The following letters were submitted and reprinted with the permission of Don Tracy. They are now in the National Army Museum, U.K.
Well, I finally got into the exhibition grounds but there isn’t much left to see in the buildings. The building I slept in last night and will sleep in to-night is opposite the lakeshore straight down from the Dufferin St. entrance.
I didn’t get too much sleep on Thursday night and they got us up at 5.30 this morning. The lights were put out at 10.00 o’clock last night.
All I have been doing since I came is parading around and around and to and from meals. Last night a bunch of us had to set the tables and clean up at the mess-hall. I went down there at about 4.30 and didn’t get out until around 6.00.
There is still a lot of examinations, etc. and I don’t expect to get a uniform until Tuesday. The boys who live in or near Toronto were allowed to go home for the week-end. The rest of us can stay out till 10.00 to-night and they may let us go to-morrow for a while- they should. I will send my address when I get settled and get a number.
This letter is incomplete.
Toronto, Ont. Sep. 21/42.
I received the parcel to-day after I posted my letter.
It is a little strange having to do my own washing. I’ll soon get used to it, though. There is a fellow sleeping in this room who is a nephew of, J.A. Marshall at Port Elgin. There is also a fellow from Owen Sound who knows Larry Donaldson.
Well, we are getting into our routine a little more now. We are up at 6.00 o’clock and breakfast is abiut 6.20. It doesn’t give us much time to dress and shave.
Did I ever have Scarlet Fever? I put down on my medical report that I had, and I’m not sure.
I think I have to go on picket duty to-morrow. That means I will lose a little more sleep.
I am going to try to get up to see Doug Becks to-night.
If you have an old piece of cloth which I can use to apply the polish on my buttons, will you send it along?
Up again to-day at 6.00. Am on picket duty beginning at 2.00 p.m. I didn’t go over for breakfast to-day but I had some salted peanuts and a malted milk in the dry canteen.
For dinner we had potatoes, carrots, gravy, roast pork and applesauce. Went on picket duty to-day from 2-4 and from 8-10.
On picket duty to-day from 2-4 in the morning and from 8-19. Got a pass from 10.00 to-day until 6.30 Friday. br> Will you send me two suits of underwear (bottoms) and my styptic pencil (for treating razor cuts.)
These letters are incomplete.
Toronto, Ont. Sep. 15/42.
Well, today I am a soldier. I got my outfit this afternoon- two suits of battledress, four pairs of socks, two shirts, another towel, two pairs of shoes, one pair of heavy army boots, the other a lighter pair, underwear, too big for me, and vaccination and a needle stuck into my left arm. They didn’t affect me until about six o’clock when we were lined up in front of the barracks. Everything suddenly went black and the next thing I knew I was sitting on the curb with my head down between my knees. I soon felt better and I am O.K. now. I need to get a hair-cut and I will try to get it to-morrow. We have to be in by 10.00 but when we get moved we will be able to stay out till 12.00.
I was up to see Doug Stringer on Sunday.
I saw Andy Hannah today. He is working in Quartermaster Stores and he gave me one of my uniforms.
I was up to Casa Loma on Sunday with Doug. It certainly is an immense place. I can’t imagine anyone wanting it as a home. I am going to try to write a little every day and mail it to you on Sunday.
To-day we were moved from our barracks to the Horse Palace. I imagine this is where the horses were kept during the Ex. It certainly is an immense place. The rows of bunks are lettered alphabetically and that is the only way I can find my own bunk.
We are eating now in Stanley Barracks. There they give you a plate with food on it instead of putting the food on the table. They give us milk here to drink. I saw Leonard Campbell at supper to-night. He is in the Postal Corps.
If you have two empty spools will you send them down- also my sun-glasses (on top of the desk) and my penlite (inside the desk). Sleeping in the same room with me are a Negro and a fellow who is taller than myself. He, another chap, and myself are the leaders on our platoon because we are the tallest.
We haven’t been paid yet. I think we will be paid at the end of this month. I have a few blisters on my feet now. They gave me a size 10 shoe. The other two fellows who came down from Sudbury with me are in different services and I haven’t seen them since Monday. Will you send me my insoles out of my ski-boots.
I saw Lloyd McCullough on the street this evening. He recognized me first although when I saw him his face looked familiar but I couldn’t think of his name. I also saw one of the fellows who came down from Sudbury with me.
To-day started out with a bang. We had to get up at 4.30. When I got up then I thought of the times I got in at that hour. I am on picket duty to-day. I started at 12.00 noon to-day and I work in shifts- two hours on and two hours off for twenty-four hours. I am off then until Sunday morning and then I start over again.
Well, I got a shock today. I came off picket duty at 8.00 and the whole picket was given passes until 6:30 Monday morning. I went up and saw Doug Stringer and went through the Museum with him. I went up to Nellie’s for supper and stayed all night. On the way up I saw one of the Rattu boys. I think it was Dick.
Incomplete undated letter.
——–stopped to rest just off Dufferin on King by a hospital and some people from the houses nearby brought out grapes and peaches for us.
It is only 6.15 now and I think I will go over to the Salvation Army at 7.30 and see what entertainment they have.
I am writing this letter in the writing room of the dry canteen in the Horse Palace. I just noticed that I forgot to write on the second side of the preceding sheet. I got your first parcel the day I mailed my letter and now I am looking for the second parcel.
I received a letter to-day from Glen, written with his new typewriter.
We were taken out of the room in which we were sleeping and now we are sleeping in the stalls, but we call them cubicles.
There are desks for writing along three sides of this room and in the centre are tables and chairs and magazines. There is also a small library.
