Letter to Mother from Bramshot Camp, Hants

Bramshot Camp

Dear Mother:– 

It is 8.15 P.M. and I have spent ever since supper boxing and played second to young David in a boxing match against young Harris who is a friend of mine and he has asked me to spend Xmas holidays at his home in London if we get leave at all which is an important matter with lots of the boys these days, I saw Harris father on Wed. he was down for a visit for a visit for a few hours or mayby for only one hour I would like to spend a week on vacation once more before we go to France but if we don’t get it I will not be disappointed at all for it has never entered my head to go until about the last two days. Oh about the boxing match Davis is a husky young tough who is always broak and begging cigarettes until the boys wont give him many more but they got talking about boxing and the winner would get some cigarettes. well I don’t know what made Harris say he would box but he did any way and he got licked but it dident hurt him any, he’s a lot bigger taller and should buck the Davis in too but he dident any way. I got a swat tonight that made my nose bleed for a minuit or two then I was at it again. that is the third time in my life that it has bled from boxing gloves

An imperial Sergeant Major came here to see his son to day and instead of waiting at the door for him to come out he walked right in, and the guard had to report to his corporal any way our Major came to the door in about two minuets and asked for the S.M. to come out then the major put on a most sarcastic smile and rubbed in all the smooth sarcasam that he could and took him to the orderly room to see if he could let him go at all or would have to keep him in the hut with use. Simply all a crooked bluff, for they give use tools to work with every day that are taken in and out with men not in quarantine. they sent one of our boys to the Dentist today and our orderly is in and out about a dozen times aday. the health corporal comes in and out all he likes and, then, they put a corporal over the S.M. to see that he did not toutch his son when they said good bye did you ever here of the beat. The mail man has been in twice aday all along, we had a good old day out on the trench just spent 5 hours out there all day. There is about an inch of snow today and I think an inch of frost too, but our hut is comfy and there is no frost on the windows at all. Stanley Deason was called up today in 5th draft so we won’t get away together after all. One of the boys got a few Onwards today and some Christian Guardians which I liked to see but I never lack there is always all kinds of good reading to feast on when I don’t want to read the bible, I am going to have lunch I have a piece of bread to toast and some margerine and a can of jam I am getting spoiled in this hut, but will soon be out and Xmas will be over then I will get down to business again, there is nothing like the three meals a day and early up, I can eat and sleep and never think of wanting a lunch like I used to, I just seemed to get right down to army life over here for so long I wanted something sweet after each meal but the last two months I would sooner not have a thing I quit buying candy, and once in a while I would get some candy but I would kick my self for it would make me not feel like eating so hearty the next meal so I got turned against any thing sweet different than I ever was before in my life. It wont take long to spoil me again when I get back home tho, I guess, for in here we have not been working hard and sleep from about 10 to 7.30 and eat a lot of cake jam and toast very nearly every meal I make toast the bread is good very good but a little heavier than Canadian bread.  

12.05 noon 16th

We spent about 2.30 out on the trench a dandy A.M. the sun shining warm and the snow thawing I think there is about 2 ½ inches of frost this a.m. but there wont be much left by night. We have got used to the trench digging now and don’t feel sore at S.M. but I guess we will have to pay the penalty that I told you about in an orther letter. The mail just came in and there is a tin box of cake for me I don’t know the writing am anchious to be able to guess where it is from before I open it. there is no post mark on it at all I am tickled over it any way it too 30¢ to bring it. I must go to dinner. Well dinner is over we had oceans of mulligan bread and pudding with great big dried peaches on it it was great. Our pudding yesterday at noon was the best the army has ever put up that I have tasted yet the pudding sauce was deliciouse any one in civilian cloths could not have but said that it was good. well I am going to open my box of case to see who sent it then I am going to shave and wash my hair.

We are done polishing or brass I think for we had packed all the polish up to send home when we were quarantined and I hope they don’t request use to dig it up again.

