44 Marine Parade Hythe.
May 28th 1916
My Dear Mother.
This has been one glorious day, bright and clear. I did not get up until about noon, and slept the clock around. My window is always open and it is right on the beach, so that I get lots of fresh air. In fact it is so fresh that I can scarcely stay awake at all.
Last Wednesday I went up and passed my board O.K. They asked me how I felt and if I wanted to get back. So they told me to report to my O. C. at once. I did so and Col Armstrong (Dental Corps)said he would write to General Carson about my transportation back to France. I stayed right with him until he wrote the letter and I have been around two or three times since, so I think I ought to get back soon.
Really you can have no idea how hard it is to get back to the front once you are sent over here. It is very provoking to dilly-dally about like this, but they will take their time no matter what happens.
Gen Ketchen got home yesterday on his weeks leave. He was over to the house yesterday but I was out all day. So we all went over to tea today. He is looking just fine, and how he ever came out of that affair at St Eloi I don't know. He certainly was up and in the thick of it. Several times he was covered with showers of mud from exploding shells and he was nearly drowned in the trenches but came thru without a scratch. He had his photographs (taken from [an] aeroplane) with him and he showed me the whole lay out and explained it all to me. He was complimented for his work by Sir Douglas Haig, so I guess he is O.K., eh what[?]
Yesterday I called for Lorne St John and we went over to Dover from Folkestone via motor bus. It is a lovely ride of about five miles thru the country and all the way quite close to the sea shore. In fact one can see the water all the time, practically. It is a garrison town and there have been a few slight air raids on it, so that the military authorities are very strict about it. Before entering the town at all, the bus has to stop and a corporal gets aboard and examines all passengers. Everyone has to have a military pass to get into the town at all and lots are turned down even at that. They tried to hold us up but we managed to bluff thru with it. We had a very nice time and we saw quite a lot of things of interest, such as new models of aeroplanes, hydroplanes and motors of all sorts. Lorne is very much interested in all such things, as am I.
Was so glad to get your letter yesterday It was written on May 7th so made very good time. You see all my mail goes to France, then back to London to Weymouth St and is redirected here. Of course I told you about how I spent my birthday, and it was a most wretched day too. However I will have another next year and hope to spend it in Canada. I think I ought to be home about that time. I reminded the General today about telling me while in Winnipeg that it would likely be about two years before we got back again, and he said Yes. I guess I wasn't very far out at that. You see it always takes some time to settle up even after peace is declared. And there certainly are a lot of troops to be carried back to Canada. So if all goes well I should spend my next birthday with you at home. Speaking of birthdays, Alf has one on June 1. I know I am late as usual but I wish him many happy returns of [the] day. Please deliver for me.
Major Andrews arrived at Halifax on Friday O.K. We had a cable to that effect. Mrs A and Muriel leave Liverpool on June 2nd so are going up town (London) tomorrow. They want me to go too but I don't see why I should, so won't. I was tired enough of London when I was there, and it is not much over a week since I was in town last. However I shall likely run up again before I go over. I shall go up to Folkestone tomorrow and live there for awhile, until I get my transportation. It is one place I do detest though, it is so dirty and the people for the most part are rotters. Mr & Mrs Reade, my banker friend [s] have been after me for some time to stay with them, so I must put in a day or two with them at least.
Has father invested in a car yet[?], if not I hope he does before the summer is over. I am sure you would all enjoy it. The General is getting one on Tuesday so he has invited me to stick around as it were. It looks like a very reasonable proposition from my point of view.
Breakfast is earlier in the morning so I must get to bed. I have no trouble to sleep as I said before, but of course I never had.
I am feeling tip-top now and if I could get back to work I would be quite satisfied. I expect to be sent to a hospital at the base when I return but I don't care a hang as long as I get over.
Lots of love for Father, Emily, Alf and regards for Miss Smith and all the rest of the friends, and heaps of love for your own dear self.