A fat envelope postmarked 20 AUG 1917
'Canadian Soldier Letter'
addressed by Charley to his Mother; Mrs M T L Lloyd,
La Claire Hotel, Garry Street, Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada.
Two of the letters are to his mom and dad, one is written to his sister V.V.
August 20, 1917 (postmark)
3 letters in envelope
Westenhaugen, Kent England
As you see I have changed my address again and as yet can not say if I am on my way for France or not. Nor do I care a great deal. My friends from Buxton left this morning after being here for a week and I sure did enjoy their company if it was only for a week. Just as soon as they heard I was here and may have to go to France, they sent a telegram saying they were coming on the first train the following morning. They have lived in England all their lives and this was the longest journey they had ever had so I guess they think something of your only son.
As yet I have not heard how VV got along with her exams but I have great confidents in her and believe that if such a thing as failing was to happen it would not be her fault.
Things around here are very quiet with the exception of just a few drafts leaving every week for France. I have met several fellows here that used to belong to our old unit and a few of them are fortunate to be pending discharge and waiting a convoy back to Canada.
Folkestone and vicinity is just about the same as it was last winter. Except that it is not raining every day for the last couple of weeks it has been absolutely perfect as far as the weather goes. I have been drilling again every day and doing guard etc it is just like starting all over again. But even at that it is a change and I can't say if it is for the better or not as a matter of fact I can't say where or what they are going to do with me or send me.
Say Mother I am going to give you the surprise of your life. On Saturday I am going into Folkstone and have my photo taken and send you one if it cost a million dollars it has taken some time to work up enough nerve but I eventually decided I would so you can expect one any time now.
Well Mother this is just a note to let you know where I am and that I am feeling in perfect condition and will write immediately I change my address. As I expect it will be soon. Remember me to Dad and VV and write soon
August 20, 1917 (postmark)
Westenhaugen, Kent England
I must tell you the good news I had my photo taken. Talk about fussing around a fellow but I never had anything like it in all my life. Pulling and twisting at my head for at least one half hour trying to make me look pretty. It is just head and shoulders and are of a very good size. He asked me how many I wanted I says I want one for my Mother and that’s all but 3 was the smallest quantity he would make up. So there is one for you one for V-V and one for this country. Now don’t ever ask me for another for at least ten years I simply detest having those people fussing around me. I have promised you one for a long while so here it is or will be there by this mail.
The weather has set in and every thing is fine. The drafts from Canada still keep pouring in. Where they get them beats me. A lot of the civilian population around here seem to think the war will end this coming spring after US gets a few hundred thousand men in the field. Lord let it be soon. If it doesn’t end soon I think I will go in for an old age pension out of them.
Well how does VV like her new job. I kind of think she will make out allright at teaching and it wont be so bad when she gets a little experience and is able to get a school in town. There she will be able to live at home that will give you company as well. Just had a box of cigars sent to me and all the boys in the hut are going around with a cigar in their mouth. Army is getting very prosperous ‘ Eh What’ You see when any one gets a parcel they always treat all in the hut but by Jove it makes a big whole in the box of smokes. However I don’t mind they are all good fellows and I am one of the first to share anything they get. I am the only first contingent man in this hut so they look upon me as a kind of a legal advisor.
One of my old unit is here and wants in fact begs me to go to London and act as best man for him. He says ‘Come on Bill it won’t cost you a cent and I want one of the old boys to stand up with me’ Gee I hate to turn him down but I hate to act in that capacity but I guess I will just because he is one of the old original fellows and a very good fellow too.
We are having a concert here tonight and by all accounts it will be quite a success. The Col and several others are invited so it should come off all OK. The Aeroplanes have been flying all over us this morning, I guess that are taking advantage of the good weather for a few maneuvers.
Mother this is just to say that at last I fulfilled my promise and I hope you like them. Remember me to Dad an VV and tell VV I will enclose hers along with one for you. Bye bye for the present I will write later on in the week.
Aug 20, 1917
From CAMC Camp
Westenhaugen, Kent England
Or rather I should say “Please Teacher’. Well sister how do you like chasing kids for a living by Jove it’s a better paying job than the Army. I guess you find it rather lonesome don’t you V-V. Never mind it’s a respectable living and an independent one and after you get a little experience you will be able to qualify for a town job and then it’s a pretty good position. I have at last had my photo taken and as soon as they are finished you shall have. Gee it was some job. They twisted my head around for about half an hour trying to get me looking pretty and then failed to even make me look presentable. However I have promised Mother one for four or five years so you both shall have one within a week.
Well V-V I don’t know as yet if I am gong back to France again or not. They say that all First Contingent men don’t have to go back before the fellows who have never been there have a smash at it. If that is so then they may shift me around England somewhere.
Say what are you talking about, I have no lady friend in this country so don’t be foolish. You should know by this time that I am not a ladies man. Church parade is just going out to the field to have service, bugles going and band playing reminds me of old Valcartier. A person has to be in a camp like this before he really realizes he is in the Army. Everything is so different from hospital work in a hospital it is not near so military, and everything here is discipline. Inspection after inspection.
Well VV I guess Dad and Mother miss you allot. Is sure must be lonesome for them. Ah well if I get through this allright it won’t be long till we are both with them and then we will be all happy. The Canadians as you know by now had another bad cutting up and it’s about time some of those cold-footed yafs that are still in Canada came out and did their bit. By Jove VV the conscripts won’t get a very good reception from many of the old boys. Do you blame us. Just imagine I am going on my fourth year of military life. Long while isn’t it to be a soldier. Ah well VV your brother was not chased out of Canada by the girls anyway. But did his bit before most of those people realized there was a war on.
Raining here very near every day for the past two weeks miserable weather for camp life. Say VV what kind of a place is Westbourne if it is near Gladstone then I know it and it’s not a bad little place.
Say VV I have got another mustache and it's whiter than Dad’s what do you know about that, Gee you would laugh if you saw it. The fellows from Winnipeg that see it just howl they think it’s the limit and I guess they are about right. There is nothing of any importance to tell you only I am as well as can be, as you will see by the photograph. If you get this write me and I will and often. It may help you from getting lonesome. Remember me to Dad and Mother and tell them I am writing them today.
( V.V.'s note on the back of her letter) "This was sent to Westbourne.
Why did he write so much to me! Something wrong, eh?"
Vida Valerie has just begun her first job as a teacher; born in 1899, she would have been just 18 years old.
This Google Map capture shows the distance between the La Claire Hotel in Winnipeg at 187 Garry Street to High Bluff and to Westbourne. It's calculated at about a 6 hour trip by bicycle today.