December 3rd, 1916
Yours of the 16th just received. I was glad to hear from you and to get the snap. Thanks very much for it. You said something about sending another. If you have one to spare I would like to have it as I intend sending this one back to Canada.
This will likely be censored so I can't tell you anything about the camp that we are in, but it is a good one as they go over here, and is not so muddy as some of the others.
We sailed from Halifax on the 13th of last month on the Olympic and had a fine trip. There were about six thousand of us, so the old boat was pretty well crowded. She certainly is some ship and the first class staterooms were well fitted up. Of course we didn't use them, only the officers. The accommodation we had was good enough and the messing was much better than we had all summer.
We had a couple of days of rough weather but the rest of the trip was smooth enough for anyone. About all we did was physical drill and lifeboat drill once in a while. Quite a few of the boys were sea sick and I was below for two days but it was chiefly the effect of vaccination which I got just before we left camp that sickened me. We got in port in the evening and the next morning took the train for camp. We were nearly all day on the train and it was dark when we finally arrived. The trains over here seem funny to anyone who is accustomed to the ones in Canada. The cars are very small and are divided into compartments which hold eight or ten. The doors are in the side and there is no way of getting from one compartment to the next except when the darn affair is stopped.
The first two weeks we were here we had rain every day, but since then we have had a little fine weather. The climate is very damp and we feel the cold much more than in N.S. There was a light fall of snow about two weeks ago but it melted right off. Sometimes the ground is frozen in the mornings.
After we were here a couple of weeks we all had a six day trip to London. I was one of the last to go and I had a good time every minute. Three of us were together and I guess we were pretty well all over the city and saw most of the sights. Some of the buildings such as Westminster Abbey, the Tower and the houses of parliament are worth seeing. London is full of soldiers, men from the different camps, on leave, chaps on leave from the front beside a lot who are in the hospitals there. Beside the Canadians there were a lot of the Australian and New Zealand boys, and of course the Englishmen.
I've had only one letter from home so far but have had several from Lillian. A letter over here is worth about a dozen in Canada so don't put off writing too long. Whenever we hear the mail call blow we all look for letters but often get turned down.
This is a great place for beer. About every third building in the town is a "pub". When we arrived the boys were all dry and for a few days some of them hit it pretty hard. It will make a fellow pretty unsteady if he goes after it steady. But now the fellows are getting accustomed to the stuff and know how to handle it.
Another thing that is not scarce over here is women, especially in London. You can pick up a dozen on the Strand or Picadilly in the evening. Some of them are pretty decent but others, the majority too, are a good thing to steer clear of as some of our fellows found out when they were on pass.
I have found a good many fellows that I used to know on the other side and have a cousin in a N.B. batt'n in this camp, also another one in another camp not very far from here. I had a letter from Harold Strople a few days ago. He was wounded on the 17th Sept. in the thigh. He had an attack of pneumonia and also trench feet and was in hospital in France and was since moved to one over here. I hope to be able to see him before he goes back.
I can't seem to think of anything more although I suppose most anything would be interesting to you, but you know that writing is my weak point. All I can add to this is that I don't like this country at all and N.S. will look darn good when we get back. I'll be looking for a reply in about a month. Address as before. And if not too early with best wishes for a Merry Christmas.