Six days at sea
Well I guess it is about time I was getting a letter started to mail as soon as we land if we ever get there on this slow boat. We have been on the water for six days now and have at least 3 more to go. We are on the Southland. One of the old Belgium tramp steamers converted into a troop ship and believe me some ship it is. They have us stowed away all over her. Some of the Officers N.C.O's etc have dandy quarters in the regular passenger part of the boat but the majority of us (portions whited out) the (portions whited out) There are (portions whited out) I have been sick every since I came on board and expect to be until I've get off. We eat or are supposed to eat right in the allyways beside our beds (portions whited out) & (portions whited out) Never mind three days more and we should be in England. Oh yes another thing they absolutely hold us up for everything we buy for they know we can't eat the grub and have to live. I just got 2 oranges tonight for the small sum of 50 cts. Things are not that dear in Canada and are supposed to be cheaper in the old Country so I can't see why they should hold us up so between the two. Of course the Officials get all that stuff at their mess free gratis so they make no kick.
Well I guess that is enought kicking for this time so I'll get down to bus. I wrote to you in Halifax but did not get it mailed. I will be mailing it at Liverpool along with this one. We were very fortunate as regards sailing. We got into Halifax about 10 a.m. and went aboard ship at 4 p.m. on Nov 1st. The last man had hardly stepped onto the ship when away we went and have not stopped since. There are four transports and one cruiser so far and we expect a few destroyers to meet us tomorrow. We were the last ship loaded and have led the group all the way so far but they keep within a mile of each other all the time. I never thought the sea was so dangerous until I got on my way and see the care with which we travel. Everyone wears a life belt continually. We have fire drill every day and practice at getting away with the life boats. No lights are allowed on deck at night not even a cigarette so you can see how careful they are and Then they pack us in down in the hold with two flights of stairs between us the and lower deck, A slim chance of getting out in case of accident fancy two Battalions on a steamer built to carry 750 passengers. The remainder is cargo and cargo we are right enough. Believe me there is just one more sea voyage for mine and that is back to Canada and when I get my feet on Canadian soil again they won't leave it again for a while. Not even for a war. (portion whited out) However as the returned soldiers say that this is the worst part of it and that this is worse than most ships. I hope for the sake of others that they are right.
Well Mumay I guess I'll have to go down to my hole to bed. I will write more before I land if I can sit up to do it and if they are gracious enough to let me in here in the second class dinning room again. Good night and sweet dreams.
Well another day has passed on the ocean and no sign of land yet. Also my head is still aching. We expect to see Ireland tomorrow night and liverpool the next. Fancy 9 or 10 days to cross the Atlantic in these modern times. However it is safety first for we leave the regular route to avoid subs.
They had sports on the boat today among which was a mile run with the pack on. Our Platoon called on yours truly to represent them. I supppose it was on account of strength and wind from foot ball. Of course being sick I had to turn it down. Very much to my sorrow of course.
Oh say I forgot to tell you that Dr. Cambell looked me up at the dock at H. Dr. Dan had written and told him that we were coming. Of course I could not get away but I had quite a chat with him in the line going in. He said his folks were just outside the dock and tried to get me away for a short while. He being a Major in the Home defense corps at Halifax almost succeeded. The staff officer in charge told me to unload my pack and come back to the gang way but They pulled out as soon as the last man was on so I did not see him after. I think I will write and thank him for looking me up and if I am very nice he might get me a commission (I don't think). Well mither good night.
to be continued
Well another day has slipped away and we are still above the
water but greater care is being taken all the time. They have stationed
the machine guns from each batt on the decks in readiness for any moves that may be made. At noon today the ships all started to follow a zig zag course making it more difficult to hit them with torpedoes. Just at dusk they say two destroyers came to meet us but we haven't seen them yet for they carry no light and it is a bit foggy.
We are now approaching the coast of Ireland and although it is dark and foggy there is a large crowd on deck watching for the lights. Oh! I say the Col., is getting strickt too. They caught a guy smoking on deck the other night and he soaked him 14 days C.B. and made him help wait on table till we get through. Am going to quit now and play 500 for a while. Good night.
Well we have over two weeks in now since we left camp and are at last on the home stretch, "that is away from home." We expect to land at Liverpool tonight sometime and take train for London in the morning.
Last night about 10 oclock a yell went up that lights were seen to the right front there was a rush for the deck and a few minutes later four or five destroyers came gliding up and took up there places beside the different transports. We went back to bed and when we woke this morning we were in a dense fog. When the fog lifted we were alone except for one lonely destroyer which keeps running around us at a radius of about 200 yds. All the other boats had gone on full speed ahead for port under escort of a destroyer. Our old tub being the slowest of the lot was left behind. Gee everyone is running up on deck and yelling land but this land is no good to me. Even though I am glad to get here. I feel much better today and yesterday afternoon.
Well Mither this is quite a letter and as we are practically into port I wont have a swim this trip. So there will not be anything more to write so I'll wind up and write again from the camp wherever it is to be.
"Love to all," from the old side of the Ocean and plenty for yourself.
Yours Lovingly Rae
Am sending a few Canadian stamps which are no good to me. Rae.