Sunday, September 22, 2013

25 April 1916 France

Dear Mother Father and the Rest:
Since writing to you last time we have been moved and all 3 sections are together now for the first time since last October. Our section is just doing fatigues for the others at present and we never know when we are going to be called to do some job or other.
All last week we were having a rest and with the exception of a parade at 2 pm could have most of the day to ourselves. As luck would have it, the weather was rainy and we had to stay in our huts most of the day. However we were able to get into town one or two afternoons and got to see a vaudeville show that is running there. The troupe is called “The Fancies” and is entirely made up of soldiers. The management are constantly on the look-out for talent in any Battalion in the Division and if possible they have them transferred to the theatrical troupe. Nearly all the sketches are original and written by the players. They give a dandy 2 hour concert every night and they always get a crowded house. There is a movie show in the town also and “the Coldstream Guards” band plays every day afternoons and evenings alternately. The pictures are good too but the Guards’ Band is a real treat. There are about 50 instruments and they play a splendid variety of selections. There is a system where the different regiments of guards take turns in sending a band out here to give concerts etc. Each one takes a 3 month turn.
Since coming down to our camp here we have been blessed with good weather all but a day or so. Good Friday and the next day it rained steadily all the time but since Easter Sunday it has been just great. We are under canvas here (some of us) and can well do with a spell of sunny weather. All the tents have to be daubed with brown or green coloured paint to make them inconspicuous from the air otherwise a Taube would spot them and have a bomb on us before we knew where we were at.
I rec’d your letter of Apr. 1 ok and was glad to know you are all well. You certainly must be busy when there are so many socials etc. going on and everyone is so busy knitting . I am sure that is all foolish stuff about soldiers having to pay for sox. I have never heard of an instance of it and I am sure it is not so. That is one thing they do for us out here. They give us lots of warm clothes and a bath (shower) and clean underwear and sox and towel as often as possible, at least once every two weeks.
There is also a good supply of food and we seldom if ever go hungry. Of course there are no frills but with lots of good bread (and it is good) jam and often butter and tea with bacon in the morning and stew at noon, if the grub is cooked well, the boys have no complaints.
I don’t think it would be worthwhile sending pyjamas. They are more use in the hospitals than to us, besides it is hard to carry too much stuff like that.
There has been no word rec’d here yet about a transfer. One of the boys told me he had heard in a letter from Canada that I was going back. Is it common talk that I am going back? It is a corker how a rumor spreads eh?
Is Ontario really going dry? The reform wave has struck Belgium too and after today April 25 no English beer or stout is to be sold in the estaminets here. Nothing except a special French beer. I think something like “Social Option” stuff. It will be a good thing for the boys and the army as well.
I understand Captain Brink is quartered here just now and am going to look him up first chance I get. Have not seen Billy Redburn for sometime but there are rumors of his outfit moving forward to another trip up to the Advanced D. S. soon again. We can never tell what is coming off though. There has been some pretty stiff fighting going on around our division recently as you will have seen by the casualty lists and paper o/ccs. The tide seems to be turning down in Mesopotamia however and things ought to be happening down there before long.
It is time for this to be posted so will ring off for this time. Hope everyone is well.

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