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Date: August 23rd 1915

Dibgate, England.
Aug. 23rd, 1915.

My dear Dad:

I am just writing a short letter before I go on parade so that it will catch the next mail and let you know that I am O.K. I very much fear that my last week’s letter went down with the ill-fated Arabic so that you will not have heard from me for a couple of weeks. However, Fernie’s letter was written a couple of days later and I think probably missed that boat, so that you will have heard that everything is O.K. in Lower Dibgate. I have been trying to write for the last couple of days but we have been having night work. I go out about 10 p.m., march a couple of hours and start digging about 12.30, then dig till 4.30 a.m., get home about 6.00, have a couple of hours sleep and are on parade again at ten for another three mile march to the ranges for shooting. I am used to it by this time and rather enjoy the night work on account of the bracing air. However, it puts a ban on letter writing, bridge playing, and other necessary incidentals of a military career.

Your letter arrived last night and I was so pleased to get one from you, as I know how busy you are and what trouble you have to get even a few hours off. I hope, dear old dad, you are not going to struggle through another year without taking some sort of a holiday. I think you ought to put it up to the powers that be that you need and deserve a couple of weeks rest before the heavy rush of annual reposts and so on begins to come in on you again. I thought you were discussing a week and the Island or something of that sort. The trouble is, you always let these things fall through!

Everything here goes on much the same as usual. I find it very pleasant although it would try the nerves of a person easily bored with the simple life. We all try to keep pretty busy with our work and our men, although here we haven’t the full responsibility of training them as with our old company. This being a reserve depot, there is of course a fairly complete staff of Sergeant Instructors, who specialize in Musketry, Bombing, Bayonet Fighting, and so on, so they take quite a bit of work off out hands. However, these new companies have been very deficient in organization, so we have been busy trying to get things running smoothly. At night we play bridge, cycle down to Hythe for a swim, or once in a while buzz into town with George and have tea with Eleanor and some of her friends. Then on Saturday afternoon and Sundays we try to catch up with correspondence and perhaps take an all day walk or cycle ride. Of course in England either is a distinct pleasure on account of the beautiful roads and interesting little villages and country places scattered every few miles. Last Sunday Arnold and some of the others walked to Deal, the headquarters of the Royal Marines, about 18 miles, and had supper, then took the train back. Arnold arrived in about midnight and groaned all night, but said he felt fit in the morning. Next Sunday George and I are hoping to cycle to Canterbury over the old Roman Stone road, then off to the Canadian Ordnance at Ashford and back here again, a triangular course about forty-five miles of so, I think just a nice day’s ride.

Did I tell you that the Canadian Ordnance works were visited by Zepps about a week ago? The blighters took a crack at a high explosive works at Faversham which they have tried to get now about five times but missed it by about three miles, took a turn to the South and lighted on Ashford, dropping about 18 bombs, but doing no damage. They haven’t visited us for a long time. Dover Castle, I fancy, is too much for them. It stands on a cliff about 600 feet above the docks and fairly bristles with guns from every turret, so that if they drop down to 1500 feet to drop bombs on the Admiralty dock, that leaves them only 90 feet from the top of Dover Castle, 300 yards or more, an easy rifle shot.

Well, things rather looked up a bit at the beginning of the week and we hope it will keep up. The Russians can put the fear of God in the Kaiser’s land-lubber sailors anyway, and we are getting to be some bears with the Submarine ourselves. Did you hear about the sub in the Sea of Marmora which discovered a German troop train on the way down the shore. It came in close, popped up, shelled the bally train to atoms, ducked, and made off.

Well, I must run off to parade and will write again as soon as possible.

Yours lovingly,

Tell Mally I got her box of “Trilbys”. They are scrumptious, also the maple sugar.

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