1 Troop A Squadron,
23 Feb 1900
I received your letter last night, & was surprised to hear that you felt our leaving so much. Of course it is quite natural that you should be so, but I thought that you would have been glad at the same time. I don't think that you could have felt very proud of the family if, out of 8 grown sons, you could not send a representative to the front when your country needs them. I am not in the least sorry at having joined, in fact, I am only sorry I did not get away before. All I hope is that we get there in time to have a finger in the pie. There is one thing, dear mother, if we do get there, & get snowed under, I hope it will be as a soldier should fall, with his face to the front. I heard yesterday, whether it is true or not I don't know, that A Squadron goes to Halifax on the 28th.
Charlie and I will try to get leave some afternoon & get photographed in uniform, then you will have something to remember us by. The people were all very good to us on leaving. Stan gave us each a substantial cash present, & a pipe & tobacco; Jim, a pocket compass with our names engraved on the case; Eva, a housewife; Pater a matchbox with names engraved & Charlie has just received a set of field glasses from Harold Smith.
I will have to go to drill now, but will write some more when I come in?Have just got in from drill. I must give you a page or two describing the life, so you will know how we are getting on.
We started from Winnipeg on Monday the 12th & landed here on Thursday morning at 9 o'clock. We marched up to the exhibition grounds, where barracks had been prepared for us. We are very comfortable in our quarters. Everything is done in strict military style; the order of the day is as follows:
Dress for stables 6.15
Dress for parade 8.45
Parade 9.00 to 11.00
Parade for dinner 1.00
Parade for drill 2.00 to 4.00
Roll call 9.30
Lights out 10.15
You see we have quite a day of it, yet we have quite a bit of spare time & nothing to do after supper.
I must now give you a list of the kit we have got:
2 khaki tunics, 2 pair khaki riding pants, 2 serge tunics, 2 pair riding pants, 1 pair long walking pants, 2 suits underwear, 3 grey overshirts, 3 pair socks, 2 handkerchiefs, 1 razor, 6 brushes, 2 chest protectors, 1 [?] , 1 housewife, 1 holdall, 1 sweater, 1 pr braces, 1 pr riding boots, 1 pr short boots, 1 pr slippers, 1 cowboy hat, 1 forage cap, 1 riding overcoat, 2 towels, soap, knife, fork & spoon, 1 button cleaner, in fact, about everything you could mention necessary for the life we will lead. When you write, & be sure & write as soon as possible, write to the above address & it will be sure to find me whether we are here, or on our road. I have not received the watch yet, but will likely get it soon. I will always wear it as a keepsake.
So goodbye for the present, dearest Mother
Your affectionate son,