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Date: July 26th 1916

From: Petawawa, Ont.
26 July 1916

Dear Mother -

Just a few lines this time as I do not know of much to tell. Everything going along smoothly, up here and I keep in pretty good shape altho everyone feels rather indolent and lazy on account of the intense heat of the past few days. I am sweating nearly all the time as much as I did on those walks from Mallorytown. We had quite a severe thunderstorm about a week ago. It came on in the afternoon after an excessively hot and close forenoon. There was a regular downpour for a while and it flooded several of the tents but we made ditches around them and got the water away so that, altho it rained most of night, we were able to keep good and dry. A couple of fellows in 12th Brigade were hit by the lightening during the night but recovered alright, I believe. When some of the fellows were watering our horses at the trough, they felt minor shocks. It looked as if we would have a storm last night but it passed over. I can keep fairly cool at night as we sleep practically outdoors with flaps and sides of tent rolled up.

I had a late pass for Pembroke last Saturday. We can get these weekend passes nearly every week now for Pembroke or Petawawa. They do not count as a leave of absence. We are getting all the passes & leaves that the officers can possibly give us now. I believe the O.C. was a trifle alarmed the other week. Four or five fellows left without passes at all and others overstayed their leave for two or three days. When they got back, they were paraded before the Colonel and given from 8 to 14 days C.B. (confinement to barracks) with loss of pay for the days they were absent. They are getting plenty of fatigue work around camp and have an hour's pack drill every night. This pack drill would be hard enough on warm nights like these after they have been working all day as they have to wear their tunics, haversacks, water bottles, mess cans, kit bags - their full equipment - it is quite a load.

Lt. Col. Arnoldi is no longer O.C. of the 13th Bde. Our new O.C. is a rather small man and seems to be pretty good. His name would give the impression that he was a Frenchman but he talks and looks like an Englishman. His name is something like this - Lieutenant-Col. H.R.V. Count de Bury. The batteries in camp are each firing about 15 shots per day now for this week. I was out yesterday but not today. I hear our battery did very well today.

Rumours are very strong that we will be going overseas about middle of August and everything seems to point to a departure in three weeks or so. Of course, there is nothing definite or official about it yet. It is also said that they will start giving final leave about 1st of August. The chaplain of the 13th Bde is a Mr. Ormond(?) with rank of Capt. A rather young but very pleasant looking fellow whom I have seen around the YMCA a lot. He is now in uniform.

Aunt Bertha told me the day I left that she had heard that neither one of the McAvoy girls had passed. If this is so, it will be rather disappointing as you worked so hard to get them in shape. I have also seen in a couple of papers a list of results of Lower School Exams and to my very great surprise and disappointment I failed to see Harold's name there. Is it true that the poor fellow has failed to pass? I was so sure of him getting it. It will not mean that he will lose a year if he works hard, as I suppose he can try again at end of 3rd year's work, but he will be feeling bad about it.

Best love to yourself, to Gladys, to Harold, Cecil & to Arthur.
Yours truly,

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