No 12 Infantry Base Depot, B.E.F. France
December 14, 1916
Ma Chere Famille,
I crossed over yesterday, and was fortunate enough to have a very good trip. A number of Patrington friends were on board and are here with me. Also I found Malcolm on board - one of our Toronto bunch - and we renewed the acquaintance of Shorncliffe days. I lost him on disembarkation.
My first experience of French railroads was not prepossessing. We simply crawled for no apparent reason, and talk about bumpy road-beds! However we arrived here at last, and after an hour's splashing around in the mud and dark got ourselves located and settled down in time for a good night's rest. We are under canvas; but on good sandy ground, and with floors to our tents; so are quite comfortable. The Mess, of course, is not in the same class with Patrington or even Oxford; but costs us only 2 1/2 francs per day. The hut is quite comfortable. We began work this morning at 8.15. It is likely that I may be here a week or so, since I have not been out before, and have therefore quite a bit to learn before I shall be ready to "go up." Our work for the day is over about 4.00 which gives us a long evening to fill up. I shall try to do a little French; and with that, and letter writing, and reading, shall be able to keep out of mischief as long as I am likely to be here.
You will continue, of course, to address me in Louie's care.
Before I left On Tuesday I received letters from Mother, Marjorie and Alice. You can bet your bottom dollar I didn't wear my Canadian Tommy's duds after I left Oxford. Only used them for drill. They were a sight! I had, of course, my Cadet uniform, which I wore until gazetted, and then had the braid and stars sewn on, and am using as a service outfit now. My new tunic, of course, is much better, both in quality and cut. I did put on civies for one day while the trimmings were being put on.
I am delighted that Rex and the girls seem to have established such pleasant relations with the Staples family. It should be a very interesting acquaintanceship.
There doesn't seem really to be much to write about here. The only thing left is love; and that cannot be expressed in words. Louie says she doesn't believe any bot[?] was ever loved as I am. I wonder if it's true.
I have more than I deserve anyway. But I give a great deal back again.