Letter – I am out of my teens – September 2, 1914
Signal Corps Q.O.R., Valcartier P.Q.
I am out of my teens at last, twenty-one next birthday.
We got inoculated the day before the 30th and were laid up. Last time my tonsils were taken out. We are attached to the 6th Batt, 2nd Brigade – but get shifted to the 9th Batt, 3rd Brigade tomorrow or today in the re-shifting of the camp. Sam Hughes was round yesterday looking at the camp and changing the organization generally. Signalers are in demand, strange to say, sixteen to a Battalion, (and four to each company). They are for semaphore only and are picked up from the men of the company. We are just about up to strength in our battalion.
The boots here are good, but yet we still have not been issued them. We have no uniforms either. They are issuing plain khaki with no shoulder straps, and puttees, tan boots, and forage caps. I will send back the old suit I have now, and some things I don’t need. I hope you will send on the old grey sweater coat for sure, as it is invaluable. I seem to have come off pretty well as to equipment having grease and a can and a big knife, besides having silk flags, all of which are in demand. About the supplies, I think this, with the boots will see me through as Grimnel boots are ex…
The put up good food here and plenty of it. It is rough but filling. We have no orders about leaving for England or anywhere else, and may not go for a month. They supply a pair of glasses to every three men on service, so I hope we will not have to supply any. We have no equipment yet of any sort. Four silk flags to 13 signalers, no helios or lamps. I hope the photos I sent to Eaton’s came to you alright. I sent two rolls. One or two of them were sure misses –owing to over exposure and shaking. I wanted to take the bathing parade but I daren’t send it home so I didn’t.
Your loving Hugh
Leter – There is another riot – September, 1914
There is another riot tonight. A movie picture show was burnt down. They charged the men twice for the same picture and they got mad, piling the tent and the machine in a heap and setting fire to it. We were all called out and sent back again. There were 3 alarms last night. 600 remounts stampeded and made an awful racket. A whole bunch of them got into the river and swam around until they stuck in the mud. They were still chasing after them when reveille sounded. They had teams pulling them out but they stuck.
Seale and I went for a swim on Sunday following the 100 of the Winnipeg and the rest of the 11th Battalion. Among them were the Moose Jaws – the whole battalion got lost and went a mile and a half trying the bathing place before they woke up. About three dozen broke away and went on a swim on their own, Seale and I among them. The river was beastly cold, the Jacques Cartier. We came back by the river side and ran into a whole bunch of Dragoon Officers and trench people in the narrow path leading down to the river.
Seale was telling me about his summer. He had earned quite a lot of dough, and went through the Ontario towns, stopping in a different hotel every night. I saw Jack Diamond at the ranges. He is a corporal, and is in great demand. He was listening to the sergeant of the Dufferin Rifles, who had been through the S.A. War, rather like listening to the tales of the Spanish Main.
Bob Cronch and I were just coming back from seeing Seale last night. We nearly got pinched for laughing at…We saw a horseman come up behind us in the dark, and I told Bob that the fellows horse’s legs were going round. Instantly the man wheeled and charged his horse at me, I jumped aside. He charged again, and I was straining to grab his reigns when he stopped and cursed aloud, and requested a man near to get a guard. Bob and I both saw it was our own officer by the stripes on him. Bob said he didn’t know he was one, whereupon after we apologized, we beat it.
Letters may be stopped from going out of camp soon, but it is unconfirmed by the officers. There is a tent full of representative Englishmen, and a mixture of Irish and Canadians to add to the turmoil, and they are everlastingly sniffling about something or other.
Your loving Hugh
Thanks for the soap, taken without hints. The picture show is still blazing, rather than smoking.