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Date: July 7th 1916

Camp Hughes

July 7th 1916
Dear Mother:-

I received your welcome letter & was glad to get it and the tickets. I did not get a pass this week end. I transferred to the Machine Gun Section Tuesday and started learning Machine gun drill and signals etc. on Wednesday. There were two of us transferred out of our platoon, Swany Johnson and I. Our major was sorry to have us go out of "C" company. We tried once before to get a transfer to the M.G.S. but our Major would not let us. He does not want to lose any men out of his company. But this time he could not stop us. The M.G.S. needed men and Bradbury told the Lieut of the M.G.S. that he could take men out of any company in the Battalion. I had asked for a pass before I left "C" company but we did not get it. I guess it was because the major wold not recommend it for I know he was sore at us for leaving him. I am going to apply for one again for Saturday 15th. The boys tell me that I stand a better chance of getting one in the M.G.S. I went to 2 shows tonight & feel tired. I think I'll quit for tonight as the mosquitoes are pretty bad.


Sunday Morning July 9th 10 a.m.

Dear Mother:-

I am just back from church parade and as it is about 2 hours to dinner time I think I will continue this letter. We had an awful storm out here last Thursday as you may have read in the papers. We had just fallen in for Parade at 8 oclock Thursday Morning and the sky was pretty black and it kept turning blacker. The Officers saw the storm coming and dismissed the Battalion. Just after we reached our tents it started to blow hard from the north. Then it blew something fierce so it was hard to stand on our feet. It blew clouds of dust over us. The cloud of dust was just like the worst snow storm I ever saw. The dust was so thick and flying so fast that you could only see a short distance away. Then the rain came down in tankfuls. It came down as if a high pressure hose had been turned on us. Every body hung onto their tents for dear life to keep them from blowing over. I had transferred to the M.G.S. the day before & I was sleeping with the M.G.S. boys the night before. Some of our tent pegs got pulled up but we managed to hold the tent down. The tent next to ours got blown down & the poor fellows got soaked to the skin & all their stuff got soaken. Not many of the smaller got blown down but most of the large ones did. The Band tent, the sergeants mess, the Quarter master Stores tent & the Paymaster all got blown down & several others. Our Canteen is a frame building with a canvas roof and it stood the storm all right but the canteens of some of the other Battalions were just in tents and many of them blew down. The Officers kitchen was flooded with water because it was on low ground and we had to dig ditches to get the water away. It is an easy matter to drain water out here. All you have to do is to dig a trench in a foot deep in the ground, then you strike sand and the water sinks into the sand like water into a sponge. It did not take long to get things into shape again. In the afternoon the ground was nearly all dry & the mens clothes were dry and the tents were all up. The Storm and rain lasted only a little over an hour and the sun was shining bright at noon. But it certainly was dark just before the rain. It was just like 10 oclock at night. I got pretty well soaked too. I went out in the rain to fasten down the tent pegs so the tent wouldn't go down. However I did not catch cold or anything like. Just after the storm was over I went digging drain trenches with wet clothes on because I did not have time to change. The boys were not downhearted at all. Not much. They were all cheerful as could be and thought it was a great joke. I haven't seen Frank for quite a while. The last time I saw him I went over there and gave him some of the tarts you sent me the first time. He has been to see me once since he came out here and then I was down town & I met him on the way back. I have been to see him often & once or twice when I went there I could not find him anywhere. Once when I went to see him he was in Winnipeg on pass. I am going over to see him today. It is quite a long way to go. Frank is too darned lazy to walk all that way. If I was to depend on him to come over I would never see him. We are at the very west end of the Camp & He is at the very East end. I wrote a letter to Bonnie the other day & I am going to try to get up enough energy to write to Josie. It is tiresome work writing letters. All the boys find it that way. It is alright to receive letters but I guess a fellow has got to write once in a while if he expects to get letters from others. All the Icelanders are well. Mundi is grouchy most of the time because he did not get all his pay last pay day. It's the same old story with him. It was getting to be tiresome to be with for a while. I don't see him so very often these days since I transferred because I have been busy during my spar time washing my clothes. I don't send any of it to the laundry except the woolen underwear which is so hard to wash