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Date: February 17th 1917

Witley Camp

Sat. Feb 17th. 1917

My Dear Mother

I received your lovely box yesterday with the cake & butter in it - The butter is lovely & in perfect condition, I enjoyed it more than anything. The cake is fine & I like it better than any you have sent me except the Xmas cake which is my favorite - I was very glad to get the sugar as you know we cannot get that here & potatoes are 16 pounds per ton! Just immagin that. I tell you if grub is any more scarce in Germany than it is here it is going some.

I am writing this letter in bed at 7 P.M. so excuse the writing - if it is any worse than usual. I was kind of billious this morning so I came up to the hut & roled in & had a good sleep till about 4 P.M. (sleep any time & any place now) & woke up feeling fine.

I got a letter from Aunt Emm today in receipt of the letter I wrote her thanking her for the parcel she sent me.

John de Pencier is in Shorncliff now as I had a letter from him a couple of days ago - he has lost his stripe & is a gunner now - any N.C.O. that comes over here in a draft loses his strip on landing, we were a Unit from Vancouver & kept our N.C.O.'s.

Yesterday afternoon they took two subs., A, & D. from the 3rd. Sec & went out into a big common not far from here - when we got there they made us unharness & piquet our animals then we had to strip our harness - take every bit of it apart - loose (?) & all & through it in a pile on the ground. You know I am a (?) driver but they had me on a 18 lb. limbers as a lead driver. Well now when we got the alarm we had to harness up (put it all together) hook in - drive 200 yrds, unlimber our wagons & come back, Lieu. Cook offered a box of cigars to the winning team, well the team I was with won it & our time was 16 ½ minutes, the second team did it in 17 m. & so on. We won by having a dare-devil for a wheel driver we were almost hooked in, the swing driver & myself got mounted while the wheel driver had another trace to do up - the team next us was all hooked up & the drivers were just mounting when Happy (wheel driver) yelled to me to give her H- & he was on the ground well I started on the gallop & he ran in & jumped on to the trail of the waggon body then over the limber body & up the pole between his team while they were galloping - if he had slipped off the pole ten chances to one he would have been run over by a limber waggon full of 18 pouches ammunition (68 rounds) which would have finished him very likely. They are (?) it to us pretty stiff now, are out all hrs. of the night with all our worldly belongings - some night we will never come back, that is how we will leave here very likely. But you will get a card or something from me if possible before we sail for France.

You know Mamma I would love to role into my nice little bed upstairs at home with clean sheets & night shirt, it would be such a change from my dirty old grey blankets that are half full mule hair & ect., as when we go out we pack our blankets on the back of our off mule - I have a horse & a mare & call them King & Nell - Nell is just like our Nell at home as she will kick the daylights out of other mules but she has never lifted a foot at me since I had her (middle of Jan.) King is a fine looking animal but tricky & he has to be watched he is the one that bust my watch, he is taller than I am at the withers so it is an awful stretch to get on him (I ride him)

Feb. 18th. 2 P.M. (Sunday)

Well I was to church this morning as usual & feel fine. Whyte & I are going down to West's tonight after stables, we go down almost every Sunday night & it is kind of a change from Barracks.

Love & huggs for all

from your own Bill

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