Dec 12th, 1917
My Dear Mother:-
Now that we are settled I will write you a few more lines to let you know how we are settled. Tomorrow, I think, we will go over to the Machine Gun Corps. Of our twenty men, twelve who were not absolutely fit were kept in the Reserve Cyclists & the rest of us transferred. Both Reid and I were fortunate. I am glad we are getting into that branch of service. The Cyclists have practically nothing to do and many of them have been in England for nearly two years. It means we will have a short stay here for Machine Gunners are much needed at the front and the course is only of ten weeks duration. The country here is quite hilly and the scenery quite interesting. Seaford is only a small town and Brighton is the nearest city. Our huts are quite comfortable and we have enjoyed ourselves since coming. We are in quarantine and not allowed to go very far but there is lots of entertainment. We have a "500" league, play football and in the evening have concerts. Everybody must help, one night I gave a poem about our platoon and last night a reading from Service. Tonight we are to visit the Calgary platoon. Our meals are good, much better than in Canada but we miss chocolate bars etc.
Our platoon was badly split up, all the young fellows under 20 were turned down, the minister was left, he was too old. Muirhead, a Regina boy, and one of the best fellows in the platoon was turned back on account of flat feet.
It seems hard to realize that we're in Eng. & so near to the real war zone. We often see aeroplanes going overhead & this afternoon a big dirigible balloon passed just over us. It was quite a queer-looking contraption.
I hope we are given leave to visit London and see the sights. It is only about sixty miles away and the fare is about six shillings. English money is rather confusing at first. I am assigning one-half [of] my pay to you and you should start receiving cheques in about a month. The amount assigned will be $15 per month. I would like you to send $1 to the Johnson Photo Studio for a group picture of the 3rd Div. Cycle Platoon.
The days here are short and the sun seems so far south. In the distance we can see Seaford Bay and the chalk cliffs. All around the camp are big residences, mostly summer homes. In the camp are several Y.M.C.A. huts, Soldier Clubs etc. which will doubtless help us pass our spare time.
I hope you are all well at home. Write to me soon and if you send parcels, send cigarettes & chocolate bars. Remember me to my friends & tell anyone to write for letters are real welcome. Best Xmas wishes.