If you can find a piece of cotton which I can use to write my name on and sew ro my clothes, would you send it along?
There is a piano in the recreation room next to this one. There are a few musicians around and right now one is playing.
Back to the old routine again to-day. We were on a short route march to-day. Out the Dufferin Gate of the Park to King, across to Lakeshore Blvd. and into the Park from that way. We…
Went to church this morning even though my trousers are a little out of press from yesterday’s rain. Left before supper and ate in a restaurant where I saw Mildred Campbell. She gave me her address so I…..
These letters are incomplete
I have tried to buy a folding tin cup but I can’t get one. If there is one around the house could I have it?
I bought some indelible marking ink which I am using to put my name and number on my clothes and equipment.
To-day was a short day as we were off for the day after 2.00. I did some washing the rest of the afternoon and some of it isn’t dry yet.
Some of my washing is still wet. It was raining this morning when we were awakened at 6.30, half an hour later than usual.
We marched to the Salvation Army Canteen at 9.15 for a half an hour church service. It was raining slightly both going over and coming back.
If it isn’t raining very heavily this afternoon I think I will go out of the Barracks for a while.
…………..can see Art when he comes next week. I called up Doug Becks to-night. That’s another place I have to go now. I’ll be glad when we get paid. I had to write out another cheque on my account yesterday. Maybe when I get my army pay I’ll be more careful with my money. As yet I haven’t received any parcel from you. Did you receive my letter? If your parcel doesn’t come in a few days I will write again.
2384 Sgmn Tracy, D.A.
R.C.C..S. #2 Coy. #2 Platoon
#2 District Depot
I have slipped a little in my day by day letter so I will try to catch up now.
On Sunday afternoon I went up to Nellie’s and stayed there until about 5.20. I wanted to get down to see Doug Stringer and I though that he still went to work at 6.00. When I got there I found that he had started to school. I had supper in a restaurant and then I went up to Doug Becks’ for a while. So far I have been lucky in getting a good pen nib but the one I am using isn’t very good.
On Monday we were told that we would be going out to a training centre within the next 168 hours which means that I will be leaving on Friday. In the afternoon some of us got more equipment. I still have to get another pair of shoes and anklets.
On Tuesday morning the ones who couldn’t get their equipment together properly were shown how to put it together. I had mine together with the help of some others who had theirs but I watched anyway to see if it was together properly.
In the afternoon we were paid.
As I hope I won’t have much longer in Toronto I think I will go uptown to-night and see what I can see.
Will you please omit “#2 Platoon” from my address in the future?
Nothing out of the ordinary to-day. Some of us finally got our anklets but only because we are supposed to be in some kind of a special parade to-morrow. After we got them we had some more squad drill.
At night another chap and I went up to Bathurst & Queen and sat through 3 shows. We went into the theatre at about 6.30 and got out at 9.45. After that I went to see Art W. and got back to the Palace at 12.45. We are leaving on Friday for our basic Training Centre and there are all kinds of wild guesses as to where we are going. The general opinion however is that we aren’t going very far, probably not out of Ontario. We will have to get up at 4.30 on Friday.
We got our anklets but our special parade didn’t materialize. In the afternoon we had our gas masks checked by going through the gas chamber. We were in it for a minute or two with our masks on and then we had to take our masks off so that we would know that there was gas in the room. The gas was tear-gas and it made my eyes water. We were allowed to quit work for the day at 4.00.
We were up at 4.30 all right but we didn’t leave until about 10.15 and we arrived here about 11.00. Incidentally we are in Brampton. Not right in the town, about 1 1/2 miles away. The camp here isn’t completed yet. We had dinner in the mess-hall which has just been opened and it was the first meal served. Every day six men are picked out to wait on the tables. I was one of them to-day and I got off light because I had to serve at only two meals. We were given four blankets here instead of the three we had at Toronto. Our bunks haven’t been put in our sleeping quarters yet and we will have to sleep on the floor. It won’t be so bad because we have a mattress.
We are allowed two passes a week until 12.00 midnight and one 36 hr. and one 48 hr. pass a month. We can save up two 48 hr. passes to make a 96 hr. pass.
We didn’t get any marching or drilling to-day. We were on parade for a while in the morning and until dinner. We listened to lectures and instructions. We were off for the rest of the day from 2.00. Two other fellows and myself went into Brampton in the evening. The people in the town have converted an old rink into what they call “The Maple Leaf Club”. There are games and refreshments there and also a dance floor where they hold dances about twice a week. Brampton is not very interesting because we don’t know any people yet. I am going to try to get to the Young People’s meeting to-morrow night in town.
rained last night and is still raining and there is about two inches of mud everywhere. We were supposed to march into Brampton for church service but I think it has been cancelled.
2384 Sgmn. Tracy, D.A.
“C” Coy. #11 Platoon
No. 24 CA (B) TC
I have not as yet received the second parcel which I sent for. I received one but not the one which is supposed to contain penlight, cotton cloth, empty spools, etc. When I talked to Dad at Port I think he said that a letter was on its way but I haven’t received it yet.
Well, I kept up the day by day letter for about three weeks but this last week I was too busy to write.
Last Sunday afternoon two other chaps and myself wandered around Brampton seeing what we could see. We were past the Dale Greenhouses but didn’t look in. There are several large stone churches in town. We intended going to church but we didn’t have supper in time. I’m going to try to go to-morrow if I can.
Our company got a 48 hr. pass this week-end but I am still in camp because I want to add it to my next 48 hr. pass to get a 96 hr. pass so I can get home.
I would have liked to go up to Port this week-end as Marion will be home. I am going to try to get up on my 36 hr. pass. We get one 48 hr. pass and one 36 hr. pass a month. The 36 hr. pass is increased to 48 hrs. if there has been no one absent without leave.
