No. 436610 12th Bragade, M.G.Coy.
July 12th 1916
Dear Aunt Becca,-
I received your letter some two or three weeks ago, and was glad to hear from you, and also a few lines from Uncle Chriss. We have been moving around some since writing that other letter. First we went down to the shooting ranges at another camp called Lonmoor and we were there about ten days gong through a course of shooting with the rifle on the ranges and the 51st Battn. made the best score of any Battn. that had been shooting on that range. When we came back to camp we found that about half of the machine gun section had been transferred over to the 12th Brigade Machine Gun Company, which is a company of about one hundred and fifty men and officers, and we go with the 12th Brigade as machine gun men for about four battalions which makes a brigade.
We moved down to our new quarters the same afternoon that we came back from the ranges, and after we were there about two days we got our first leave of about seven days, or from Saturday morning until the next Friday night. Albert had to go on his pass about three days before Sam and I could get away, but we took the train for London and reached there about on o'clock in the afternoon. Then we found a soldier's club and had our dinner, after which we took a bus for Hackney where Albert's folks live. It was about half an hours ride on a motor bus to where we were going, but after asking once or twice we found the street and then the number which we wanted. Albert was home and he made us known to his people and then of course we had to have a cup of tea and something to eat. His folks are like most all English people, full of life and fun and we were soon quite at home there.
On Sunday morning we all went down to the Jewish market street called "Petticoat Lane". I guess you have heard of it before. The street is lined up on both sides with stands and they sell about everything under the sun. Then in the afternoon Albert's sister's husband who works in London Water Works took us all through the pumping stations and I see some mighty fine large engines there.
Then on Monday morning Albert took us through the Zoological Gardens where they have about every bird and animal that lives on the earth. After that we went out, had our dinner and then we had a look through Madame Tussards Wax Works where in the style or fashion which was used in their time. They also had many of the Royal Family for quite a way back and it is wonderful how lifelike and natural they are.
The other four or five days we just put in the time looking around through the city in different parts. It would take a whole writing pad to name half of the places so I will only give the most important ones, such as, London Bridge, the Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, Bank of England, Westminster Abby, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Victoria Park, Feinsberg Park, The Strand, which is the main street in London, we also had a ride in the underground railway. One day we went around with Mr. Mills through different parts of the city with his team and he pointed out lots of places such as where bombs had dropped form Zeps. etc. It would take about three months to see all through the place, and it don't make any difference which way you turn the girls are as thick as mosquitoes and quite as affectionate.
About two days before we had to come back to camp we heard that the 51st had all been called in, and Albert's time was up then so he went back early next morning. Sam and I had been transferred and we didn't get a telegram so we stayed until our time was, and when we came back on Friday night we found that about 800 of the 51st had gone to the front, and Albert had gone with them. They went right into the firing line from here, and some of them was killed within three or four days of leaving here. I have heard from Albert two or three times, and he has been transferred into the 14th Battn. He says it is quite war-like over there and not to be in a hurry to get over.
About two weeks ago the 4th Division which is the 10th, 11th, and 12th Brigades, and 1 Brigade of artillery were inspected by King George and General French. There was about 25,000 of us in all and it was quite a sight, as we all formed up in a large field and marched past the King.
Sam and I had a weekend pass last Sunday and went into London again. It is quite an interesting little town but, but I don't think that I would care to live there very long. Our drill hours are a little longer over here, but our work is more interesting and not so tiresome. We have just got a new kind of machine gun in and it will take a little time to learn that. I have heard from quite a lot of the folks out there and they all say that they have had a lot of rain this spring. The weather here has been pretty good, until this last three weeks it has been rather dull and cold.
Well I think I have said enough for this time and will write again soon. We are quite well and I hope you are the same. I received some papers the other day, but don't know who sent them unless it was Uncle Chriss. I think of you all quite often and hope to be back there again in the near future if the Lord is willing. Don't forget my address. Well good bye and best love.
Your affectionate Nephew,