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Date: July 15th 1916

Swindon Isolation Hospital

July 15/16

Dear Mother,

Many happy returns of the day (for yesterday) and I wish I had been there to help you celebrate! I remembered that the 14th was your birthday two letters ago, but when I was writing it went out of my head. Then I recalled it again last night when I was lying here thinking of how much we shall all enjoy seeing each other after being away for so long. After all the best of every journey is the coming home. I got six letters and two post cards in yesterday morning’s mail. The P.C.’s were from you and I was sorry to hear that you had been worried about our being broken up. Don’t worry, because I could easily transfer if they should shove us into the infantry and anyway I am almost certain that they wouldn’t take me for active service. Quite a few of the 4th Div. Co. Men who went to Bramshott were turned down, some on account of bad feet and some, who hadn’t much wrong with their eyes were turned down because of astigmatism and small defects of eyesight.

I am very much ashamed of myself when I think of how I gave in to a feeling of depression a few weeks ago and let it creep into the letters I wrote home. Whenever I read the letters from Canada now I always think how brave and cheerful everybody at home is, for they have all the anxiety and we are simply having an interesting experience. When I think of how so many noble men have sacrificed their lives or gone through terrible pain and scenes of horror, I begin to realize that my little inconveniences are nothing at all. I must try and develop a little more backbone.

Enclosed you will find a snapshot of Fraser Macdonald, Dorland, Walter McCatcheson and myself taken in Hyde park. Young Macdonald is a regular young brick. He was only seventeen when he enlisted and as plucky as they make them. Harold Lindsay, who has just gone to France took the picture. I shall send you a couple more in the next letter. You won’t need to send it to Dal. as I have sent another print there. The photo is taken just inside the park with Oxford St and the Marble Church in the background. You can see the arch between Dorland and Walter. I don’t know how I managed to get my mouth in such a funny position just as the snap was taken. It seems to me that for the first time in my life, I discover a slight resemblance to Father. (I hope he won’t be offended at that!)

I am still in bed and am beginning to get a little restless, for I don’t think there ever was much the matter with me. Indeed I am beginning to suspect that I never had the measles at all and that the rash was only prickly heat or something of that nature. Funny I could fool so many doctors though!

Yesterday I had a letter from Tram. He is out in the midst of a lonely prairie with the nearest town to the south 20 miles away and one to the north 30 miles distant. Also an epistle from poor Cavell. He has had trouble with his eyesight lately, rather serious too, but tells me he is recovering. I have ‘grave apprehensions’ though, to adopt his own style of diction, that all is not well with his brain. He says that he “[?] he could imagine how great must be my joy in dear England – but more of that anon!” If he sends me any ‘more of that anon’ there’s going to be trouble.

This morning I got a card from Miss Des Brisay, in which she said that she would like to see both Will and me and asking if she could do anything for us. I shall call on her the next time I go up to London.

Well Mother, there isn’t much more to tell about as I haven’t been doing anything for the past week. Hope you are managing to enjoy yourself in spite of the fact that you haven’t got your worthless sons with you. It won’t be long now till we come home again. Much love to yourself and to Aunt Mattie.


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