March 31, 1940
Got your letter yesterday, also one form Phyl, and sure was glad to hear from you. You don’t realize how much it means to get a letter from home, until you see the other boys get mail and find there is none for you. I am glad to hear that you like my letters, as I thought some of them pretty crummy. I wish you and Dad could come over too, as there are some very lovely spots to explore. Alan mentioned Dad’s operation and I certainly hope it will prove completely successful and not too painful. It is certainly a good thing that Dad has a good boss for a change, as he seems to be getting the breaks that his years of faithful service deserve.
It is too bad that your chicken plant chose to go haywire at this time, but I imagine you can get a very serviceable Eaton machine at little expense. Next time you see Toutle, thank her for me and tell her we all appreciate the greeting cards, which she has sent so faithfully. St Valentines, St. Pats and Easter, in that order.
The mail comes in irregularly here and quite often arrives in bales as you say, and usually takes from three weeks to a month from the date of mailing. This makes it a little difficult to keep from overlapping the letters or chewing my cabbage twice. I was glad to hear that you were able to get a nice chesterfield at so reasonable a price, as it certainly was needed and must add considerably to the comfort and appearance of the dining and sitting rooms.
If you see Mrs. Nolan again, give her my best and tell her, so far, I haven’t seen anything good enough to pay freight on, so will remain free, for the present at least. Good luck to you and Phyl in your puzzle contest and may the best “man” win, but the main thing is to win, and if you were sent a tie-breaker, one would naturally think that one of you should win something. Yes, we miss old Reg too and certainly hope he may make the navy, if that is what he wants.
The way things look now, the Canadian forces may never see France, but more likely will be sent to Egypt or the Balkans, which wouldn’t be so bad, although I think I would rather be where the temperature isn’t quite so extreme as that of the East. I think I mentioned that we were paid a visit by Mr. Eden, but owing to wet weather, he had to content himself with an inspection of the barracks and mess hall and with meeting our officers. However, he may have better luck at the other Canadian camps, and judging from the clipping that Auntie May sent me, got a good impression. I will enclose the clipping for your inspection and approval.
Yesterday was payday and what a day. Some of the boys get tight every payday and then proceed to have fun at the expense of the room. Last night I was dumped out of bed four times and didn’t mind much, as I paid in kind in every instance. I signed over ten dollars a month, which you should get soon. I want you and Dad to take enough out of this to pay completely for the car accident and then do as you see fit with the remainder. If you must save it for me, please use it from time to time to ease the strain. Another plan would be for you to use it to speculate at your own discretion, keeping the profits for pin money.
We get paid $2.10 per day, and from this pay I left ten shillings with the paymaster and hope to be able to do the same each pay. This will give me enough spending money on our next leave. I had my picture taken in my uniform and will send one if they are good. I also bought twelve postcard-size pictures of our voyage which I will send home probably, two at a time, to avoid possible confiscation. Most of the photos were taken in dull weather, but are fairly clear. I don’t know if I can get the pictures today, but if possible, will enclose the first two.
The weather has been very miserable here lately, as tit rains almost daily and gets very raw and cold at times. However, when the sun comes out, it is much like a late April day. It is certainly a vastly different Spring to ours in Canada, in that its arrival is hardly noticed. Well, we are coming along fine with our training and I have been made a battery headquarters driver; just what my duties will be, I don’t know but I think it will be driving one of the captains around. I intend to find out in the near future and if it proves too quiet, will ask for a transfer back to the guns.
Starting Monday, we go out on manoeuvres, which should be very interesting, as we drive the vehicles with the guns following the gun trucks and the other vehicles in their respective places. We practice in a large field and usually start off in column of route, with eight trucks following in a single file. A troop leader, mounted on a motor cycle gives the orders by signal and each driver relays the order back to the others. On one signal, we form half sections, rolling along two by two and on a repetition of the same signal we form full sections, consisting of four trucks abreast.
We have a lot of fun particularly on the about turn and, so far, have managed to return without causalities. The other day, Captain Ziegler was leading and boy, did we have fun. The old boy is fairly stout, and what with riding over the rough ground and giving arm signals, was quite busy. To add to his difficulties, the boys kept right behind him, giving him little time or room to work. I was riding behind at the time and spent more of my time suspended in the air than on the seat. Finally, the Captain called a halt and told us to keep the vehicles down to 10 miles an hour, which eased the situation.
Tell Phyl that I haven’t any news, so can’t write separately, but know she will understand. Tell her in regards to danger that a moving target is much harder to hit than a stationery one, so driving shouldn’t be too dangerous. Well, news is about exhausted, so will close for now.