There are only about 12 men left in our hut, all the rest have gone home for the week-end. The two chaps with whom I chum around left for Toronto this morning. They intended trying to hitch-hike.
I got a letter from Marion the other day and I must get it answered soon.
On Monday I got my second pair of army shoes, a steel helmet, two pairs of winter underwear, another pair of shoe-laces and a ground-sheet which is also used as a raincoat. It was tried out that night as we went into Brampton to a dance and it rained quite heavily on the way in.
An old rink has been converted into a recreation centre for soldiers and they have dances there every Monday and Thursday. There is also a game room, a reading and writing room, and a refreshment counter.
In camp here there is a dry canteen (no wet canteen). The canteen is run by the YMCA and a certain percent of the profits are used to buy things for the meals which are in addition to our ordinary rations. We don’t get much dessert and that may explain the fact why I am buying more ice-cream and chocolate bars than I used to. I seem to enjoy them more than I have before. There is also a movie at the canteen on some nights.
I did some washing last night. We have a washing machine but I didn’t use it as the extension cord was in use elsewhere. After that I went into town and did some shopping.
There are about 67 in this sleeping hut and each of us put 25c into a fund to buy a radio. When we leave here after our training we put the names into a hat and the lucky one gets the radio. There are wall plugs which have just been connected to-day. The radio will probably set on the table in the centre.
To-day I should be celebrating instead of sitting around inside as I am doing. I have been in the army for exactly one month and it is almost exactly one month ago that the train pulled out of Little Current. It will likely be another month before I will be able to get home.
We were out on a short route march on Thursday. Some went to the dance in town that evening but I didn’t go. Since Monday night I have been getting nearly eight hours sleep every night but I’m still tired. On Tuesday night I went to bed about 9.30 and didn’t even wake up for the 10.00 roll-call.
We were issued our rifles on Friday. Something else to keep clean and polished. We won’t fire them but we have to keep them in working order just the same.
I haven’t been to a show here yet, either in camp or in town. After a day’s drilling I don’t always feel like running around.
I’m going to try to buy a pen next pay-day.
Will you send me Harry’s address?
Well, when Friday comes I will have been here for two weeks. The time seems to have gone fairly quickly.
I don’t know if it is the food or what it is, but I have had more hang-nails lately than ever before. I often wondered why there was always so many men in the canteen but now I know. I have been eating more candy and ice-cream in the last month than in two months before.
We were on a four-mile route march on Monday. We have to wear our web equipment all the time now and Monday was the first day we wore it. It consists of a wide belt worn tightly around the waist and straps over the shoulders and crossed at the back. On it we can put our large and small packs, bayonet scabbard and water-bottle.
Yesterday we had drill as usual but this afternoon was sport day. There were softball and football games, and other games- 100 yd. dash, three-legged race, wheelbarrow race, etc.
The other day a fellow had his arm broken while boxing and to-day another chap has his nose broken while playing ball.
I haven’t been to a show yet so I think I will go in with Lloyd and Tom, the two fellows with whom I chum around.
The fellow who was going to get a radio for us wholesale couldn’t get one. I think that our sergeant is going to try to get one in town to-night. Our company is Duty Company this week-end which means that we have to perform such duties as fire picket, guard duty, and various other duties. It also means that we can’t get out over the week-end whether we have duties to do or not.
We had a lecture the other day about conserving our clothes and equipment and we were told that to fully equip a solder costs about $190.00.
Glen gave me a little surprise on Sunday when he walked into the Maple Leaf Club about 5 o’clock. He had been looking for me since about 1 o’clock.
We haven’t been issued any winter shirts yet and it appears that we won’t get them for a while yet.
As soon as my camera comes I will send you a picture of my brush-cut. The army hair-cut is about 1 1/2 inches long. It has one good point- I don’t have to worry about combing my hair. It doesn’t take so long to dry after washing either.
To-day when we got up it was raining again and as a result there is a little mud around again. The roads aren’t too bad since they are paved. It was raining when we went out to drill and we wore our steel hats. They make good rain-hats but they are a little heavy.
We stopped drilling at 10.10 and lined up for our pay parade at 10.30. I am going to try to buy a pen to-night.
We get a blanket pass to-night which means that our platoon gets a late pass without asking for it.
It is noon and the mail has just come in, my parcel with it. One lad got a box of chocolate and they are going pretty quickly.
To-day it was raining again so we didn’t go out to drill until 11 o’clock. It rained a little while we were out but not enough to make us go in. In the afternoon we were out again but we were in at 3.15 for respirator drill.
On Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights I has a pass until midnight so I decided to stay in to-night.
Will you send me Harry’s address some time?
Well, to-day for a change we didn’t have much to do. In the morning we listened to lectures in the hut and went for a short march.
In the afternoon most of us just hung around camp doing nothing. I did about fifteen minutes work. I spent over two hours untangling a skein of thread we got in our mending kit. Will you send some empty spools if you have them so I can put the thread on them.
There is a chap in our hut, Bill Durnford, who knows Ev. Ferguson.
We had church this morning as usual. This afternoon we have to march into Brampton in connection with the Victory Loan Drive.
Will you have Dad find out how much is in my account and also get me a couple of blank cheques.
We are getting a pass this week-end and I am going to try to get up to Port.
There is no rain to-day and the sun is quite bright and warm. Wish my camera had come as it is a good day for taking pictures.
Some new fellows came in on Friday. They are mostly from the Artillery. The radio we got for the hut is out of order allready but there is another in the hut and it is working fine.
