c/o Chief Postal Censor,
LONDON, S.W. 1
14th July 1940
Your letter of 15th June arrived, or rather reached me day before yesterday - and was certainly welcome. I think soon I shall be able to give you a more direct address, which may save a few days at this end.
Last Monday word came through ordering me to report to the 1st Survey Company of the Royal Canadian Engineers - and I have been here with the Canadian Company for several days. I am not yet transferred to the Canadian Army, being still on the strength of the Imperial R.E.`s `temporarily attached` to the Canadian Unit. This means that my transfer has not gone through yet, but it looks as though it is in process - and in the meantime I am able to get settled down into my work with the Canadians. The way things have turned out I will be much better off in all respects with the Canadians, because strangely enough it has developed that they are doing some work to which my qualifications are particularly suited - and I don`t think the Imperials have any special jobs of that nature - the way things have gone. I may have to wait for the actual transfer till there is a staff vacancy in the Canadian set up - but I sure hope it goes through soon. As a lieutenant in the Canadian Engineers my pay will be $150.00 + $45.00 + $12.00 per month - The 45.00 being marriage allowance, and the 12.00 being for Mary. Further, I would get paid in Canadian funds, except what I use here. Messing costs are quite a little higher with the Canadians than with the British - but even so if they put my transfer through - We shall be very much better off than at present, financially - so here`s hoping!
The Canadian Company to which I am attached are in the process of moving to another part of the country. So things are rather unsettled for a few days - and I am not sure yet whether I shall be going with them to their new camp or whether I shall be left here to carry on the work I have started - Anyway I guess everything will sort itself out in due course. It has been rather wise to get into a Canadian atmosphere again, there are only 7 officers in this unit - two of which went to school with me in Toronto - and [?] all the others I have many mutual acquaintances - so that it is very congenial. They are an exceptionally fine bunch of men, as of course field engineers usually are. One of the officers, Sam Gamble of the Geological Survey, Ottawa got married here a couple of months ago - his bride came over from Canada just before we did - They are a very nice couple - and I spent the evening last night at their home. It was a nice change to get away from barracks into a home for an evening. Sam Gamble has done a lot of geological survey in Northern British Columbia - so we had some good from talking about Gods Country! They are very interested in you & Mary & hope to meet you someday!
In a way I was rather sorry to leave my British friends in the Royal Engineers - I spent over two very happy & interesting months with them, and made many [?] enjoyable acquaintances - and I have the greatest respect for them. I really think they were sorry to see me go too - the O.C. was very nice in bidding me farewell - and gave me his genuine good wishes. It was a most valuable experience with them - as far as training went too.
Although it is unwise to count one chicks before they are hatched, if and when my transfer goes through, I will be able to send you considerable more each month then you are getting now, and in view of that I think you should hang onto the car - as I think we should then be able to afford to keep it - and as you say its value is increasing, and if you should want to live out at 10 mile point you would find it indispensible. Especially if you continue to keep your job, you need & deserve all the convenience and pleasure which the car will give you. Anyway I would not sell it till we know definitely what they are going to do with me. I will let you know as soon as anything definite is indicated - just now it seems to be in a stage of transition. The ways of the Army, like those of the Lord, surpasseth understanding - and one must be patient - and wait developments - hoping for the best.
Tuesday is Mary's birthday - I will be with you in imagination to help you celebrate. She must be cute now. Soon she will be running around on her own little legs - and starting to talk. It is too bad we can't enjoy her at this stage together - but I congratulate myself a dozen times a day that you & she are far away from the anxiety that must prevail among all the parents in this part of the world. I wish they could send every child from here to America - what a wonderful thing it would mean in promoting a deeper understanding and affection between English speaking people on this & the other side of the Atlantic. Each little child would be an ambassador in embryo so to speak.
It is interesting to dream how this war is causing all people who cherish democracy to forget their individual differences - and bond closer together to defend & preserve their common ideals - in other words the common menace is having the effect of strengthening & [?] the cause of democratic peoples all over the world, rather. If we can maintain our stand - and hold off the menace & even crush it, we must try to maintain & preserve the benefits of this experience - so that we shall have a very real gain to show for the terrible cost in lives - and material. I think the American nation and the British peoples realize as never before how much they depend upon each other, and that they are really part of a much greater thing than just individual nations - they are a part of world democracy & liberty - and culture which is a much bigger & more important thing than any of its individual component nations.
Southampton is a very lonely city - and I think one of the cleanest and most well run I have seen in this country. It has a tremendous proportion of area occupied by lovely parks - and most streets and private gardens are full of grand large trees. The mountain ash are in fruit now, and the red berries make a gay splash of colour. They have a fine new modern civic centre, with public library & an art gallery included in the main block. I stepped in to see the art gallery - and luckily found a special showing of colored of the modern Chinese artist Ching Yee. Many of these were done, apparently in the country during the severe winter - Scenes of various parts of London and other English scenes under snow - some good animal groups - all done in the characteristic Chinese style - but modern English subjects - the effect most interesting and pleasing. A few among them were caricatures showing a subtle sense of humour. One or two I should love to have for our home - but they cost from 10 to 15 pounds a piece - so I refrained. I wish I had a reserve fund of about $2000.00 just to buy things - not all at once, but whenever I see something like one of those pictures which I would love to have for our home.
I was interested to know that Anthony Pollard is coming home for a while - Give him my very best regards - and tell him that Capt. Harris, R.E. was in our mess for several weeks - Tell Miss Fidlar I hope Victoria is not going to lose her [?] influence - If I get transferred, you may be in a better way to arrange a nice place to live during the winter. I have been wondering how the Wadley-Smiths have been getting along with their house next to our lot on 10-mile point, and if it is going to affect our outlook & surroundings too much. I shall be interested to know what has happened to Lorne Swannell and say hello to Shelley for me. I guess you are pretty busy - and don't have much free time - even at nights. I hope you are finding the work at the office more interesting as time goes on, and that you are getting the hang of things & confidence.
All my love dear to you & Mary - and heres hoping we can get our
affairs settled & straightened out soon!
Best regards to the Garmans.