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Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 1916 Letter # 45 ~ The 4 month battle of the Somme has begun

Can Hospital
July 11 1916
Dear Mother 
          There is absolutely no news to tell you only that I am quite well and as fat as ever.  It has been raining here for at least two weeks off and on every day.  Had a letter from Jim Ross the other day he has been in France for nine months and has never been hit yet.  Of course he may be dead by this time.  The general feeling of the people here is that the war will be over this fall I don’t say anything but people that talk that way are those that have never saw it.  This is sure one great offensive that the Allies are launching but it is small in comparison to the German drive from Mons.  This country is literally covered with Khaki, even the old ladies have their kids dressed up in a juvenile officers outfit.  The girls are having their dresses made in a military cut and the girls that are taking men’s places are using short shirts and leggings.  The girls that are helping on farms wear bloomers and puttees, looks very funny to us fellows but the College girls, Society people all go out on weekends and make hay etc.  They think they are very patriotic but they don’t do enough work to feed themselves, this is sure one funny country.
I asked one farmer what they had all those stone hedges up for “to keep one of those potato patches from running in to one another” He said no they were all fields when I started to laugh he got as sore as he could and told me “that you bleeding Canadians think you know everything” It sure is amusing.
This hospital is sure in full swing now but I can’t say as I am all together in love with it.  It makes on laugh to hear these 99th Contingent ginks talking and flying around when about fifty patients come in I wonder what they would do if they were handling them by the thousands like we were in France.  Most of these fellows here are the men that just came over from Canada last spring.  Well I wonder if VV got through in her exams don’t forget to let me know soon.  Remembrance to Dad and VV and write soon

 This soldier of the Royal Canadian Regiment is wearing the Canadian 1903 service uniform. This is the Canadian version of the British M1902 uniform adopted after experience in the Boer war showed the value of a simple and inconspicuous uniform. This uniform differs from the British in that it has 9 buttons instead of 7 a standing collar, detachable shoulder straps and pointed cuffs. This uniform was used by the First Canadian Contingent for about a year and by new recruits in training for the duration of the war. The cloth wrappings around the lower legs are known as puttees. The detachable shoulder straps were coloured, dark blue for the infantry, green for rifles, red for artillery and yellow for cavalry

 "Gink" is a term referring to a man, especially one regarded as foolish or contemptible.

I'm travelling right now and seem to be missing a page of the original letter here ~ will re-scan it in once we are back home.  The transcription above is complete.



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