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Date: December 29th 1914
Howard Curtis

Bulford Camp
Salisbury Plain
Dec. 29, 1914

Dear Sister,

I want to thank you all for sending me the Christmas cake. Believe me it sure was good - no cake ever tasted so good to me! Thanks for the other things. When we receive a parcel in our camp we share with everybody as far as it will go. My cake got a good name from one and all. Please thank Bertha and Maude for me and Aunt Tory.

My fortune changed a little last week. I was taken sick with a touch of pneumonia and I've been in the hospital for the last five days. Thank goodness I was able to get out to-day and come back to my hut. I was lucky not to be sick on Christmas Day because we did have a good time.

I told you about my visit to Warminster. I enjoyed the walk about Crockerton. They keep the shrubs trimmed around the pond. I had some long talks with Mr. Scott about old times. Although I didn't know anything about those days, he made it all sound very interesting. Most of our boys went to London on their Christmas pass but I can enjoy myself better in a smaller place. London is over-run with soldiers, especially Canadians. The Scotchmen are all going on leave to-morrow. They celebrate at the New Year while Englishmen set aside Christmas Day.

It still keeps raining here. I never thought it could rain so long. If they don't move us soon we will start to sprout and grow here forever. On the whole the Contingent is in pretty good spirits, but all of us are anxiously awaiting the day when we will cross the Channel to France. We hear many reports about the time we are to leave for the front. The other day an order came for us to be ready to leave in three hours. This turned out to be another wrong report and we were disappointed once more.

It's amusing to read about the war in the Canadian papers. They must be as good at making up stories in Canada as they are in England. We can't pay much attention to what is printed in the newspapers about the war. The papers only get a limited account of what is going on at the front.

We were all surprised to learn that the Germans are bombarding Scarborough and Hartlepool. They took a lot of innocent lives - mostly women and children. A great many older people died from shock. This seems to please the Kaiser. He will change his mind before we finish with him. The British airmen made a brave and clever raid on the German navy and airships. They are supposed to have done heavy damage. The German airmen made an attack on Dover last week. They say only a cabbage patch was spoiled.

Peterborough must have quite a Home Guard if it is eight hundred strong. We are doing a lot of rifle practice now. The Canadians are far ahead of Kitchener's men in marksmanship. No doubt we will make good when we get into the firing line. I am in good health fortunately, but there is no telling what is ahead of me. I trust I'll come through all right and be able to come back to dear old Canada again.

Uncle Albert must have been through quite an experience in trying to save young Pammett from drowning. It is too bad the two of them were not saved, but he was lucky to save the girl. It seems hard to believe that there is skating in Canada while we have nothing but deep mud here. I wouldn't mind having a good skate myself tonight, but I'll have to be contented with the mud for now.

I must close now. Give my love to all.

I remain as ever,
Your brother

P.S. I forgot to tell you about Christmas dinner. The officers gave us a fine bill of fare - roast turkey, boiled ham, plum pudding, mashed potatoes, mince pie and assorted fruit and ale. The band played while we dined. It was a lively time and everybody was happy. We surely enjoyed our first Christmas dinner in England. I wouldn't mind if Christmas came once a week. Turkey is a real treat after Irish stew and fat bacon.