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Date: June 22nd 1917
H.R. Porteous

I just thought I would tell you a little about our camp life in England. We detrained at a bleak looking station at the foot of a mountain and started down the road to where the huts are laid out in rows; there was a cold, penetrating wind blowing off the sea and as most of us were tired after spending a more or less sleepless night in congested cars in order to join our reserve battery, the prospect hardly looked alluring. We gathered up our kitbags and other paraphernalia and advanced on the ticket collector. A sergeant stood near a gate calling out instructions and giving orders, and in a few minutes we were formed up in two ranks; Sergeant-Majors. Sergeants Corporals, and Gunners, and we who had drilled our own squads were hidden to number and form fours just like rookies. We had ceased to be N.C.O's and were now all of a rank.

There was a short sharp interview with the officers, during which we were posted in huts, and then we were marched to the Q.M. stores where we were supplied with extra blankets. Finally we were sent to our huts, where each man chose a bed, gaped at his mattress and deposited his kit bay; on the floor, then we sat down and took stock of each other. We had quit the Cobourg Heavy Battery forever, separating us from each other and put in with a lot of men whom we had never seen before, and of whom we knew nothing whatever. I should sleep beside men whose names were unknown to me and of whose habits I was ignorant. The strange soldiers sitting around the hut in various attitudes were now my chums and so would continue to be for the duration of the course, so I set about getting to know as many of them as soon as I could. Soldiers are companionable fellows and in a short time the general comradeship of arms breaks down any reserve that may be left over from our civil lives. We still did not know each other's names, but the universal method of address 'The Chum' was good enough to begin with. At the end of a couple of days, we soon found out their names, and then I discovered the secret of the strength of Britain.
One night while we were grouped around talking and listening to the rain beat on the roof we began to talk of our homes, and during our talk I discovered that our hut contained men from all over Canada. There was one who had chucked up a farm in South America to hurry home and enlist as a gunner; there were Englishmen, Irish, and Scots. Of all the six Port Hope boys, only Brown and Kirkland are in the same hut, Bennet is in one, HAROLD McMAHON is in another, Norman in another, and I am still in another one, but we are all close together and by good luck more than anything else we are all in the Second Reserve Battery. I have met several of the Port Hope boys, Doc. ANDERSON, FRED LINGARD, JELLY HAGERMAN, BUSTY LEUTY, and GEORGE AUSTIN, also saw Col. SCOBELL on the lee's in Folkstone. Shorty BAKER, who used to be in the bank, is at Sangrate; he came over with the 216 Bantam Battalion of Toronto. The 235th are stationed at West Sandling, about three miles from our camp. I am going over to see them to-morrow night.