The cake is opened and in side is a slip saying “Compliments of the Season from Ladies Aux. Vanguard,” then Platoon underneath they must have made a mastake in puting that platoon on there for they know I an’t in that Vanguard platoon in the 209th The cake looks a dandy but I an’t going to cut it till after supper I don’t think for I ate a big dinner. I will have to write the President of this Auxilary a few lines and than her for the cake.

I have marked out here [about a five-inch square] the size of the box I think the cake was cooked right in it, about 2 ½ inches deep I have marked out here the hight of the cake I am proud of it I think it will be good, These boys can talk all they like about the W.C.T.U. and etc. but if these wemen who are sending out these cakes paterned after them they would be buying cigarettes and smoking them to drowned the conscience that told them they should be doing some thing for their country. Mother more and more each day I see and realize how cunning old Satan is Maby I should change what I said up about and say that I am proud of wemens organizations all over every land and this little cake has made me think realize how it must make tens of thousands of boys own our land on the different battle fronts and in the training camps. It is a Christian impulse and not a hellish that promotes such work.

I have been boxing to night and we got to mixaing pretty hard but I dident get a punch that fized on me at all but still when ever Basset would hit me at all he would look at the boys and laugh so since I started to tell you about it I feel more than I did before that it got my goat, and I tied into him heavy, and now I am wondering if I shouldn’t cut out boxing all together. I don’t feel sore at him and dident get mad for I had controle of myself all thru but any way I guess it an’t right for he sure got some hard punches, but you know the big gloves don’t bump a fellow up but they put him against the wall pretty hard lots of times. He is heavier than I and about a half inch shorter so we are well matched in those ways he weighs about 20 lbs the most but not on the punch. The mail just come in I got that monthly bible magazine you forwarded to me. I will read it thru tomorrow. I an’t on fatigue tomorrow as I was last sunday and we expect to get out of here on the 19th so next week will go quick.

I don’t like this paper it don’t work good with a pencil I like that onion skin but this is what the orderly brot me so I dident kick but took it.

Sunday 10.40 a.m. Well Mother I have spent the a.m. reading that B.F.B.S. monthly it is real good I wish you had it at home now to read. I think I had better subscribe for it. I will get a lot of good out of it and I have such an interest in that kind of literature, I would like to be a missiary if I yet I would I would study it after the war There is nothing like it in the world. It is only on certain occasions that definite work can be done among these boys for they are so indifferent about the things of the spirit, they do not cast a thot but I feel sure the time is surely coming for a big change in there feelings just before the boys face the cold lead they will surely think and if I am spared to spend any length of time with them surely God will use me to bring about his desire up on earth and and we all realize what that is to – well The only thing I can do now is study his word and watch my life so as to give him every opertunity to mold it into his way and to fell every desire of his so that I won’t miss an opertunity to say or word or do an act for him thru helping my comrades.

I more than wish that I could get out to church service to night it would be a treat to get away from the boys again for a few miniuts and talk with Mead and Payne down at the S.C.A. I think it will be a few days before we get called up surely, Xmas day a week from tomorrow just think how the time his been flying it out long since my last birthday and I have been in the army over 8 months and it don’t seem like any length of time since Elmer, Alice, Ted and I went up to M.J. last spring It is still freezing I guess last night was the coldest night we have ever spent in Eng. for the frost formed on the window a little and it never did before. next Friday is the shortest day then it wont be long we wont know where the time has gone until we can see the days getting longer again. I guess life is short at its best the way the times seem to slip along It would be great to live a life that was so satisfactory to our concience that they could feel the could not do better if they had it to live over again but it is far from me.

 [Written up the side margins of pages 1 and 3]

The paymaster just come to the door and called use out to get our pay they only gave use 10 shillings I suppose they will pay use again before any of the boys go on Xmas leave There is some reason for cutting down the pay I have quite a bit of change besides two pounds saved up for any future use so you wont need to send me any money to France I will get along all right with the pay they give use over there.

[Written up the side margin of last page] Well good bye Mother dear I hope you folk have an easy winter out there for it make it much nicer. I feel that this is being an easy winter over here all around if it only holds out.

As ever your dearest son Laurie.

I suppose you will soon be in Dak with Annie.