B Company 196 Bat. C.E.F. Regt.
S. Seaford England
Nov 19th, l916
Dear Mither & Dad
Well here I am again in the Y.M.C.A. writing letters. It is the one thing that seems anything like Canada except the weather yesterday for it snowed all day. We only were a short while on Parade for our officers very sensibly let us go to our huts where it was warm. After dinner it turned to a sort of a rain and snow mixed and most of us myself included went out and explored the town for a few hours. Went into a resta. and had supper which cost me about 60 cts or as they call it here 'Alf a crown. This is the country where everything is so cheap. I don't see it that way so far for most things are dearer than in Canada. Everything is very old fashioned and out of date. They have only a very few cash registers even in the largest shops in town of course you can hardly wonder at that for it would take a man with more than a human brain to figure out a machine to register all this coin they use here. It seems so funny sometimes when they ask you for a couple more penny's over half crown so as to make it possible to get a coin to make the change right.
I received your first letter "or I suppose it was the first" this morning. It was written on Oct 13th in reply to the P.C. I sent from Scarboro. I wrote one and mailed it after that before we sailed. Another letter I did not get mailed as I mailed two at Liverpool England, which you should get anytime now if they were mailed O.K. I have written to nearly everyone I know since I arrived here for there is nothing else to do: for we drill all day and at night everything is in darkness so there is nothing to see whatever . If I don't get some letters soon I will have run out of anything to do at all. There are no picture shows of any account and no pool rooms and even there canteens and candy shops are very poor so the only thing is to lay around and read which as you know bothers my head and eyes. However even the time slips away and we will have this war over before long and get back to Canada where there is a very different atmosphere to everything. I call the business places shops which is an English term by Jove? but I never thought the English very practical but in calling them shops they sure hit the mark. We would call them junk shops in Canada. There is barely room inside to turn around and such slow service I have never yet run across any place. I don't wonder at the traffic blockades you here them speak of over here for the streets are fully as wide as the lane at the back of the house over there and no side walks unless you would call the ledge in front of the shops a sidewalk. If they do then why don't they call the six inch firing step in a trench a side walk? Perhaps it will be better in London but I do not expect so for those who have been there say that you can rarely even find the same place twice as the streets are so blooming crooked. I expect to go there on leave next week and shall see for myself what it is like.
I heard last night that Lieut Cummings "who used to be with us but went in a draft of Officers from Camp Hughes just before harvest," has been killed in action in France. Also a Lieut Wells who used to drill us sometimes in Saskatoon but went in the 65th. I hear also that the 96th are partly in the trenches so if you here any word of any of the fellows don't take it for granted that I will hear of it here for Canadian news is very scarce and consequently precious over on this side. I have seen nothing of that Saskatoon star that Jim was going to send to me. I guess he must have forgotten about it.
The Y here is a fine big building and very much patronized by our bunch. I was at a bible class here on Wed. night and over half of those present were l96 boys. We had church parade here this morning and were adressed by our chaplain in real Canadian style.
Gee it is getting around near Xmas again though it does not seem like it to me for the weather is more like Sept. very mild and very wet. With cold raw winds at times from the sea. If I go to London next week and am not to nearly broke I will get some little things to send home. We got payed 3 pounds on thursday but that don't go far on a holiday so they say but they that say it may be better at spending than I am.
I do not know where the 203rd Batt. is stationed but the 212th is here that is the one Mrs. Covey's nephews are in. I am not sure of there name's so have not been able to locate them. For all I know they maybe at the Front for about half them are over there already.
Raymond Bell expects to go anytime now for he is on the reserve for a draft of the l00th to go this week and they are turning men down every day so he is apt to be called upon anytime.
They are not very hard up for men here for they say they have millions in reserve in France and they turn fellows down for almost anything here. They won't take anyone under 20 out of England. Everyone expects a big smash anytime and the Lloyds are betting 25 to 1 that it will be over by the end of June. So I have hopes of seeing Canada again before Xmas next year.
Say Jessie said she would get me Marjorie McNairs adress and I haven't seen it yet so just pinch her a bit and see if she is awake will you and if she is tell here I am waiting for it still. I owe Marjorie a letter since before harvest so don't forget.
I don't know if you remember him but I think Jessie will remember Bill McBride that used to be in Biggar. He used to go to school there one winter and was rather a wild cuss but he has joined a perpetual Khakai and is much quieter than he used to be. He is in the 142 from London, Ont. They were on the same boat coming over here and I ran across Bill the second day out. He told me to mention him when writing to Biggar. So Jessie can tell his friends where he is.
Well I guess I'll quit now and write another that is due so ta ta for now and Don't do any worrying about me for I can look out for No 1 all right and if anything unusual happens I will cable for Jim told me to cable him collect anything of importance.
Your Loving Son