June 14th 1917
My Dear Father & Mother:
Well we are out on our holiday now, - that is a kind of Bivouac but we are realy out here to graze the animals as we have them turned loose in the "Park" of Lord Leconfield's Estate - we are also living in the "Park" which is an immense tract of the best of land surrounded by a stone wall 12ft. high, 18 in. thick & 18 m. long!! That is just his Park mind or "deer forest" if you like to call it that, as he has about 300 head of deer running it - they are pretty tame. Now in the Park he has his house - very like the Empress Hotel - stables to household grounds - while outside it are his tenants who take up nearly all of Sussex. The park has lovely grass all year, & a couple of artificial lakes where we swim & all over it - fairly thick - are immence big Oak trees hundreds of years old. There are large gates with a Lodge - where the Lodge keeper & wife stay & look after the gate - about every three miles around the wall; well we (the whole P.A.C.) have guards on all there gates to keep the troops in during the day & also all Automobiles (even the King's) bicycles, dogs & fiddlers out. Well I am on one of the gates now (11 A.M.) & I come off tomorrow morning at 3 A.M. We are having a fine time of it - all we do is 2 hrs. gass drill every morning & perhaps an hour or so on our harness to keep it in condition & then we are off all afternoon to swim or sleep & Town leave (to Petworth) is given from 5 to 10 every night.
I bunch of us boys went to social given in the curch for us where we had lots of eats & smokes last night. George Peters (old 3rd Sec. he came down from the Yukon to Enlist) "picked up" a couple dandy looking girls & excorted them home 3 ½ miles. You us Canadians are a bad lot over here as it is a shame the way we make these country girls think we are in love with them. We always start to make violent flirtations with them right away - they nearly all fall to it. But of course we are always working for a home as we call it - some place where we can go for the evening - well Peter & I were successful last night as we have an invite for tomorrow night.
I received two letters from you yesterday one was written on May 12 while Papa was in Lilloet. That Palmer I told you of had two gold stripes on his left cuff which means that he was wounded twice - he was in France sixteen months - so he was in France before I joined the army. That was a nice picture you sent me of the house, thank John very much.- I notice that Papa had a supply of "Bad (?)" out & piled.
Am Glad to hear that you have got your crops in & only hope that they will prove a success. I see you are trying to breed Nell again - well I am sorry to say that I do not think she will catch as I will bet 50 to 1 that she is barren - because her (?) are showing & another reason is she is almost too old now to start breeding - but keep it up she may catch. If I were you I would have put her to a blood horse though.
Palmer & Cook are still with us, Cook is turning out a pretty good head & the boys like him. Palmer is hated. Well darned if I can see why you should be in a box about my address - If I told you I was in the 5th C.D.A.C. I should think it would be quite natural to send my mail there - why would you want to send it to the Div? - I am now in the 5th Can. Div. Am. Col. & in future that will be my address.
I can see I will not get much mail for a while now & that is where (France) a lot of it is going now. It is quite natural for a postal (?), if a letter comes addressed 4th D.A.C. Army Post Office to send it to France as the 4 D.A.C. is over there - would you blame him - of course when it gets there & there is no man there by my name it is sent to A.P.O. & they trace me by the number - so the letter is not realy lost, but is greatly delaid.
You a solder or a any unit of troops in the army ((?)) are the worst thieves going Now I bet there is more horse steeling goes on in the Art. at Witley camp than ever went on in B.C. for the last ten years. You see if a horse gets away from a 50th Batt. stable at night & the picquet does not know it - he will be picked up by another outfit & disguised. (clipped) If he is a good animal they keep him & turn loose a bum one so that if a staff Officer comes round to count horses they will have the right nos. Now the day before we left Witley Camp (las Wednesday) the 134 Highlanders from Toronto were dipping mules in the bath at the end of our lines. Well one great big dandy looking animal got away from them & came racing up our lines - Ward & I drove him into B. sub where there was an exact mate for him but our own mule did not a good team mate so we chased the him out of the back stable door & tied the new one up in the stall - of course the poor Infantry went after our old mule & that is the last we heard of him. But as luck would have it the new one is no D. good he broked the harness of seven times on the way out here. Next day I rode him with a great coat for a aft. on the saddle well he gave me ten m. of darn bad bucking & then when he found he was buffaloed he streched out & yelled & bellowed like blases but he has never bucked since - he is a pretty nervous yet but I ride him every day & I think he will turn out a first class mule.
Well it is time to eat so will close