I haven’t received an issue yet but Glen said he was going to send me the Expositor. Socks are all I will need and I have one sweater which will do me for a while.
I have a small empty pickle-jar which might be of some use. Do you want me to keep it and any more I might get?
I was into St. Paul’s United Church to-night and attended a social hour after at the back.
If there are any more of my handkerchiefs around will you send some. We had a short run this morning before breakfast, just far enough to work up a good appetite. This afternoon we had a four mile route march and they fed us beans for supper. We also had carrot soup and jam, peach I think it was. I hope we are getting a 48 hr. pass this week-end and if so I will go to Port. If not I think I will go to Toronto.
Our hut radio didn’t work so we had to send it back but there are about three other radios in the hut. Lux Radio Theatre is on now and both radios are going full blast.
Well, I finally got myself a pen.
I expected to go to Port this week-end but as I am saving for a 96 hr. pass I won’t get out. I get a pass next week-end though.
More of the usual drilling to-day. Our own sergeant, who was away yesterday, is back to-day. We were through the gas-chamber to-day. It started to rain this afternoon and is still raining a little to-night. We are going into town to see a show as we won’t be able to leave camp to-morrow night. We are duty platoon and I will be a fire picket.
Well, I got out of Brampton and now I am in Toronto. I came down at 8.45 this morning with seven others to get glasses, army style. They brought us to Chorley Park Military Hospital and we are now waiting to get our eyes tested. We got down here at 9.30 and so far we have been waiting for only 3/4 of an hour.
On Tuesday night a bunch of us went down to the Maple Leaf Club to help board up the sides to make it easier to heat during the winter. There was a carpenter there operating an electric hand saw and before the evening was over he had only three fingers left on one hand. He cut one finger off completely and the other was hanging by the skin so they just cut it off. I didn’t see it happen or hear anything but I saw his finger lying on a bench.
If you think that you can pack my camera so that it will not be broken I wish you would send it, if not, I will get it when I go home.
The spools I want are empty ones as I have thread to put on them.
When did Borge Jarnel get married and whom did he marry? I see a news item in the Expositor about Mr. and Mrs. B. Jarnel and I would like to know.
Well, the hut will be deserted again this week-end. There was a slight mix-up or I would have been out too. I get a pass next week-end.
We were out on another route march this afternoon, four miles again and when we got back we got another inoculation. I think that this will be the last for a while.
I got a letter from Anne the other day.
There are a lot of dirty clothes going home this week-end with the boys. I am going to do my washing to-night.
It is now about three minutes after five and supper will be ready in a few minutes. There won’t be many at our table and if they put on enough food for a full table there should be plenty. I was supposed to be a fire picket to-night but it is raining heavily and I guess that is the reason they told us we didn’t have to go. I got back from Toronto at 5.00,just in time for supper.
I expect that I will be home on the week-end of the seventh. I expect to get into the Current on Sat. the 7th and leave on Mon. 9th.
Don’t worry about me not having enough money. I wanted the cheque forms in case I didn’t have enough saved here when my insurance came due. I think I will have enough though.
If every day in the army would be like this one I wouldn’t mind it at all. Every day there is a hut orderly who sweeps the hut, empties ash trays, etc. This morning I helped the regular orderly and this afternoon I took his place while he went to Brampton. I get off to-morrow after church parade. There wasn’t anything to do this afternoon so I washed the rest of my clothes, had a shower, cleaned some of my equipment, and did some reading. To-night I will be able to answer some of my letters.
I got my first issue of the Expositor yesterday and I got a Recorder from Nellie about a week ago. I also received the Times from Port.
Be seeing you soon
Arrived OK on Tuesday night at 11.50. Spent the day in Toronto. Got to Nellie’s at 6.45 on Tuesday morning just as Jack was going to work.
If you haven’t already done so will you send my handkerchiefs to me. Will write later when I have some time.
I didn’t get time to get the radio back so I am sending you some money to pay for fixing it. It shouldn’t take any more and if it doesn’t take it all you can have the change.
Tell Mother that I don’t remember where I put the tulip bulbs; in fact, I don’t even remember digging them up.
I am on fire picket duty to-night and another chap and myself have to patrol the camp from 3 to 4 this morning. We were through to-day at 1 o’clock and I went into town for a while this afternoon. I had to be back at 5 o’clock but some can stay out until midnight. They will have to stay in to-morrow night though while I can get out.
I had a card from Grandma Mitchell the other day and I wrote her a letter to-night.
Don’t study too hard.
I did some more washing to-night and I would like to know if there is a special way to wash handkerchiefs.
I was to church at St. Paul’s United Church on Sunday night. On Monday night Bill Durnford and I went to the Young Peoples’ meeting at Grace Anglican Church. It wasn’t raining when we left but it was coming down in bucketfuls when we came back. The rain soaked right through my trousers and I didn’t have a rain coat.
There wasn’t any room in the wash-room to hang up my clothing so I have it hung up on the pipes in our hut. They will certainly dry there but the only thing is that they might scorch on the hot pipes.
I got Fin’s letter allright and I finally got a letter away to Harry.
I saw a fellow from the Current in the canteen to-night. His name is Rowe but I don’t remember his first name. He has been here four weeks but I haven’t seen him before.
We were out on a route march yesterday afternoon. It was an 8 mile march but it didn’t seem that long.
I was in to the Grace United Church last night to watch them play badminton. If I had my equipment here I would play but there isn’t much use in sending it as I would have to take it when we move.
It was quite cold last night and snowed a little. Most of it is gone to-day though but we can expect more of it soon.
