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Date: August 31st 1917
H.R. Porteous

Just a few lines to let people know that we are doing well and are just having a dandy time. Although we have had a considerable lot of hard drill and route marches, we find time to have a little sport. We have Saturday and Sunday afternoons off, so you can see they are not using us too bad.

We had a big sports day on May 24th and also another on July 2nd. but July 12th over here was just the same as any other day. This was the first Orange celebration I have missed for a long time, but as you all know we have to give up lots of enjoyments in war time.

On May 25th our camp was raided by the Huns, but I am not allowed to give you any particulars; about two weeks later they raided London, doing considerable damage. About a week ago they went over London again, I wish our letters were not censored, then I would write a letter worth reading, but we have to abide with the rules over here; if not, why we are 'up for office,' as they call it, and it's very easy to get seven days c.b. with pack drill.

While at Shorncliffe camp we used to go out on route marches, and it is very common to see girls out in the fields doing men's work. The first day I saw them I had a good laugh at the way the girls were dressed. They wear rather heavy boots, laced about half way to the knee and a khaki hat, riding breeches, no skirts, Khaki middie that reaches nearly to the knee, and take it from me, they look real cute. Over here the girls do anything. One very seldom sees a young fellow behind the counter or in a theatre. They also drive milk wagons, taxi cabs, and in fact everything except the engines on the railroads.

You will notice by my address that we have changed our place of abode. There was a number of officers and N.C.O.'s came over from France about a month ago for reinforcements for the first line siege Batteries now in France. They picked about six hundred men, from the C.F.A. Battery and I will say right now that the Port Hope boys are pretty lucky, as HAROLD and NORMAN McMahon, BILL BENNETT and myself are with the first section, and KIRKLAND is with the fifth section, but we are the 11th Canadian Siege Battery while in training in England. BROWN was not so lucky, as they put him on draft for trench mortars and is now in France. The 11th Battery is known as a 9-point 2-Howitzer Battery, or better known as the 'Safety-Firsts.' Both our officers of the 1st Section enlisted as gunners and received their commission in France. So they know what to do with us fellows, and, by the way they started, I think we are in for a fair time.

We left Shorncliffe Camp yesterday morning at 9 a.m., and entrained at 10:30; had a nice little ride in the dinky little cars, and arrived at Horsham at 1 p.m.; had to march about two miles to one of the prettiest camps in England. It is not a very large camp, and as there are some Imperial troops here, we couldn't all get in huts, but 10th and 11th Batteries got in huts, and the 12th had to take to the tents. We were detailed off 30 men to a hut, and each of us had a real bed with springs and straw mattress. We have electric lights throughout all the huts with the switch at the power house, and at 10:15 they don't ask you, but just switch off the juice and leave you in darkness.

Horsham is a fine town and not very large, about 12,000 population and most of them are girls, and I understand they think a lot of the Canucks.

We expect to be here eight weeks, and then go to Lydd for two weeks target practice, then we get our six days leave, that we have looked for ever since we landed; although some of the boys have been lucky enough to get leave and have been up to Scotland.

Don't be surprised when I tell you that I received one stripe last week. It will help one some, as it keeps you out of all fatigue work.
I must close now, as I am in charge of the town picquet to-night, so I have to get all cleaned up.

No. 2001033,
1st Siege Section, 11th Canadian Siege Battery, Hut D I,
Horsham siege school, Roffey Camp, Sussex, England.