Letter to Mother from Bramshot Camp, Hants

Bramshot Camp

Dear Mother:–

I was just reading one of your old letters and you mention having mentioned not to let them take me prisoner well I have no idea of letting them take me prisoner but any way I will only fight when I have a chance for I would not be afraid to be taken prisoner, a man would be just comiting suicide some times to show fight and he might just as well wait one can act so he can get shot any times if he don’t want to stand what he is up against, if you ever say any thing and don’t get a chance to correct it if you desire to, don’t worry about it for God is going to guide me thru to his own honor and glory for I am going to ever do his will on earth. They tell use about a man named Etherage who was in 16 platoon but got split upon with his palls in the last draft, he was rough and dispated and yet as he bid his palls good bye he broak down, I guess these men who have not made there peace with God are thinking as they never thot before, and me it is not bothering at all I am living wraped upin the assurance that God is as present with me as any of my palls and will see me thru to life everlasting or thru the war.

I don’t know what started Miss Hurd to write every week just at the time I told you I didn’t care or I hoped she would not write again and I would not have to answer the letters well just after she started to write every week I stoped for she had written four weeks strait and had not received a letter from me up to that time I had written to here every week I think I would answer each letter as it came. I would like to write to you folks at home all I write but still a man has to keep in touch with his old friends. I write to Mrs Peel and M about once a month.

The old lady I met at the S.A. the Sunday I was in Whitley I told you in a letter about her. Well she asked me to call into her rented room at Milford just before I went into S.S. I said would I thot of you being in her place and then thot it might cheer her and I tell you we had a great chat over our Christian lives we had a lunch together, I tried to drink her cup of tea, to please her and you know how I like black tea after I am full of a good dinner and milk to drink no I think I had cocoa that day. after that we talked about 45 minuits, and we prayed together, then I left well I am glad I went to see here it done me good as well as my visit must have helped her. she must be 65 years old and is real jolly and full of the spirit of God.

Mother Dear, It may not seem possible for you to believe, but I am changed since I was home the last time. It was a sad summer I put in at C.H. and I was sad when I left home but then the closer I got to C.H. the more I got over it, It was raining hard that night and I was with Bob Mc We went into a canteen down town and and eat a pie and some cookies and then ran on home in the rain, our tunics were pretty well soaked and our pant legs were wet thru but any way I was cheerful and all together different than before I do get blue once in a while here but it don’t last long and I always fell good, cheerful, and ready to kick up some fun right away again. And my work here is a joke instead of a grind like I used to fell it at C.H. I would go out in the A.M. and wish for noon the same after noon but now the time slips away and I wonder where it is gone. Well knowing so well how I felt at C.H. you will hardly beleave what I say about this life now. Mother the picture I got of the times the boys had of the 1st contingent and then how I have found things are just as different as day and night.

I believe there is wrong pictures going home from here, judging from the way the boys talk because if the Cornel line use up and gave use a five lb. note apiece these same men would turn around an curse him because it was not 4 times that size. It an’t because they need any thing better than they have but because they have acquired the habit of kicking about every thing that comes along. Bob Mc is the loudest fellow if he was only a Christian he would be well a prince that’s all and there is so many of the boys just like that but they go to ruin because they wont fully develop all there opertunities he is keeping good tho he don’t associate with bad girls or drink a drop he has never tasted any kind of dope in his life but he makes pills and talks rough and plays cards he done all these as you know before he enlisted at all so he is staying just as he was only the habits are getting deeper rooted. My heart goes out to these boys when I see them drunk some times I have sat on my bunk and the tears would run down my face when they would come in realing drunk. And most of the boys know how I feel, I tell a lot of them and some try to do different for a while, then after they never for get me when they are drunk and see me they make straight for me to talk about something one said the other day that every man that wants any thing he always make straight for Cunningham to get it, There is an old man here by the name of McDonald and he never looses a chance to give me a word of encouragement in my Christian life right up in front of all the rest and he is a rough man playes jokes night after night, and does all the other things that go with it as far as I can see, but I never noticed him or don’t remember him until he got into this draft but he joined the batt. 8 days before we left C.H. I ran chances of getting licked the other day, we always have benches on four sides of the stove and a table back of each of two of the tables, one fellow who is generally holding down his share of the seat sitting on it got a notion that he would like to sleep on one and keep a bunch of it well I thot I would like to sit down but seeing he had all the bench I sat on the table behind him, and then a little deviltry crept into me, as I looked down at the bench for they are built collapsible like your little sewing table. I thot of letting it colapse, well it was no sooner thot of than my toes had done it and down came the boy well he jumped up and every one was just busting he said some thing to one and end up by making a motion at me he I’ll smash you one, he said I jumped of the table and says smash me as fast as you like but he had no inclination to do it. Well it was a good joke but, I should not have said what I did it just tickled all the boys but I had to ask forgiveness for it and felt guilty, I should have just let him talk and not said any thing for this fighting an’t any good Well a thing I realized about it was that I didn’t say that mad like I would have seven months ago, I was only fooling and I could not get the smile off of my face for a quarter of a day. We an’t mad at each other it never came into any mind to be and yet I would have fought if he had hit me,

