Well, I will tell you about my doings. Oh, say, can you believe it, some of us boys in the Ambulance Corps are travelling in first class! Imagine, to cross to England first class as a passenger would cost from two to three hundred dollars! The boat we are sailing on is making its first trip with troops. It has been sailing from England to New York, but has been commandeered by the Government to carry troops. And being on the way back to England, it hasn't yet been stripped down for war service. There are about 3000 men on board - 2 battalions, a draft from army service, our Corps, and a crew of 450.
The Battalions are quartered in steerage. Their bunks are similar to those at our Calgary Barracks in Victoria Park (Barn 15) - 12 in a set, and about 150 in a large room. The Medical Corps are travelling mostly in second class, but for some reason, about 30 of us were put up in first class rooms, the same as the officers. I will give you an inventory: It has three single beds, white sheets, 2 pillows, 2 collapsible wash basins (with 2 clean towels every day), a writing desk, a chest of 8 drawers, a wardrobe, 3 electric lights and a moveable reading lamp with switched in each bed (or rather bunk) an electric heater, 2 deck chairs, and we have 2 windows opening out to the upper deck. This is more than lucky because there are only two sides of the boat with these windows, all the others being inside berths with electric fans and ventilators. Our grub is jake! For dinner, we had soup, fish, meat and pudding. For supper, fish, bread and butter, jam, tea, and biscuits. We haven't had a breakfast yet as we only came aboard at 11 o'clock this morning.
My bunk mates are Eddie and Lockyer. Harry and Thorn were not so lucky - they are in second class. Their rooms are almost as good, but they have only half the room and furniture, and four in a stateroom. We can get a bath when we want one. Have a barber on board, and three canteens. We are pulled out of dock tonight although I think it was for security. You see, if we were left in dock, we should likely lose a few men who might climb overboard.
There are three boats already loaded in the harbor - the BALTIC, OLYMPIC, and EMPRESS OF BRITAIN; our own, the ADRIATIC makes the fourth, and there are two more to load yet. They will be in tomorrow, then we will have to wait for our escort which has already left for England.
The Stewards say we shall be here until Tuesday morning, anchored in the harbor, but we should worry - as first class passengers, I could stand a month of it! There are a terrible lot of drunks on board in the line Battalions. Our own Corps is entirely free from it. The Colonel told the Sgt. Major last night that he is as proud of his men as a father of his son, with the way we have behaved all the way down. We kept the train clean, no drinking or quarreling or kicking. Of course in the line Battalions there are so many men in different dispositions, there are bound to be clashes.
We certainly got good receptions on the way down. In New Brunswick, nearly every town had crowds at the stations to wish us goodbye, and safe return. Lots of girls were giving the boys addresses, saying that they would correspond all the time the boys are away. Needless to say, I didn't collect any of these addresses, as I intend to write to you, the Thompsons, and Aunt Annie, and I think, as I know you'll agree that I will be kept busy writing to you all. At one station, just as the train was moving, I put out my hand to shake with an old lady, and she left a silver pencil in my hand. I was very pleased with it as it is so small and convenient.
Well, I must close now. Will send more news from the boat and let you know all about the trip. Wach the paper for the sailing and arrival of the ADRIATIC.