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Date: April 10th 1917
Annie Mowat - (mother)
Grant Mowat

South Camp, Seaford.
Sussex, England.
April 10/17.

Dear Mother,

I’m afraid that it is now well over a week since I last wrote to you. A week ago Friday I managed to get permission to leave Sandling, and bring my little band of quarantined men home. We got away on the 7.30 AM. train. I think we did very well to get away so early in the morning, for there is so much to do before morning. However, by getting away then, we made first rate train connections – arriving here in time for dinner. We had a beautiful day for the trip – bright, clear, and cold.

Our journey was through an interesting section of country – along the inside of that large flat that used to be the Romney Marshes – Ilford, Hastings, Lewes, Newhaven and Seaford.

Our camp here is a good one and the scenery is beautiful.

We are on a low plain about half a mile from the sea. Directly in front of us (south) the ground rises smoothly and rather steeply towards the sea, forming the great chalk cliffs of Beachy Head.

Just west of us there is a break in the coast line and a deep bay with Newhaven at its head. Thus looking west we look across this bay and out over the Atlantic, as the west side of the bay is not nearly as long as the eastern.

All the country around here is smooth. “Smooth” is the one word that describes the scenery. The hills are rounded and smooth as if rolled and tended like the green of a golf links. The flats are just like the lawns in the East End in Brockville. And all is chalky with the queer-shaped flints scattered through it. Our parade ground dries out in a couple of hours after a rain but when wet it is [?] to walk on – not sticky, but as slippery as ice.

Since coming here, I have been extremely busy, but last Sunday afternoon Captain Hall and I went for a walk up to Beachy Head. We walked right around its edge – with the white cliff reaching down hundreds of feet to the sea beneath. At that time the tide was out, and there were a dozen or so soldiers hunting around on the rocks beneath for “winkles”. These men looked like flies.

To the east of us the coast extended off in a great convex curve marked with seven immense, snow-white chalk cliffs – The Seven Sisters.

Between Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters is a narrow bay into which empties a small river. At the head of this bay is a small boulder beach. We made our way down to the waters edge down a long steep draw.

This didn’t reach clear down to the beach, but at its end has been cut a narrow trench running down at an angle of 45° down which you make your way assisted by a rope.
[a sketch of the beach area is drawn here]
The ground from our camp to Beachy Head rises at an angle of 14 or 15°.

I have been very busy since arriving here. I am second in command of the “Crock” Company, and apparently during the two months I was away nobody touched my work, with the result that an immense amount has accumulated.

A small draft of men reached us yesterday, including a couple of “the hards.”

I’d better start to write on the backs of these pages or I’ll have to send the letter by freight or else in installments like Elsie does. She’s a great little correspondent.

Oh, about socks. I find that I have 15 pairs in A1 condition, at least four pairs never having been worn. Besides these I am sending you two pairs of light ones to re-toe.

I have received many letters from Mina lately. I’ll enclose one.

Chances of getting to France soon are looking rather brighter. I do hope that I can soon get across.

I’ll close this here for now. Love to everybody,

Your son,
Grant D Mowat.

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