Original Letter

30th August 1917:

My Dearest Maidie:—

I have arrived here after a great trip, a little tired, more than a little muddy generally untidy looking but in good humour. I have never known such a trip! I shall tell you from the first. They never did let me get away to see you again that morning. bad cess to them – and I was marched off at 11.30 M carrying everything a soldier needs and a hell of a lot that he doesn’t and handed over to the R.T.O. I was given my move order and rations and herded into a barbed wire enclosure to wait for the train which left at 3.50 in the afternoon. I tried various stunts to get out but they weren’t so very successful. I got a good place with eleven other patriots in a side door Pullman. Our train was slow and rough – one of the others – a Canadian – compared it with first class on the C.N.R. and decided that the C.N. had it beat. I went to bed in my ground sheet about ten thirty. My bed was on the floor and the longer I lay there the better I liked my bed at No. 9 Route d’Elbeuf. As a mattress, sheets and comforter my groundsheet was a good ground sheet. It was quite the most inadequate thing I have ever known. I only lasted twenty five minutes in that bed. Then I got up and smoked. When we arrived at a place – at midnight we got some hot water and made tea and ate a lot of bully and biscuits. There were lots of funny things and although I didn’t sleep a wink I had a whale of a time. The next day we got to another place where we detrained. Now who was the first man I saw but Bill Leicester! He had been on the same train the last part of the journey. We had the afternoon together and I dined with him in his billet – we were all billeted – and then he came over to mine which was in a café and we spent the evening together. I was, next to Bill, the most surprised man in France. He reverted and has gone to the 10th. I saw him again this morning for a few minutes. I left about ten o’clock for my unit and arrived about two. This part of the journey was accomplished partly on foot and partly on motor lorry – the ration of the parts being roughly about 9–1. The lorry getting the big end. Everyone seems quite glad to see me and I am genuinely glad to see my old friends again. It is a mighty nice part of France about here but they tell me that there are other places much more pleasant to live in. Well, so long as you are in France I know of one place where I would sooner be than here. I just perfectly well know that it is going to be difficult for me to enjoy this place to the full knowing what I know. And now Dearest, I am most infernally tired and I don’t seem to think at all. I shall try and tell you more to-morrow.

With all my love, Maidie Dearest.

Ton mari

Ross

Operation Order

... the 50th Battalion will relieve the 46th Battalion at VANCOUVER CAMP. ... DRESS. All Ranks, FULL MARCHING ORDER. Steel Helmets will be carried flat on back of pack, Box Respirators reversed and Water Bottles filled.

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War Diary

The Battalion moved from ZOUAVE VALLEY to VANCOUVER CAMP changing places with the 46th Battalion. Relief completed at 12.00 noon.

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Photographs

No. 9 Route d’Elbeuf: No. 9 Route d’Elbeuf: No. 9 Route d’Elbeuf: No. 9 Route d’Elbeuf: Bill Leicester: Bill Leicester: here: here: here: ici: ici: ici:

Map

  • Location: Vancouver Camp
  • Battalion role: Rest

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