We had a short service yesterday in camp at 11 o’clock but we didn’t go into Brampton. We were in there on Sunday. I can’t recall where I put the tulip bulbs: in fact, I can’t even remember digging them but if I do I’ll let you know.
I was all set to go up to Port this week-end but yesterday I found out that I can’t get out until next week-end.
We played football and rugby yesterday afternoon in the snow. It wasn’t snowing last night very much but it was cold.
This morning all the roads and walks were icy and slippery. The snow has almost completely disappeared although it is still cold.
I just finished scrubbing huts about an hour ago and now I am listening to the radio. Did Betty get my radio from Smith’d Hdwe allright?
We had another inoculation yesterday afternoon but my arm hasn’t become very sore.
The picture is one that was taken by a street photographer in Toronto.
There are only nine of us in the hut and last night we had a light lunch before we went to bed. We had two loaves of bread, 1 lb. of butter, 1/2 lb. of cheese, two large onions, a jar of pickles, three small cakes, 2 qts. of coffee, tomatoes, and plenty of appetite to go around. We cleaned up everything except part of one onion and none of us are sick to-day.
I can stay out till 12.00 to-night but I will be in all day to-morrow.
Jim Dunnet, J.A. Marshall’s nephew, went up to Port this week-end.
If no one is wearing my leather dress gloves will you send them to me, and also one pair of brown stockings that you knit for me.
Well, if we have to spend only eight weeks in Brampton there are only two week-ends before we leave and I should have a pass on each of them. Jim brought back a box of apples from Port for me.
We had a surprise for dinner yesterday. We were served chicken. I think it was about 120 chickens they had. I had supper in town- sausages and green peas. All in all I had fairly good meals yesterday. To-day we had stew for dinner and beans for supper. That’s the way it is- one good meal followed by several good ones.
The weather has changed again and now it is quite mild. It would be nice if it would stay like this until we moved.
I have mailed a Christmas card to Harry and Fin Hood. They should receive them before Christmas.
To-day my turn to be hut orderly finally came around. I had to clean up the hut to the best of my ability. The inspecting officer who came through found some dust behind a door and I had to sweep it up. How was I to know that he would look there. I was through about 11 o’clock though and I got some washing done. I have to stay in the hut all day even though there isn’t anything more to do because someone has to be in the hut.
I was in to the Young People’s meeting at Grace Church again last night and I am going to try to get in to the badminton games in Wednesday night.
I certainly will be glad when we get moved out of here as it is getting monotonous now. There isn’t nothing new to learn and we are going over things we have already taken. I had to write an exam on First Aid to-day. All we had to do was answer true or false to the questions. I don’t know yet whether or not I passed- we have to answer correctly 24 questions out of 32.
We had sports again this afternoon; I played field hockey, the first time I’ve played it.
To-day we had some of our washing done for us. We had to hand in our pillow slips but so far we haven’t got them back yet. I guess we won’t get them until to-morrow.
We got our winter hats and a pair of leather mitts last night. The hats have ear-flaps tied on top with a ribbon. The mitts seem to be good ones though; I will have you send me my woolen mitts with the long wrists later on.
We started out on a route march at 8:30 this morning and got back at 4:15 this afternoon. We didn’t march all that time though as we had some “battle practice” on the way.
By this time to-morrow I hope to be on my way to Port. I have to be back by Sunday midnight so I may came back by bus. I may possibly come back with Grandpa as he said in a letter that he would be going to Toronto on Sunday or Monday.
I finally got to Port but I brought a sore shoulder back with me. It was so sore on Sunday night that I couldn’t sleep on it so I went to the doctor this morning. He rubbed some liniment on it and it seems a little better to-night. Some of the boys in the hut seemed to think it might a touch of pleurisy but apparently the doctor didn’t think so.
They didn’t expect me at Port and when I came in they thought it was Doug who was at a Tuxis meeting at Allenford. I left my cap on the table so that they would know that I was there.
Grandpa went down to Toronto on Sunday and so I came down with him. He was going back on Monday and so Doug went down with him too.
I got some Recorders and a letter from Nellie to-day. I also got an Expositor, the first I got in two weeks. Apparently one issue has gone astray someplace.
The chap in our hut who has been taking moving pictures of our platoon is, I think, going to show them again to-night. I haven’t seen them yet so I am going to try to see them to-night. Those who have seen them say that they are very good at some times.
So long, Don
P.S. Ask Betty if she kept the change from the radio money.
You will probably see by the Times that I got up to Port over the week-end. They weren’t expecting me and when I walked in at midnight they though that it was Doug coming in. He was to Allenford to a Tuxis meeting and he got in about 1.00. I slept in the spare room and left my cap on the kitchen table so that they would know that I was there. I got up at 8.15 on Sat. morning and 9.00 on Sunday morning. I went to Sunday School on Sunday but Mr. Strachan wasn’t there as he was in Niagara Falls. Miss Twamley was away too but I did see Mr. Malkin, Mr. Thornburn and Mrs. Muir. She and I went over old school experiences and I saw a lot of the pictures of her wedding. I stayed for dinner and I met Woodrow for the first time.
I dropped in to see John at the Post Office on Friday night and then he and I painted the country red on Saturday night.
Grandpa went down to Toronto on Sunday so I came back with him. Doug went down with him too and they were going back on Mon.
We left at 2.00 and I had supper in Brampton and was back in camp at 6.00 even though my pass was good until midnight.
I had to put on part of my winter underwear when I got down here as it is a lot colder here than at Port.
I must have developed a sore shoulder somewhere over the week-end because walking in to camp from Brampton on Sunday night it was very sore. I went to the Medical Officer and I had some liniment rubbed on my shoulder. It seems a little better now and I hope it keeps improving.
