Reply to D Company 93rd Batt. CEF Regt.
Army Post Office
Sept 7 1916
Dear Mr Irwin
Your very welcome letter received yesterday, for which I was very pleased to get, I also received two from my wife, I was feeling very blue before them, as it was ninety two days since I last heard from her, so you may imagine I was not in the best of spirits, But am now OK, Well Mr. Irwin this is certainly is hard & rough life, but one cannot complain as we could not expect nothing else, We get lots of work from early till late, we have been getting up at 330am but today we have started to get up at 5oclcok that is not too bad, We are at a place called Lydd England, a very nice place & lots to see, about four miles from the coast, & there are quite a lot of imperial troops here, there is a large field battery here, & one can see quite a lot watching there, they have guns of all sorts & sizes, from a 8 in shell up to 11 inches, & every day they are practicing with live shells, you can hear the shells firing through the air like an express train, after they pull the trigger there is an awful explosion & off it goes to do its worst. We are at present shooting, but expect to be through next week some time & after that we are not sure where we are going, so we just have to wait & see, I expect you have heard by now some of the Norwood boys have gone to france, I felt sorry for them as they felt bad at leaving the Battalion & went away lonely, We have a very nice YMCA tent here which we can use anytime free of charge, & lots of writing paper, & envelopes pens & inks, there is a concert here nearly every night, but I have been to only three & they were good, last-night we had a gentleman speak on Man’s purity, which was well worth listening to & it is a terrible curse in England, I didn’t know which is the greater it or the wet canteen, both are bad I expect you heard Rev Carne[?] Davidson has left us & gone to some base hospital in London, I personally was not sorry to see him go, as I think he was the wrong man in the wrong place, if he ever had anything to chastise the Battalion about,- such as bad language, drunkeness etc- he always would finish up by trying to excuse the boys on some ground or another, that was what turned me against him, I suppose Karl is a farmer by now, or well on the road. Paul is in the slime & having a good time I hope he will always have it that way & no other , I was sorry to hear about Ned Martin I know him well, I shall be glad when this war is finished, & I am on my way home again, because after all there is no place like home, But I have always felt I shall come back & I believe it more today than ever, I have faith in God and we must have faith, if we believe God’s promises And I till you Mr Irwin God has been good to me & I have reason to thank him more than anyone in this Battalion, I believe God holds our lives in the hollow of His hand, & when my time comes to depart this life nothing in this world can slay it, if it be in Canada or France, that is my reason of saying I have faith in coming back again, The temptations here are terrible, one cannot believe it unless they saw it for themselves, , Art Searight and I generally go out together when we have the chance it often happens when he is off duty I am on, & when I am off he is on, but I have often gone to some quiet spot & sat down & tried to study my bible & I have felt the good of it, We have a Sunday morning service here & we go with the 98 Battalion, their minister seems to be a very nice man, Sythe[?] Mills is in that Batt, & I have not been talking to him yet, but shall try & see him tomorrow, as I am not warned for any duty yet, I was in the YMCA & someone called my name out & I looked & it was he, but I could not get to him there as it was too crowded, Give my Kind regards to Mrs Irwin & family, & be sure & call in & see my wife sometimes please as it will cheer her up, & by doing that to the ones left behind you will be doing your bit for the lads who are going to fight for God King & Country Well Mr. Irwin Goodbye for this time & God bless you all as the wish of one who is trying to live for Him who gave His Life for us all, And don’t forget me in your prayers
S I have just heard they are to move us back to Otterspool tomorrow but if this is true I am not sure.