[Published in the newspaper The Ladysmith Chronicle, February 27, 1915.]
LETTER FROM TOM SIMPSON
The Chronicle has received the following letter from Private Tom Simpson, dated as Larkhill, Salisbury Plain, February 7th:
DEAR SIR: – Just a line thanking you for The Chronicle which I have just been informed that you have been sending to me. I may as well tell you that we had an inspection by the King on Salisbury Plain and it was a great review. First the king came and inspected the men in the ranks, some thirty thousand of them all told, and then the march past the stand commenced. The Canadian Royal Horse Artillery lead, followed by Strathcona’s Horse, and then came the Canadian Royal Field Artillery, the Royal Canadian Dragoons, independent corps, followed by the Canadian Cycle Corps, the Armored Motor Corps and last, but not least, came the infantry, and I may tell you that the regulars have not so much on them on the march.
The Highlanders made a picturesque spectacle as they marched past with the pipes playing and their kilts swinging, but they did not look any more businesslike than we did.
It may interest you to know that I am gunner on a Colt Automatic gun which fires four hundred and fifty shots a minute. We have been on the ranges every day for two weeks, firing about two thousand rounds a day. It is only about fifteen miles to the ranges and back and believe me it is some walk. We have been issued with first aid bandages and complete field kit and will be out of England in two days or so.
I am enclosing a photo of the gun I am on. The photo is not a first class one by any means as the day was too dull. There are three Vancouver boys on the gun with me.
I am enclosing a card which I just found in my kit and thought it might interest you and as it is of no use to me I may as well send it along.
I am certainly tickled to death to get out of here as it is the worst I ever experienced, the mud is ankle deep and it is no ordinary mud either, but a miserable chalky sort that sticks like glue. I don’t care much for Salisbury Plain but outside of that it is all right. I must close now as I have some work to do. I suppose the old place is just the same and all the boys are still around. I may get back there some of these days and see you all. So long for the present. If you wish to write to me, my address is 13,306 Pte. T. Simpson. Machine Gun Section, 5th Western Cavalry, First Canadian Contingent Overseas Forces.
P.S. – Give my regards to all my old friends at home.