May 4th 1944
#5 platoon (B) Company
Dear Mom and Dad: -
Just a very few lines to let you know I’m still alive etc. Terrifically sunburned though! It never was as hot in mid summer; home as what it is right now out here, but in the night you can use four blankets comfortably in fact some times you feel four extra would be mighty welcome this morning about four oclock was one of those times. My face is so red now that people are asking if its sore; it is! But after about thirty summers of the same thing I don’t mind it any more, however I’m using lots of lotion and I’ve brought a stick of lipsil for my lips. They issued us with shorts yesterday but the ones I landed are big enough for D.C. MacDonald, I’ll be able to get theme exchanged next week in the mean-time I wear absolutely nothing underneath my coveralls we load fifteen miles to-morrow, I wish I could go in the absolute nude but I’ll tell you this I’d rather the heat anyday to the devilish cold we struck the first two days we were here. Our P.T. which we have eleven oclock till twelve every morning is really the finest P.T. I’ve seen in four years and seven months of army life. Up till this morning I was so still I could hardly move, if I sat down for about five minutes, I almost had to be helped up again, to-day though I feel much better, the P.T to-day seemed to loosen me up considerably. I think the officers must have been going through my documents, because, they are always singling me out for quarantines etc. Yesterday I was accused of being a college professor for giving a too bright answer, and just to balance things off I was made to do ten pushups for smiling condescendingly at a P.T. instructor, so I’m not likely to get to swell headed, I can assure you they won’t get me to accept any rank here any more than they could at Windsor or Brighton.
There’s a show going on in the hall in a couple of minutes so I’ll finish this in between reels the picture is the Falcon takes a ride, so far its not bad.
(later) Hennie is finding the training kind of tough at present but I think he’ll get used to it, personally my feet are standing up to it better than me complexion, while Hennie is just the opposite, one thing that’s nice here is the cerimonial parade at Sundown; band and everything! Very impressive and colourful! We haven’t got the best officer in the world but he’ll do, our sergeant is an old timer and knows all the angles, we really are learning things and getting into wonderful shape. I hope your not too disappointed about me being in the infantry, it’s all army and as long as it gets me overseas I’m happy. We’ll have about two months training here and then we should be on our way.
I don’t know if I told you about the way we came up here and so forth. So in cast I didn’t; it was sleepers all the way with diner service too. I figure MacKenzie King thinks all his H.D. zombies are the only soldiers left in Canada and therefore he’s providing the best for them, and accidentally we came into some of the fruits of this arrangement, such a thing was unheard of when the first Div. went over. We really enjoyed it and take it from me I’m looking forward to the return trips when our training is done. They may dish out embarkation leave when we’re through but I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t seem too enthusiastic about it. People around Sydney Mines shouldn’t see any more of me till the war is over, especially those with boys already fighting in Italy. So unless my feelings chance considerably I think I’ll try and save my pennies and at the end of our time here I’ll go out to Vancouver just for the sake of saying I’ve seen all the way across Canada, who knows if I’ll ever get another chance, and besides that I’ll probably be held in one of those Transit Camps like Windsor when we are ready to go, so if you want to see me we might be able to arrange something then, don’t feel badly about me not wanting to come home, but secretly for over four years I’ve been nursing a deep feeling of shame at not being able to be overseas doing my bit. I guess my feelings must be obvious when I’ve given up such a soft job in the artillery in the hopes of making it, there’s nothing I’d rather than to be home right now and I guess you both know that, but any red blooded Canadian who doesn’t want to be right in the thick of it isn’t worth his salt. I really didn’t intend telling you this but I guess I should get it off my chest at that. Probably makes morbid reading, if it does I’m, sorry, I think a lot of the boys have felt the same way I do maybe not quite so strongly but just the same.
How is everyone back there? The kids and their mothers? how’s Tom Lennie, may Vern and the old cat? Darned if I can think of anything to say witty or bright to finish up with except maybe that one fo the guys was sittig on a gophers hole to-day during a lecture outside and got bitten the sun had made some of the guys very drowsy ad they were having difficulty showing any interest, but when they guy yelped they perked up like no-bodies business he’s wearing a neat white cross on the spot.
Well I guess I’ve really let my hair down, eh? six pages I believe is a bit of a record for me so before I break this one I’;; quit so long and all the best for now.
P.S. The mail from the East hasn’t arrived (31st).