Aldershot Camp N.S.
Sept. 10. 1916
Your letter received o.k. but my rank isn't quite as high as you address me. I'll explain. The sergeants and corporals all have to take their turn as company orderly sergeant. It is a weekly duty, and when I wrote you I was acting C.O.S. There are enough sergeants and corporals in the coy. to keep a fellow from being on more than once in two months. It would take too long to tell you the duties, but the C.O.S. details the men for guards and working parties and is a mouth piece for the battalion sergeant major in that he gives out orders etc. to the company. So corporal is my rank still and is likely to be so for some time. The last time I was home I missed a train coming back and was absent over night. The commanding officer admonished me and stopped two days pay. This makes an entry on my conduct sheet and queers any chance of promotion for a month or two anyway.
You asked about the rate of pay in the Canadian army. I don't know what home service men get but in the overseas service a private gets $1.10 per day, a corporal $1.20, a sergeant $1.50 and a company sergeant-major $1.85. It isn't all clear money though as after being supplied with a full kit we have to keep it up ourselves. That is with the exception of uniforms and boots. I got a new uniform about two weeks ago which is only the second one in nearly eleven months. Since coming here we have done most of our drilling in canvas clothes which saves the uniform a little.
The 97th Americans are still here, but so many of them went over the hill (deserted) that the 212th from the west and the 237th which was mobilized in Digby were brought here, and I understand that it is the intention of the militia dept. to make one full battalion of the three, and retain the original number of the 97th. They are no longer called the American legion, being rated now as the 97th overseas battalion C.E.F. (Canadian Expeditionary Force). All the men of the 97th and others are American citizens although a large percentage of them were formerly Canadians.
If you came here I don't think any objection would be made to you taking snaps of the camp. Lots of boys have their cameras here and there is a photographer here who takes lots of pictures of the different battalions drilling.
Howard Graham isn't with us now. He was transferred to the 185th batt'n and is Coy. Quarter Master sergeant with them. He was married recently and an account of it is in the Highlander so I'll send you one. Thanks for the illustrated papers.
Lillian was home nearly all summer. She went back to Halifax the first of this month. I was there last Sunday, and on Wednesday, she and my Uncle and Aunt left for Boston. They expect to be away all this month.
Edna Irish was home for a couple of weeks but has gone back again I think.
Colonel Borden who was our commanding officer when the 85th was organized and who has been in command of the brigade is going overseas to get some experience before we go. The Highlander will tell you about him.
I haven't anything more to tell you about the camp except that it is devilish cold here in the mornings at reveille. There wasn't any news worth passing on to you in the last letter I had from home. Everything goes along in the same old way.
As Mr. Strople says when he is holding a service in the church, here endeth the lesson.
Reg Gass (Corporal)