Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: October 8th 1916
Bill Calder

No 338909 Dr. W. G. Calder
3rd. Sec 4th. Div Am. Col.
C.F.A. - C.E.F.

Witley Camp

Surrey Eng.

Sunday Oct 8th

My Dear Mamma:

I just got your letter written in Quesnel on Sept 10th this morning, it had been to France I guess. Your letter written at Kersley on the 14th got here the day before yesterday along with one you wrote at 141 on Sept. 7th.

Am glad to hear that you had fairly good roads & that the old Ford is working good, I would give anything to have been up there with you now instead of working around here in damp clothes & blankets. We are having nasty weather here & it gets very muddy with a very little rain. I will send Mrs. Murphy my address when I am good & ready at present I have to many letters to write - What did Mrs. Murphy have to say about Capt. Palmer? So Mrs. Hargraves is English I have less use for them now that ever. One pup I was talking to in London had the audacity to ask me "what we ate out there and if we liked the good things we get here". Well I looked at him & said "You damn fool you have not started to live here in England yet" walked off. You know Mamma you see some awful things in London & what got me most was women drinking at the Bar without hiding it at all. Why Women & their daughters mind you go into a bar after or before a theater & drink. The Englishmen we have here in the Col. are always throwing it up to us Canadians that we are not enlisting in Canada & that the Canadian Contingents are only about 10% Canadian born - Why there is something for them to look forward to in getting to England while us poor devils are in a foreign country without any friends & 6000 m. from home among a bunch of thieves who are allways trying for our money - I wonder how many of them would volunteer to come & fight for Canada if we were in trouble. The Australians hate them as bad as the Germans & do you know Mamma that they dare not mix Australians & English troops in the trenches. They did that in Egypt (in camp) once & it took two Bats. to separate them. Several New. Z. told me that in London who were both in Egypt & in France (they were in English hospitals wounded). The natural English axcent over here is awful sometimes we cannot understand them. I very seldom dream here but when I do it is usually the around the fireplace at home telling yarns after the war. It is 4 P.M. now & I suppose you are having some nice breakfast now in front of the fire. The grub here is awful I can hardly eat it & there is not enough we have to buy nearly all our grub & they certainly do make us pay for it. We have darn little of our $15 at the end of the month it all goes in tobacco & grub tobacco costs more here than in Canada. I went into a tobacco shop in London kept by a Jew & bought a tin of tobacco & gave him a 1 lb. note the tobacco cost 8 d. & he only gave me me 17 shillings & 4d. back while I should have had 19/4d. I noticed this at the door & went back & threatened to knock H- out of him he appoligized very quickly & said it was his mistake. You they do their darndest to do us all the time. Matches cost us 1 d. for a very small box - smaller that E. B. Eddy's little ones!

I had a very nice time with Robert in London & he showed me the ropes of the place pretty good & took me to a lot of theaters & fancy resteraunts. He is just the same as ever & a continual tease. He took my picture a couple of times. There was a wounded captain up to the house while I was there & he said the D.A.C. is the best job in the army & almost the best fed job also.

I got the photos of the horse & they are fine I would like a couple more of the (?) being shod. Do you remember that one of me on King bareback. (?) took it I would like a couple of those if you can find them & please do not forget now.

Mamma would you mind sending me a heavey sweater with a big neck (like my school sweater) I do not want a sweater coat just a plain heavy grey (preferably/winter with a big neck & a suit of heavey underwear not fancy (?) just good heavey (?). You see I have only two suits of heavey underwear (army issue) & when I am wearing one the other suit is in the wash & I have no change when I get wet. I was pricing them here but it is rotten (?) & costs more than in Canada I am sure. The only kind of a sweater you can get here have low necks like the old one on my school sweater & they are not worth a hoop. A pr. of buckskin gloves would be very acceptable to get the biggest ones you can get. But remember about that underwear just good heavey (?).

I have just had supper consisting of two slices of bread (a couple of pieces like your round loves at home) some plum jam & a cup of tea - that is all we get & I will have to go & get a couple of sausages in an hr. or so which cost 11 d. & a cup of rotten tea 1 d. = 1 s. I am getting on to the Eng. money pretty good now; but there must be something wrong with people who stay with a foolish d- currency that they have here it is absolutely ridiculous.

I got a nice long letter from Helen Blyth the day before yesterday giving me a lot of Ottawa news & ect. She was a very nice girl & very pretty works in the civil service there. She supports a young sister going to school there - her people are dead & her only brother at the front in the Can. Artillery.

Well Mamma I guess I will close & drop a line to Robert. Hope you are all well, with love & kisses.

from Bill

P.S. in addressing my letters

is 4th Divisional Am. Col
instead of 4th Division Am. Col.

(?) is the post office to know what Am. Col. I am in? there are hundreds of them in France.

Original Scans

Original Scans