c/o 1st Corps Field Survey Coy,
Royal Canadian Engineers,
C.A.S.F., Base P.O. Canada.
England, 25 Aug. 1940.
Your letter of 28 July arrived yesterday and of course made all the difference - I had not had one for nearly 2 weeks. There should be another one too soon. Also your package of 600 cigarettes finally arrived a couple of days ago. I am now well stocked with both cigarettes and tobacco - especially as Capt. Bowden sent along 5 plugs of Dixie - which came yesterday too. It was good of the old skipper. Also had a letter from F.D. which was very welcome - He gives a confidential report on the Princess - and a favorable one. He seems to have taken a great shine for Mary E. I don't blame him.
Am glad you were able to have Ruth for a visit - Did she see Gertrude at Banff? No doubt you will be glad to have the car sold, and off your mind - Probably it was a bit of a luxury for us just now, and I know a home of your own is far more important to you than the car - if you got a clean sale of $475 cash for it I think you have done fine - although I can't help thinking the car is worth $550 - However you have done wisely and well. That should help out with your financing - I wish to goodness the army would get a move on, and get me gazetted - so that I could assign you a regular allowance - which would come direct to you from Ottawa and I think would be around 125.00 per month, as soon as I get my full Lieutenant rank. I can't get that till my transfer goes through. I gather what is taking so long is that the papers have to go back to Ottawa, and then here again - that alone would take 6 weeks to 2 months - plus the waiting on the desks of various officials. One of the first requirements of a soldier is patience.
Yesterday Lorne arrived at his unit, which is only a mile away from us - so we are practically neighbors - that is a bit of alright! We are anticipating spending a lot of our spare time together. To-day we went to see a large estate nearby which was open to the public for 1 shilling a piece in aid of some war fund. It was lovely - something after the style of Hatley Park - beautiful trees, and remarkably natural. We also found some excellent blackberries - which we took advantage of .
Last night I went along with Major Baird, Lieut. and Mrs. Gamble to have dinner with our Colonel (Elkington) at his home in Woking - We had a delicious dinner of sausage and chicken - the Col's wife is a most charming lady - I took a great fancy to her - very "English" of course, being English, She was a nurse in the last war, has travelled extensively - and she has a good sense of humour - She reminded me of my aunt Nell [?] - How often a man's wife is his greatest compliment! One should never really pass final judgement on any man until one has met the wife - You see how fortunate I am in this respect!
There isn't a great deal of news this week - things have been quiet and I have been doing odd jobs - and in spare time watching our printing section at work , which is an interesting and important phase of map production which the ordinary surveyor seldom has an opportunity to see or learn much about. I understand better now how they reproduce my Xmas cards.
With regard to assignments sent to you, since I have come the following amounts have been sent, on these date: -
7th June - Â£18-0-0
9th July - 10-0-0
7th August - 18-0-0
These credits should reach Victoria about 3 weeks after the dates sent from here, and the rate of exchange is about $4.41 I think. On the 7th Sept they will send you another Â£18-0-0. Eventually, when my transfer is through - you will get more, and direct from Ottawa. I can get along nicely just now on what I hold back here, unless something unexpected turns up, and in that case I can always raise what I need and repay it later. I have no outstanding debts here at all, and so far have a few pounds in the bank.
I was into London one afternoon last week again on business - but had to return here the same evening. We had a real meal in there - waffles maple syrup and whipped cream! Our army food is good, and lots of it - I have never eaten so much in my life (except when I was doing heavy work on the survey) and I am afraid I am gaining too much weight.
Lieut. Sontar (the grand daddy) has just tossed me a chocolate bar - more auvis du poir! I have taken a great fancy to Sontar, he is a great little fellow. He is in charge of the printing section and hes been very good about showing me the mysteries of his trade.
Your birthday will have passed by the time you get this - I hope it was a happy one dear! It will be a Sunday - so you will be with Mary - and we can pretend that I am there too.
Heaps of love to my 2 best girls -
As ever -