Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: August 1916
George Leslie

Camp Borden
Sat. 9 P.M.

Dear Cath:

Here we are at last in the famous "tented city" and the nickname is certainly an appropriate one. It's a sight worth seeing. There are in the neighbourhood of 40,000 troops here now and they expect to have 60,000 under canvas(s) by the end of next week. A person can walk nearly five miles without getting outside the line of tents. The place was once covered with brush and trees and the space where the tents are pitched has just been cleared out of the centre. We are almost surrounded by dense woods and the spot is certainly an ideal camping ground. The only objection is the sand - it is something fierce and the lease wind blows it all over the place in clouds. But that is better than Niagara clay. The boys weren't very anxious to come up here but most of us are delighted with our new home. We left Niagara Thursday night at 10 o'clock after a very busy day. We started breaking camp right after breakfast and it took us nearly all day to get our tents down and our kits packed. Then after supper two companies were sent down to the train to load all the stuff. Of coursed D Co. had to be one (just my usual luck) and they kept us on the jump till 9.30. Then back we went for our kits. We had never had our packs on before (they had just been issued and what a time we had! I suppose you know what every soldier has to carry on his back so I won't name all the articles but the whole thing including rifle weighs 75 pounds. We had to march nearly � mile to the train and by the time we reached it most of us were mighty glad we didn't have to go any further. The sweat was running off my chin in a stream. I've got a couple of snaps taken just before we left and if they turn out O.K., I will send them to you). Well anyway we got here at 5.30 yesterday morning (You may imagine how much sleep we got on the way) and then they started us right in unloading the cars containing all our goods - tents, boxes, stores, &c. I think those two days were the biggest days I ever put in and I was glad enough to turn in last night. I started a letter to you just after supper but couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to finish it. We have to sleep on the ground now (no more tent floors) but I slept like a log believe me. Today we have all been busy fixing up our tents each lunch trying to have a nicer looking residence than the other and some of them are certainly well. Every tent here has a name. Ours is known as "Burns' Cottage." Some of the fellows have shown considerable wit too. For instance one tent has a nice little grave dug outside the door all nicely decorated and marked by a big white cross on which is painted in neat black letters "Gone but not forgotten." The grave contains an empty whisky flask. Nearly every tent has a rustic chair built out of twigs cut from the bush, just outside the door. Of course they don't have to be there but some of them are just fine. The 142nd (London's Own) came in this morning and Harry Bawden was over to see us a short time ago. He is pretty tired for they left London at 5 P.M. yesterday so he didn't stay very long. We are going to explore the camp together tomorrow. He told us the 186th Kents were to leave for here tomorrow. I thought they were going to stay in London but I'm glad to hear that they're not.

I suppose you've been in Leamington all this week. Hope you have had a a nice time. Do you know anyone down that way? Say do you know I don't believe I ever thanked you for that fudge or your mother for the socks, honey and jam. Of course I know it hasn't worried you any but you may have the satisfaction of knowing that they were certainly appreciated not only by myself but by the rest of the fellows who were lucky enough to get some of it. I guess that was the the first honey that ever struck this batn and it certainly was dandy. I'm awfully sorry I can't send the jars back but I couldn't possibly bring them up here and didn't have a chance to send them back from Niagara. So that I will be two less for you to fill next time you have a canning bee?. Well I must ring off for there goes "lights out".

So long,


D Coy&c
Camp Borden