We aren’t having much drill now and we have rather a soft time. We are having a few exams- I got 55 out of 60 in map reading and 29 out of 32 in first-aid. We have to turn our rifles in to-morrow and so we won’t have to worry about them for a while.
We won’t have to get on the train on Tuesday wondering where we are going as we have been told that we are going to Barryfield Training Centre at Kingston. We had our fingerprints and pictures taken yesterday and also had to answer a lot more questions.
My shoulder is much better now and should be all cleared up by Monday.
Here it is Tuesday and I’m still in Brampton. We were told yesterday that we wouldn’t be going out this morning after all. Only the ones who are going to Barryfield didn’t go: the ones for Toronto, Petawawa and Camp Borden got away alright. I was out until midnight last night and the boys in our hut who left got up at 4.30. Everyone in the hut was awake but after they left we slept for a few minutes. As far as we know now we will be going out on Friday. We are all through our training and we are doing odd jobs around our huts and doing nothing most of the time. We can’t even get a day or two off to go to Toronto.
On Sunday I got ambitious and decided to go to Toronto. I hitch-hiked and I had fairly good luck. I left camp at 1.00 and I was at Bloor and Keele at 1.50. I got a ride from camp to the Cloverleaf and from there to Toronto. Doug S. told me that Glen was in the city so he and I went up to see Dorothy B. and he. I didn’t have much time with him as it takes nearly an hour to get up to Manor Rd. He wasn’t at Manor Rd. but he was a couple of streets away.
We got paid yesterday and now I will have to start thinking of Christmas. I would also like to get myself a pair of skates sometime soon.
There was almost 4 inches of snow yesterday morning but it is gradually going down. It is raining now and it will probably be sloppy to-morrow if it doesn’t freeze hard to-night. We had beans for supper to-night. There was a little tomato in them and they were cooked more than the last ones we had.
We got about 2 doz. slices of bread and butter and some jam from the table to-night and I’m going to get a couple of pies in town to-night. About the only thing left to do to-night is eat as we saw the show last night and there isn’t anything else doing in town to-night.
Mattie, Doug, Gale and Alma Jean were up to Adams for supper Sunday night. I had to undertake a new job on Saturday night. I was night fireman for C Company. I went on duty at 6.00 o’clock on Sat. night and I came off duty at 6.45 on Sunday morning. My overalls got a trifle dirty, and I washed them in the machine to-night. On Sunday morning I had a shower and went to bed at 8.00 o’clock for a couple of hours. I didn’t have any breakfast as I had snacks in the kitchen all night. I had to look after two furnaces, three jacket heaters, two cook-stoves, three heaters and at 5.00 in the morning I lit two more cook-stoves so that the cooks could get the chickens ready.
At last I’m here and I know now that Brampton wasn’t so bad after all. We left Brampton at 7.20 on Friday and arrived here at 2.30
The last two days we were in Brampton we did a little work in the morning and nothing in the afternoon. It got pretty tiresome but some who came from Ottawa had to wait three weeks.
There were a lot on our train from Toronto to here who had come from out west. The huts here are much the same as at Brampton except that they are heated by stoves instead of hot water. There are three stoves but only one is working. I don’t think that the blankets that we got here have been dusted since they were last used. They certainly are dusty.
We are given our own wash basins here. Some of the fellows who came in (not from Brampton) haven’t any knife, fork, or spoon as they had to hand them in before they left. They haven’t any yet and they are eating with their fingers. We are about 2 1/2 miles from town but I think that there is a bus from here to town.
There are about 84 in this hut now but I think that we will be moving to Vimy in about two weeks. We are at Barriefield even though our mail is addressed to Vimy.
We have to stand in line to get our meals and if you aren’t early you may have to wait up to 3/4 of an hour.
B132384 Sgmn. Tracy, D.A.
Receiving Company Hut G23
Vimy Barracks, Ont.
Here I am back safely in camp again though you probably thought I didn’t get back as I didn’t write as soon as I did get back. I didn’t have any time to write on Sunday or yesterday and I am writing this during our noon-hour.
Grandad and Elva got away from Sudbury on time but I was over an hour late leaving. It was 7.45 before I got into Toronto. The train left for Kingston at 4.15 and got here at about 7.45. It was raining heavily and the roads and sidewalks were glare ice but there were trucks from camp to take us back. It is quite mild now and the snow we had since Sunday has removed a lot of the slipperiness. The fellows who are going on New Year’s leave left at noon to-day.
The train from Toronto to Kingston was so crowded that I had to sit in the smoker. I was lucky to get a seat though.
Vimy Barracks, Ont.
I received the brass cleaner on Tuesday, I think it was. I have a little of another kind of cleaner left and so I was able to use it.
I left the $5.00 for the phone call and you might as well keep the change, if I had it I would only spend it anyway.
You might as well keep the purse at home as I haven’t enough money to fill both of them.
The radio must be bothering me, I can’t write what I want to.
It snowed a little this afternoon but it has stopped now.
I was hardly outside to-day at all. We were inside all morning and I didn’t go out this afternoon at all. I didn’t even go over to supper. Jim and I went over to the canteen this evening and had something to eat and brought a brick of ice-cream and two individual pies back to the hut and ate them. I wish we were outside more so that I could get my appetite back.
Speaking of appetites, you should have seen our New Year’s dinner. This, as much as I can remember, is what we had- a bottle of beer or pop, tomato juice, milk, oranges, apples, grapes, celery, pickles, beets, cranberry sauce, beets, turkey, stuffing, Christmas cake, pudding, ice-cream, fruit cake, and probably a couple of other things I’ve forgotten. I didn’t go over for supper, do you blame me? At dinner we were waited on by the officers, and that was one time we could give them orders.
