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Date: February 4th 1917
Helen Winterbottom - (sister)
Sydney Winterbottom

Feb. 4, 1917

Dear Helen:

Thank you ever so much for the jake little cake you sent me. It certainly went down good. I was awfully glad to hear you got an extra two weeks holiday on account of the kids developing measles. I guess you often wish they would all "fall down dead" as old Batch used to say about horses breaking into his place.

I was glad to hear about you returning Denton his gold necklace. The beggar must have thought you were mashed on him. Please tell Mom not to ever send Oxo or Cocoa as we have nowhere to cook them in the trenches, but if she would like to send me something I appreciate let it be a tin of home made hard toffee. Gosh! the last one went down good.

There are the dearest little French kids at the house I’m billeted. One of them named Louis is a rosy cheek flaxen haired little boy with fine blue eyes. I ask "madam" his mother to sell him to me for fifteen francs to take home to Canada "apres las guerre". She tells me her husband, a prisoner in Germany, will consider the question "apres la guerre". Yesterday I went into a shop or "epicerie" to buy some potatoes. A fat barrel of a man, a Frenchman, came out. I meant to say "vendez-vous pomme-de-terre ici" but I forgot and said "achetez-vous pomme de terre ici. He looked sourly at me and said "what you want to buy". I darned near fell over with surprise as you usually have to speak French of a sort to make them savy. After this I'll try English first you bet.

I wish you would send me a Kamloops paper. You can't imagine how good they look over here.

Adrians people often send him the Kamloops "noos". It takes a letter, all going well, 23 days to reach me from Kamloops so you understand why you don't hear about the parcels. They take ever so much longer to get here.

We had a route march yesterday and believe me we were pretty tired and hungry at the end of it. Please tell Mum not to worry about my cussing and boozing. I only cuss sometimes, not often. The only booze I take is what rum is issued and an occasional "verre de biere francais" which our landlady presents us with.

I still am trying to grow a moustache likewise Adrian.

Well old kid I'll close with heaps of love to you all,
your loving brother,

P.S. thanks for the photo of us all with bonnets on.


[Editor’s notes: The “bonnet” photo referred to in the letter has been included below, picturing (l. to r.) Jennie, Sydney, and Helen Winterbottom, with Doug Goudie; taken in 1916. Letter transcription provided by collection donor.]

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Original Scans