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Date: December 23rd 1915
Dear Ones All

Maid’s Head. Hotel,
Norwich, Dec. 23, 1915.

Dear Ones All,

You will see from this that I am located at Norwich. However, to begin at the beginning: we reached the mouth of the Mersey on Monday morning and the old boat steamed slowly up to Liverpool passing through hundreds and hundreds of fishing boats, tugs, trawlers, and craft of all sorts and sizes. The big Cunard liner “Aquitania” was docked there and we felt just as tiny beside her as the tugs who towed us in must have felt beside us. It was misty and dreary that morning much to our disgust, but I have came to realize since then that, at this time of the year at least, the weather is usually just what we encountered on landing.

A great deal of the delay and inconvenience of the Imigration Officer’s examination was saved by our being met by a military officer who hustled us right off with not more than an hour’s wait. The rest of the passengers had to wait for several hours. We managed to get the balance of our Canadian money changed and had a little walk about the city before lunch. By the way I had nearly all my money in English sovereigns and every time I have used it here people almost gasped. It is never seen here now as notes in denominations of 10s. £1 and £$ have taken its place entirely.

After getting our baggage-pardon me, luggage- examined, we took taxis up to Lime St. Station, which as Father informed me is the London & North Western Station, and along with some other soldiers were supplied with transportation warrants and bundled aboard a special train for to know what they are like, and yet they were quite a surprise to me. Their diminutive size, the gayly painted engines, their shrill traction-engine whistles and the strange looking compartment carriages all were new and interesting. In fact the whole outfit might well he described as "cute" But they certainly do make good time and the road beds are very smooth and comfortable.

We were “in darkest London” by seven o'clock, and everything from the search-lights to the mysterious blackness of the streets, was just as you have seen it described scores of time. You will, of course, understand that it is impossible for me to write of many of the things which are of the greatest interest of all, the things which made you realize that this country is actually at war, and which are of course what strike a visitor most forcibly.

Our little party was divided among several hotels. I went to the Victoria on Northumberland Avenue, just a stone's throw from Trafalgar Square. I recognized it even at night by its great stone column and magnificent lions. I don't know why but I always want to sing "Rule Britannia" when I look at those dignified old lions.

My, my, it makes my heard bleed to think of how much I have paid out in taxi fares in London during the past few days. The distances are so great and the streets so impossibly muddled up that walking from one place to another is almost out of the question, so we all rode everywhere. Luckily they are not very expensive over here and a shilling or two will take you quite a distance. The size of the tips is a great surprise to me. To see a man with a uniform like a rear-admiral touching his cap and saying “Thank you, Sir” for a two-penny tip is positively ludicrous to a Canadian. However, the numerous tips that it is necessary to give soon mount up to quite a sum.

Another expensive thing about living at a London hotel is that officers in uniform must live well. There are no "quick lunch joints” and even if there were it would not be "comme il faut” for an officer to eat in them.

We reported at the War Office in uniform on Tuesday and received a very warm greeting. They were very genial and hearty with us which was quite surprising don’t you think so? No, I did not see Kitchener or Lloyd-George or anybody who amounted to anything- just Major Warner, the M.A. one- whatever that means. The War Office is a very busy place. Everyone is in uniform and there are hundreds of people employed there. We did not receive our instructions until to-day and we also received to-day our £50 kit allowance. I understand that some day soon we are to receive some pay and it dates from Dec. 7th when our R.F.C. commissions were granted.

P.L. looked me up yesterday and we had dinner together and went to the Coliseum in the evening.

I wired to George Martyn and received a reply asking me down to Bramshott for a few days. I have not made any arrangements yet, however, as I have not yet got leave for Xmas. Probably I’ll be with him and Had for the day in London, however, and I wired you to-day to that effect.

I must hurry this to a close now as it is getting late. I went to Westminster Abbey this morning and to St. Paul’s yesterday and would like to have written you fully in description of the grandeur of them both, but time forbids. This inn at which we are staying for the night dates back 600 years and is one of the quaintest old places you could possibly imagine. One can picture all sorts of Pickwickian characters seated, around the old fashioned fire-places, and even farther back than that-cavaliers and. round-heads, grand ladies of Elizabeth’s time, old. monks with flagons of ale and bell-decked jesters.

To-morrow we report for duty and shall immediately ask for leave. I shall drop you a card to-morrow giving my address. It may be I shall be here for some time. There are six of us assigned to this school, Dashwood (an English-man) Scandrett, Jarvis, Millman and Kelly and I. Kelly is not particularly congenial but the rest are. I wish Ross could have been with us but he has been sent somewhere else. I have not told Neil Van Nostrand of my arrival yet but am going to wire him to-morrow.

Yours ever,

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