I did some washing this afternoon- handkerchiefs and stockings. If the fireman gets the water hot I’ll have a shower to-night and then I’ll have some underwear to wash.
Is Dad able to get out on the road yet? I haven’t heard of any cases of mumps in camp since I got back.
We were allowed to sleep in yesterday morning and some slept in till nearly noon. I couldn’t: Jim and I were pulled out of bed by one of the chaps near us. It was quite late then though.
Vimy Barracks, Ont.
If what I have heard is correct I will be ten cents a day richer from to-day on. In another two months I get another ten cents but then the increases stop.
I have been outside only twice to-day, once for breakfast and once for church parade. I didn’t go for dinner but we have supper at 4.30.
We were out driving all last week but we will be inside this week. It certainly was cold in the trucks, even though they were covered with a tarpaulin. There are no heaters in the cabs, either. Yesterday morning when we started out it was 18 below.
There is a show in camp this afternoon and evening but I don’t think I’ll go to either. I hope to go to church in Kingston to-night. I went last Sunday, the first I have been to church in town. I went to a Young People’s meeting with Jim at the Presbyterian church on Monday night.
I could have had a pass this week-end but I had just enough money to get to Toronto and none to spend when I did get there so I didn’t go. I expected that we would get another pass this week-end but I don’t expect that we will now. When we do get a pass though, I’m going to try to get to Stratford to see Marion.
Will you send me my sunglasses and the mitts with the long cuffs?
It’s a good thing that I got several pairs of stockings for Christmas as my army stockings are developing more and more holes.
I have seen Autrel Wilkinson since he got back but I haven’t seen Norman Patterson since Christmas. Autrel has been moved across the road to Barriefield and is all ready to go overseas.
I hope you had as good a New Year’s dinner as I did. We had turkey and all the trimings including cranberry sauce, Christmas cake and pudding, pie, ice-cream, grapes, oranges, apples, pickles, celery, tomato juice and milk.
I went into town last night and there were only about 100 soldiers waiting to get on the bus when I came back. I didn’t get on the first bus but I did manage to get on the next one.
We were driving in station-wagons one day last week. There weren’t any heaters in them but they weren’t as bumpy as the trucks.
I got the films developed that I took at home and some of them aren’t too bad. I had a shower this morning and also washed my hair. It isn’t so hard to dry now that it is short. I’m letting it grow on the top until it gets at least a couple of inches long.
Jim went home this week-end so I’m holding down the bed all by myself. He should be back at about 3.00 Monday morning. There were trucks to take them down to the station but I don’t know whether or not there will be trucks to meet them. I drove one of the trucks that took them down.
I didn’t get to town last night early enough to get any airmail letters but as soon as I get some I’ll answer Harry’s letter. I haven’t had any word From Fin since the letter I got at Brampton.
Kingston Military Hospt’l
Nothing like a change, is there? It will be a change until about Feb. 12, too, as I came in on Jan. 14 and will be in for about 23 days. I’ve got, of all things, scarlet fever. I had a sore throat on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday morning I was covered with a red rash. My throat is better now and the rash is not nearly as red. I am still on a liquid diet and I’ll certainly be glad when we get something a little more solid. Another chap from M. T. Coy came in the same day I did and we’re side by side. There are only five beds in this room and two aren’t occupied, yet. We also have a radio in the room. Hope Dad has recovered from his attack of the mumps so that he can get around again.
Ever since I got in here I’ve been getting pills every four hours 24 hours a day. The two windows look on the lake and there isn’t very much to see there. There are two men out on the ice who have been fishing since early this morning.
We are awakened at 6.00 A.M. here but we can sleep all we want during the day. Usually I sleep so much during the day that I don’t sleep much during the night. The chap who came in here the same day I did is from Prince Albert, Sask.
When I came into the hospital on Thurs morning I had a temperature of 100. I don’t know what it is now but I certainly feel a lot cooler.
The five fellows who slept next to me have had to go into quarantine. They’ll like that.
B132384 Sgmn Tracy, D.A.
Just finished dinner and as to-day is Friday we had fish. There were also potatoes, peas, bread and butter and pudding. Enough to keep us going when we aren’t doing anything. I’m still in bed and I don’t know when I’ll get up.
I got some Times from Marion yesterday, and I’ve also received an Expositor since coming here. Will you look around in my dresser drawer and send me the tube of shaving cream in it as mine is finished.
If Mrs. Crabbe has any Posts around will you send some? Reading material isn’t rationed around here, there isn’t any to ration.
If you have any cookies like the ones I brought back at Xmas could you send along a few? I don’t know if we are allowed to have things like that to eat but I think I can keep them hidden. We can buy chocolate bars and apples when they have them in the canteen. We weren’t paid before we came in here and although we’re supposed to get a little money I haven’t seen it yet. So, if you could spare a couple of dollars.
The sun is shining nice and bright to-day but it looks cold. One of the orderlies said it was 15o below when he came to the hospital this morning. It was 24o below a few nights ago.
Hope Dad got some wood cut. I won’t have to worry about splitting it. How’s Mary getting along? Tell her not to get scarlet fever.
Could you send me also a few toothpicks?
P.S. When I get out of here I’LL get a month and a half pay. That’s something to look forward to.
Well, here I am in the hospital still and I’m not out of bed yet. I finished a detective magazine this morning and that was the last of them. I can start reading the magazines you sent me. I did another jig-saw puzzle. This one wasn’t as hard as the other and I finished it in less than a day.
