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Date: March 1916

[transcription provided by collection donor]

Mar 3, 1916
We left Victoria at midnight. All our boys were sober & in good spirits. A number of St. Joseph’s nurses were down to the boat to see me off.

Mar 4, 1916
Left Vancouver at 9 am sharp. Two of our boys missed the train. At Kamloops one of our boys who showed signs of Rheumatic Fever was sent to the hospital. We had a very nice trip through the Rockies.

At Calgary I took the boys for a march & gave them a run. They are no source of anxiety & behave well. On leaving Calgary our train was broken up & we went ahead as a troop train. Ran into a blizzard all the way to Winnipeg; here a section of the Ammunition Column joined us. Lft. Sherlock & Lft. Edgecombe in charge. They are dandy chaps & we had a good time together. At Smith Falls Capt Kruger of the A.C. joined us. He was through the South African war fighting for Canada. We stopped at St. Henry at Montreal & gave the boys a walk.

Proceeded on to St. John by the Intercolonial Railway. We were served good meals & had a dandy time.

Mar 11, 1916
We sailed at 5pm & next morning we were going along the coast of Nova Scotia. In the afternoon we entered Halifax Harbour & anchored. We are all in the dark & nobody can go ashore & no visitors allowed to approach the boat.

Mar 17, 1916
Sailed from Halifax with the Lapland at 7am escorted by a warship. We were escorted all the way across & two days out from England five torpedo boat destroyers joined us. The trip was an enjoyable one. We had two concerts. Everyday the men were paraded & given some form of exercise. On board there was a gym. In it were electric horses & camels so we exercised on those. I must say we spent the greater part of the day playing five hundred. Capt Kruger & I defeated all comers at this game. We held a sports day & had pick-a-back wrestling, cockfighting, pillow fighting, bricking the buck & many other games. The last three days on board everyone had to carry their life preserver all the time, even down to meals. Speaking of meals, all I can say is that I did not get one square meal on board & also that I did not get seasick & was always hungry. I took over two pounds of lemon drops & they were a great treat between meals.

Mar 25, 1916
We approached Liverpool & docked at 7:30 pm. On board I met Lft Col. Hurdman, ship’s O.C. Mr. Sherlock from Winnipeg was a great friend & we had plenty of fun together. Mr. Edgecombe & Capt Kruger of the Ammunition Column, Lft. Griffiths R.A.M.C. Capt Richards is a dam fool. Lft Col Whatton, C.A.M.C. Capt Bennett, CAMC. Capt Roache of Ottawa who I do not like for no particular reason. Major Trotter of St Johns, Que, a very fine man. (?) Ian Walker RAMC.

Mar 26, 1916
We entrained at 3:30 am & went to Sandgate where we arrived at 1:30pm. Here we were billeted along with Capt Pratt CAMC who was attached to us. We were now taken from the draft & had to join the training school here. Prospect House was the headquarters: Capt Clark O.C.

Mar 27, 1916
Stung. Thought I would get to the actual front in a few weeks but now know that it will be months before I can get there. There are more doctors here than they need; also find out that a scuttle of coal costs nine pence & our room is cold.

Mar 31, 1916
Capt Pratt & I got leave and went to London. It was a night of a Zeppelin raid & we were eleven hours getting there. At London found Hotel Cecil full, also the Savoy, so went over to the Waldorf. Had a great time in London though for three nights the Zeppelins came, they did little damage and two of them were destroyed. Capt Pratt is a greenhorn & bothered me with all sorts of dam fool questions such as why didn’t they make all the streets straight & why don’t the English play baseball. He got me quite mad. I tried to lose him but he stuck to me like a leech.

At London I met Mr. Penny, a McGill friend of mine who is in the Royal Artillery & had been over to France. Met Otto Demuth, another McGill man, RAMC & had tea with him. Also met Mr. A. (?) Hunt of Victoria at the Cecil. They were all looking fine. At the Strand Palace met Tom Lynch, another McGill man. He just came in from the front & went to bed. Tom looked fine & told me he saw some blueprints at the front signed by W.J. Connolley, a great friend of mine.

I have made up my mind that I won’t take Capt Pratt of St. John, N.B. out with me again. Wish I could get attached to a unit as I dread the idea of getting attached to a hospital here. Of course at night everything in dark, no light is allowed to be shown, so we must go home & kill time around the house.