April 20, 1916
You will probably have received my card announcing my arrival here; and will be wondering what I am doing here with the Canadians. When we arrived at the War Office we found that, contrary to the information given us in Canada, we would be held to serve as privates in the Imperial army in the event of failure to qualify. We asked, in view of the terms as we had received them, that in event of failure we should be allowed to transfer to the Canadians. There seem to be difficulties (red tape) in the way; and to make along story short, our committee got in touch with the Canadian authorities, and they offered to solve the difficulties by taking us & our training off the hands of the War Office. Consequently we were sent, attested, and attached to the 32nd. (Reserve) Battalion for discipline & rations during the period of our training at the Canadian Military School here. We are getting quite used to barrack-room surroundings now, and to military rations. The food is really not bad, and when varied by the addition of jam and cookies and condensed milk is quite O.K. I have slept like a top the three nights I have been here.
To-day we started work at the school. The first week is to be spent on bombing. We had a lecture from 9 to 10.30, and then adjourned to the open to make our first essay at throwing "dummies." This afternoon we took part in a sham fight with blank cartridges and puff bombs.
We are not quite clear as to how long the course will last, or as to how we are to be disposed of at its completion. There may be openings for some of us with the Canadians; but most of us will probably be turned over tot he Imperial forces. Of course, if we fail to qualify we will remain with the Canadians as privates, though we should probably be able to transfer to the artillery or some other branch, if we so desired.
Good-Friday We attended church parade at the garrison church this morning, and I have just returned from an after-dinner hunt for the Divisional Signallers, who, we learned yesterday, arrived here a few days ago. Finally located them a three minutes walk from our hut. They are under canvas. I found Hicks, but Field and Chisholm were off for a walk. Hicks, however, promised to tell them where to look me up.
We have no further parades to-day, not to-morrow - the holiday giving us a good chance to get settled ready for work, which will start in earnest on Monday. The following is the schedule of work laid down for next week:
9-10 Care in handling explosives
10-11 Newton & Hales rifle grenades
11-12 French and German grenades
2-3 Group drill
3-4 French engines and throwing devices
Tuesday. Apr. 25
9-10 Employment of grenades in attack & defense
10-11 Clearing a trench
11-12 Blocking and double-blocking a trench
2-3 Attack on a trench system
3-4- Minor operations
9-10 Supply and trench organization
10-11 Defensive organization
11-12 Second classification in throwing
(The first classification was yesterday. I made an average score 21 out of a possible 36. The highest score was 28)
2-3- Training and employment of rifle grenadiers
3-4- Organization of rifle grenadiers
9-10 Smoke & gas bombs
10-12 Attack scheme
2-3 Storage, inspection, turn-over
3-4- Third classification in throwing
9-10 General lecture
10-12 Throwing tests
2-4 Written tests
We are here about three miles from Folkstone - walk one and ride two in a bus for 2d. if you want to. Have been down a couple of times already but, of course, will not be able to take many evenings off after the holiday. It is a beautiful town, and in peace times is obviously a popular resort. - hotels everywhere.
Address me for the present as
Pte. B.F. Trotter
No. 82066 A. Company
32nd. Reserve Batt., C.E.F.
Risboro Barracks, Shorncliffe.
Oceans of love to all of you,