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Monday, August 8, 2016

26 Dec. 1916 C.C.A.C. Hastings, England

Dear folks,

Well, Christmas is over for another year. Hope the war will be over and that we will all be home before next Christmas. I had a better time here than I had in France last year. Every soldier in Hastings was provided for at some place yesterday. All the soldier's clubs etc. undertook to entertain so many and the people of the town were very hospitable in taking individual soldiers into their homes. At the mess room, a big feed was put on with a concert afterwards. I was at a social in the Presbyterian Church and had a good time. The people here though, haven't got any idea of what a real tea-meeting is like. They did their best, however.

We had a holiday all day and could go anywhere we liked. In the afternoon, Doug, Joycey (another old 5th boy) and I went to an orchestra concert on the pier ...... it was pretty good. We just got out of there in time to come down here for our eats. It would have made it more like Xmas had have come through. I haven't got any yet but it is all on account of the Xmas rush. I suppose most of it went to France and it is hard to have anything returned from there at Xmas. I never should have told you to keep on sending it there. Just while I think of it, you might tell Miss Fairbairn to sent the news to C.A.M.C. Depot, Dibgate Camp,Shorncliffe. I'll be there before long

Well, there isn't much news to tell about my doings here for I'm not doing anything but I'm getting tired of my job. We can't go away from our houses until after 4;30 unless we are on a fatigue party and there are lots of those.

I'll finish telling you about my leave although you will no doubt have had it all from Bill before you get this. while we were in Edinburgh, we looked up the directory and found a Mrs. A. Skilling so we decided that we would take a run out and see who they were.

We found the address after a little trouble and had to ring 2 or 3 times before we could get them to answer the door. They live in an apartment house and anyone who rings generally goes right on up the stairs. At last, they came down and so we told her that we had seen their name in the directory and just thought we would look them up as it was such an uncommon name. she was very nice and invited us upstairs. After we had sat down. she proceeded to give us the history of the Skillings as far as she knew.

Her husband was an Andrew Skilling , a Captain of a coasting steamer and died of enteric fever (Typhoid Fever) that he contracted at Calais. She was left with two children, a girl, and a boy. The son is called Andrew and is at present in France (19) and her daughter (17) is at home going to school. She is quite a singer and could play the piano too if she had some good instruction. she is training for a teacher.

Mrs. Skilling's mother lives in the same flat with them. I can't remember her name. They seem in fairly comfortable circumstances and live in a respectable place. She told us a lot about her husband's brothers and father and grandfathers, but it was such a conglomeration of names etc. that I couldn't begin to write it out. Probably Bill will attempt to tell you. I can remember that she had her husband's people traced back to a Jew who went from London to Jamaica and married a Negress. He was very wealthy and what concerned Mrs. Skilling most was that some lawyer went through the estate for them and then disappeared.

They gave us an invitation to come back and see them anytime we were in Edinburgh. I would like to go back there again in the summer time. The fall is certainly not the right time of the year to go up to that country.

We left Edinburgh for Yorkshire next afternoon but I think I told you about that before.

Your letter written to France (#18 Gen. Hosp.) has not arrived yet. It would no doubt be forwarded by them to the Canadian Records Office and they would send it to CCAC. The month I was away on leave was the cause of the big ball up in my mail. I am sure there is mail at the CCAC post office for me that I can't get. There are thousands of parcels there unclaimed. They don't seem to make much effort to find out where they belong. I don't think it is worthwhile sending any more as long as I am in Eng. for they will only be an expense for nothing because I'll likely ..... some of them anyway. And tell Rose not to bother with the papers as they have to be handled so many times too. This is the end of my paper so I'll have to ring off.

Lovingly,

Harold

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