & last Wed. I was able to get most of my meals those days although the person on fatigue is not supposed to go away. There are 3 men on every day at the Headquarters and 5 men on for Kitchen fatigue. They have to help the cook, set the table, wash dishes & peel potatoes.

A week ago Friday, 30 of the fellows had to go on guard at the ammunition works. Other battalions & batteries have been guarding the place and this was the first time our battery had to go. The Battery dance was on Fri. night and there weren't much more than 30 fellows who weren't going to it, so practically all who didn't go to the dance had to go on guard. I had to go. We started at 7 o'clock, Friday morning and had to stay there till 9 o'clock, Sat. morning.

There is a guard house down there where we all stayed when not out on duty. It was kept good and warm but was pretty stuffy. In the day time, they kept six sentries around the works and at night, nine. In the daytime, we remained on duty 1 hr. and then could stay in guard house for two or three hrs. At night, we had two hrs. on and four hours off. I was on duty from 11 - 12 in the morning, from 4 - 5 in the afternoon, from 9 - 11 and 3 - 5 at night and from 8 - 9 next morning. A few were able to get a little sleep but I was awake the whole time. I, of course, missed all my classes on Fri. I got quite a bad cold that day which I still have.

That Sat. afternoon, Capt. Gill told us that his plans had been spoiled and that orders had come from the Militia Dept. that we might leave for England within a month. Our battery, now to be called the 46th (Queen's) Battery with 3 or 4 other batteries in the city, are to form the 9th Brigade. Capt. Gill had no idea we would have to leave before April and it had upset all his plans. But, you see, they can't train very well here as we can't get horses or guns. He said they needed 46 drivers and called for volunteers to go as drivers. These drivers get about the same training as gunners do and often man the guns when the gunners are killed. He got his 46 drivers in a little while. Mills Johnson volunteered as one and quite a few other students and men from elsewhere. Most of those that volunteered as drivers have just joined about Christmas time. You see, the Battery is over full and they thought they wouldn't get going with this bunch unless they were as drivers.

Capt. Gill thought the students shouldn't consider their classes at all in this matter. He thought that enlisting in it was the great thing and that getting one's year should not bother one much. He felt sure the senate at Queen's would make it right with them anyway. There are notices up in the Arts Building asking all those who are going overseas before the end of the term, either in the Battery or the Hospital Reinforcements, to hand in their names & list of classes to G.Y. Chown. He said that all those who wished to stay and try to get their year might hand in their names. I think only four or five did so. They need about 138 men altogether and I guess there must be over 170 in the Battery. He told us that the men who were to go overseas at once would be chosen in the order in which they enlisted. As I had been in only a week, I thought I would not be one. Even Greig who joined before Christmas thought he might not be one but he has learned that he will go alright. Everybody is very anxious to get going with the first bunch. Capt. Gill is trying to make it so that nearly everyone can go I guess. Last Mon., we were told that just about all the men needed for brigade headquarters (about 21) would be taken from our Battery. This will make it so that 20 more can go. He wanted men who could ride horses. They are taking up signalling work and other kind of work now. I didn't try to get on this headquarters as I didn't have any qualifications.

I have been feeling as though I would like to go with the first bunch. I thought for a time I ought to sign up for a signaller or something and make sure of going, because it looked as though nearly all would be going and if a dozen or so were left behind, they might be drafted into something else - maybe infantry which wouldn't be very nice. But, there seems to be more joining all the time and I heard that those who will be left behind will form the nucleus for a new battery (the 50th) and as it would probably be a Queen's battery too, that wouldn't be so bad. A list is to be posted up tomorrow morning of those going. I will let that list decide what I should do in the matter. If my name is not on it and I don't see how it can be, then I will have to stay and will be able to try and get my year, though I feel that that will almost be impossible, and that I would have about as good a chance of getting it if I went with the first bunch.

They will be leaving very soon, I think - I heard that it would be the 1st week in Feb. but you can't tell. It looks as tho it would be soon tho as about half of the battery were inoculated and vaccinated yesterday from five to seven. Rose, Greig and I all have it done. I thought there was no use putting it off. It seems to effect some different from others. It certainly looked very unpleasant. We were all lined up with our left shoulders bared and the doctor came around & painted it first with iodine. Then, he inoculated them. He had a hypodermic syringe filled with the toxin and jabbed it into their shoulders so that the needle was in nearly half an inch. I don't think he was as careful as he might have been but then he had a lot to do. It certainly looked bad. Some of the fellows turned white as a sheet before they got near the doctor and others, as soon as they were inoculated, turned white and many fainted away. I guess it bothered me less than it did most. I turned my head away when he went to stick it in my shoulder and hardly felt it at all. Nor it didn't bother me a single bit immediately afterwards at all. Over half the fellows in the room at the time were pretty white looking. It was worse seeing others getting it than getting it myself. He inoculated me just above the old vaccination mark and then the other doctor vaccinated me just below the other vaccination mark. It didn't hurt much. They don't usually inoculate & vaccinate at the same time as it is rather hard on a fellow but they must have been in a hurry. The other half will be inoculated in about 4 days and then we have to get inoculated in about 10 days. We were a pretty sick lot this morning. I could hardly get my clothes off to get to bed last night. I was quite feverish all night but slept well, and I am still feverish today and haven't eaten much. You know it is supposed to give a person a mild form of typhoid fever. We were allowed to sleep in this morning. I didn't get up till near dinner time and then could hardly get clothes on as it hurts quite a bit if I lift my arm or move it much. If I keep it still, I wouldn't know there was anything wrong with it. The vaccination may begin to trouble a little tomorrow. Rose has a rather weak heart and he turned pretty white when he was getting it. It also bothered Greig more than it did me altho he feels better now than I do. Perhaps having a cold makes me more feverish than I otherwise would be.

There is a notice on the bulletin board that those who were inoculated on Sat. must get their leave to go home by Tues. or they will not be able to get one at all. This is rushing things with a vengeance. I suppose they want them all back before 10 days are up. We are allowed 3 days at home.

Now, if my name is not on that list tomorrow, I wouldn't need to get the leave as I will be staying here, but if my name is on it and I am to go, it is absolutely necessary that I get it, and in that case I would be home the latter part of this week.

This is rather short notice. If I mail this letter tonight or early tomorrow morning I won't know yet whether I am coming, and I want to mail it right away so that you will get it tomorrow night. I will have to write again tomorrow. If I come, I suppose I will bring all my things - my trunk & suitcase.

Don't worry about me. I am all right. Best love to all.