De Aar Junction,
Dec. 5. '99
I suppose you will have commenced to think we had forgotten you, but such is not the case. We have not had very much time since we landed until to-day. We are camping in the mischief of a hot spot. The camp lies between a range of mountains and the sand is a foot deep. We had a big sand storm on Sunday. It was the heaviest they have had in ten years and it was a corker. You could not see the next tent from you.
There are about five thousand foot soldiers besides artillery and cavalry and there are guns mounted on all the hills around us. We expect to leave for the front at any time and when we do we shall be more than glad for we are all spoiling for a fight. I believe we are brigaded with the Black Watch and Seaforth Highlanders; at least this is what they say. Both of these regiments are at the front now. We are only about 140 miles from Kimberley and 40 miles from Modder River; so we are not very far from it. We have a lunch in the morning at 5.30 and then go out and drill for an hour and then come in and have breakfast. Then we have the day to ourselves until 5.30 p.m. and then drill for another hour. Every man has to be in camp before half past seven. Sherritt is down town this morning getting a tooth out. He has had a toothache ever since he has been here, so he made up his mind to have it out. All the rest are well. We have not had a chance to have that picture taken yet, but will have one taken the first chance we get together. Sergt. Rutherford has been transferred from our company to Montreal company. We were all sorry to lose him for he is a good fellow, but we see him as often as ever for he comes over to our tent every night. All the Toronto boys asked me to remember them to you whenever I wrote; they are a jolly lot of fellows. How did the inspection come off and are you planing basketball this year? Well, Billy, I think I will close, wishing you and all the boys a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Pte. D.A. Noble
Reg. No. 7373, C. Co.
R.C.R. South Africa
[Letter From the Bandmaster]
[On the back page there is this letter]
Dear Billy - Dan Noble has just handed me this to scribble a few lines. We have received orders to move on to Orange River. We shall be in reach of the enemy in a few hours; I am doing bugle major's duty; all bandsmen are in the ranks. Officers are to use rifles and all badges, stripes and everything are cut off. We are all well and eager for the fray. There are piles of clothing and accoutrements here from the killed at Modder River. Troops are arriving in thousands daily. Kind regards to all and hope the regiment passed in good shape at the inspection.