[letterhead: Canadian Military School Shorncliffe Kent]
May 17, 1916
I expect by this time Father & Marjorie will have left for "Valhalla" - at least they will be there by the time this letter reaches you. I'M going to answer Marj's letter of April 29th in a day or so, but this is your letter in particular. It may reach you considerably ahead of your birthday, but I'm allowing for delays.
We left quarantine on Sunday, no new cases having developed, and are back in our old hut of the interior of which I am enclosing a print. The beds are pulled out & most of them occupied. In the daytime the front half slides under the back half, the three sections of the mattress - commonly known as biscuits, are piled on top, with the blankets folded on top of them. (I am sending also a passable print of an old ruined archway in Leicester, and a poor one of myself outside the hut. The film of which these are the sole results worth sending was practically ruined by poor development. The prints themselves are rotten work. Of course I shall take my future films elsewhere; but that does not save the spoiled ones.)
We started in on Monday on a machine-gun course. We learned how to take a Colt gun to pieces & put it together again; studied its ways of working, had drill with the gun, and this afternoon fired a few bursts on the miniature ranges. T-morrow we start on the Lewis gun, which is also used by the Canadian forces.
I have put in application for a week-end pass for Saturday & if it goes through will take a run up to Leicester for Sunday. Soldiers get a single fare return, so it will only cost about 14s. - half a week's pay. It will also give me a chance for a real bath, which would cost me 1 and 6 down town. The bathing facilities are the greatest drawback to comfort here. There are tubs, of course; but they are old and worn, and not inviting. However, we get on very well, in spite of it, with a cold "pour" - a basin of cold water dumped dowm our back - occasionally. I got on a scales last night in Folkstone and registered ten stone four. I am a bit suspicious of the scales; but at any rate I have not lost in weight the past month.
May 18th. "Last post" sounded last night before I had finished, and as that meant fifteen minutes to make my bed & get into it before "lights out", I had to stop.
I don't know that I have given you our daily schedule. Here it is, at present:
8.40 Fall in to march to the school
8.50 Fall in on the school parade
9.00-12.00 Lectures, etc.
1.40 Fall in outside
1.50 Fall in at school
2.00-4.00 Lectures, etc.
9.00 "First post" - everybody must be in barrack room unless "on pass"
9.30 "Last post"
9.45 "Lights out"
I shall be sending in a day or so a little booklet of sketches by a British officer - "Fragments form France" - for you to laugh over. My thoughts will be with you, and every thought will be a wish for many happy returns of June 7th.