Well mother I must quit for tonight I have spent ever since supper at 5 P.M. til 7.40 I have to look over Litary Digestes and study my little bible. I wish so much that I could keep it with me but I can’t and it is all right I think someone in the crowd will have one when I have time to study. I must make my pack as light as I possibly can I am going out to fight and do all I can for country and God there is no King taken into consideration he is no better to me than any of my palls and I wouldent go out in to no mans land an inch for a v.c. but I may go for some of the boys, If it is ever my lot. Good night mother dear.

Fri. night   8th        5.50     It is a nice clear night the stars and moon are very bright, and it is like a night in Sept. at home no frost at all today we have been out on the ditch all day and there was about 26 of use every time I would think I would count the boys that were working to the amount that were leaning on a pick or shovel. I could always count about 15 men looking on to one shoveling or picking so you know that if 1100 men were out all would dig quite a trench in a day. te. he. I’ll bet the boys won’t lean on there pick when shells are coming over The 4th draft is called out today 180 men, we will be in for over a week yet before doctor inspects it will be the 19th I think, we may get to France by Xmas yet. Stanley Deason was turned down for this draft today he had to get some work done on his teeth he may get in the draft with me yet, I  hope he does, just after supper the lights went out. Bob Mc and Mitchel and I got on our bunk and talked about old Hazenmore times but when the lights come on it spoiled it all. we only were out 9.15 till 12 this a.m. and from 2.15 till 4.00 tonight just enough for exercise         

Dec.9th ’16
1.30 P.M.

Dear Mother All we done all forenoon was fool around and have a bath, then dinner then a lad cut my hair and you should see me remember the old time hair cutts where they turned a bowel upside down and cut all hair the was left below well that is the style, but the only satisfaction is that it will grow out again. I received a good box of candy cake and cookies from Myrtle yesterday. Bob Mitchel and I had a cookie each after dinner. a cupple of the boys are boxing one upset a pail of dish water on the floor he is sweeping it out now. 

1st chron. 5 – 20

The corporal that just took the last draft to France tells use that you can’t here the guns at the first Canadian base where he left the boys, and he says the boys start to work slowly from there to the Front a short march a day. he said it was weter here than over there we can’t here any guns here unless out where the boys are shooting there different coarses or else bombing or something like that. I don’t think it will be as bad as we have thot I won’t believe it until I see and I will tell you if it is but don’t worry. we have seven miles to march after landing on a good hard road, we take lots of rashions from here to do us till landing. I am glad he went so we have an idea what the first of our trip will be like the draft boys are issued with Le Enfield rifles at base and helmets to make the bullets glance off of there craniums. I had a great old boxing bout after dinner. It rained  heavy last night and the sun is shining bright today. it is warm. We put it over on the Sergeant M. this A.M. he told use to fall in at the same job as yesterday but we all hollered out that we were all on bath parade he wanted to know what time so the boys said 10.15 and that spoiled the forenoon so we did not go out with shovels at all. You knew that we have no camp guards the way we had at C.H. which helps, I have not been on guard once since I came to Eng. but you see it is good training for the boys at camp to learn how to hault an enemy and etc. I liked to be on guard all right. but not if it rained while on duty.

Sunday 10.15 A.M. I am on hut orderly today with an American by the name of Car, first I started the fire up it was not near out tho so it was no job and a nice morning then I had to put on piece of butter on each of 29 rashions of bread then I made a cupple of pieces of toaste and had a dish of porridge and syrup two helpings of salmon and rice which is go, the salmon is first class money could not buy better. Mother I am afraid I am growing up at last for I have got over that candy notion I used to have. I don’t care for it like I used to at all. I have got so used to getting up at the same time and having three meals at the same time and the same size each day that I have no use for cookies or candy before going to bed or between meals, for it is just like this, I can make an awfull meal of any chuck if hungry and to eat candy between meals makes me come in not feeling like eating so, I just seemed to turn on the sweet stuff unless I am out for a meal then I eat a meal of sweet stuff for a change entirely. The sun is shining fine today not a bit of frost in the night it rained some tho.

Last Sunday I remember sitting at the table where the boys were playing poker and reading my bible, today when I woke up the first thing I remember hearing two of the boys say, was I’ll go you to not play cards to day and the other I’ll not tutch them today at all.

I will have to quit and seal this I want it to go out today for I have heard that the mail should get started today to get Monday Canadian mail service but the notice in the S.A. says Monday at 7 ½ P.M. is all right.