I got the sweater, socks, and mitts after I got in here. I have received only one issue of the Expositor but I got two recent copies of the Recorder from the Adams. I saw in one of them the account of the snake swimming around in the ice water up near Gore Bay. I heard the same report over the C.B.C. news.
There has been a rumour that there will be no week-ends in February and it has been confirmed. Apparently the railways are doing some repairing on the equipment.
I had a letter from Harry last week. I got six other letters the same day and I haven’t answered them all yet.
Tell Dad that my army pay isn’t taxable even with the increase in pay which I haven’t got yet. We have lost one of our nurses. She is in bed herself with a case of mumps.
I’m starting to peel and the skin is coming off my arms and legs and off my knuckles. Talk about dry skin, I certainly have it now.
Tell Mary that I got her letter and I’m surprised that she can write that well. She’ll soon be smart enough to leave school.
The shortage of news around here is nearly as great as the shortage of sugar and so I’ll have to sign off.
I have received the last bundle of magazines you sent, and also the one you sent before. The oranges stood the trip fairly well, but the cookies were broken up. I had a sore throat when I received the oranges and they were a little hard to eat. I managed to get them down, however.
The chap who came in with me is supposed to go out today but they haven’t said anything about me. The Sister said that my white corpuscles have been acting up. They are going to take a blood test today to see what they can find.
I have helped to wash the breakfast dishes for 3 days. There are about 18 patients.
I ordered the photograph that Grandma wanted before coming in here but I didn’t have a chance to get it.
I doubt very much if I will be able to get home after they discharge me. The sick leave, if I get it, will probably be only 3 days, and I heard that the railway won’t even sell a furlough ticket.
You might as well address my next letter to M.T. Coy.
P.S. Any time you want to send some more home-made cookies, I can get rid of them.
Vimy Barracks, Ont.
Here at last, is a long delayed letter. Mrs. Cond said that you told her that you hadn’t received a letter from me since I phoned from Port. I know I didn’t write last week but I thought I had written the week before. Every night last week I was busy doing something or other, but now as I look back at it I can’t remember really having accomplished anything. I tried to do a little studying and I would try to do it after I got into bed. I would get sleepy, couldn’t concentrate, the hut was noisy, and so I dropped off to sleep about 9:30 every night.
A letter I sent to Jim Dunnett while I was in K.M.H. has been returned to me. I addressed it to the camp hoping that they would forward it. Apparently they haven’t got his address although the doctor must have notified them that Jim was in the hospital. I wrote to him a couple of weeks ago and that one may reach him.
I didn’t see much of Glen last week end. I went to Toronto again this week-end (Mar 27th) and practically didn’t see him again. The first time I have a 36 hr. week-end and I got into Toronto on Saturday night. I called Mary L. and found out that Glen had lost his pass which he needed to get out. I went down to Stringer’s in the evening and we walked over most of the streets in Toronto looking for an unoccupied bowling alley. We didn’t find any.
Glen got out on Sunday afternoon, finally, without a pass. I didn’t have to leave for Kingston until 11.30 that night. I didn’t get much sleep on the train as it was crowded, which may account for my sleepiness during the following week. I couldn’t get a seat when I got on the train but I managed to get one later.
The past week-end I had a 48 hr. pass and I got into Toronto on Friday night (9.30) expecting that Glen would be out on Saturday at noon. At noon I phoned Mary and she said that a draft was going out to various points and Glen might be going too. When I phoned her he wasn’t sure whether or not he would be going out.
I spent the afternoon at Stringer’s and then after finding out that Glen hoped to get out around supper time, I went up to Lindsay’s. Mr. and Mrs. Cond were there too, waiting for Glen. He phoned at 10.00 and said that he would be out on Sunday. I went back up on Sunday afternoon and he had managed to get out. Even with my long pass I didn’t see him for any longer than with the short one.
There was quite a gathering of L.C. inhabitants at Lindsay’s last week end. Al Trotter and a friend of hers were there for supper. They are both Pilot Officers so Glen and I had to watch ourselves. Mr. & Mrs. A.D. Dalgarno were there in the afternoon and in the evening Just as the Officers were leaving, Mr. & Mrs. L.T. Cave made an appearance. If Mr. & Mrs. Cond had been there it would have completed the picture nicely. Mr. Cave is finding the work harder and longer but I think he is satisfied with his move.
It was quite cold last in the hut. It was cold in the train too and I don’t think there was any heat turned on in our coach. There were quite a few Airmen in it, and when they got off at Trenton, I think it is there weren’t as many to keep the car warm. The train wasn’t crowded and I had one seat to myself. I got some sleep and I’m not quite so sleepy to-night.
We have taken off our winter hats with the ear flaps for the summer and are wearing our little wedge caps. My ears were cold this morning on parade.
I did manage to get a letter written to Harry during the past week.
There is a purse of mine around the house some place, isn’t there? Mine disappeared from my trousers pocket about a week ago, and so did the $10.00 that was in it. I had $20.00 in my money belt though, and that wasn’t taken. I have sent some money to be deposited to my account as I want to save enough to buy a good watch sometime.
I am going back to school again. To-day I copied down nearly two pages of notes, and all I have to do now is remember them.
The Conds saw quite a difference between L.C. and Toronto in the matter of snow. I read an account in the Star of the plane coming to the rescue of isolated communities. I can’t promise to get a furlough, but I’m going to hope and work for one. I can’t even hope for one until I have passed my tests and so I’ll have to buckle down and study.
I weighed myself when I was in Toronto. In my walking out uniform I was 159 lbs. That was a lb. better than Glen but I think my uniform weighs a trifle more which would account for the difference.
There is a show in camp to-night but I have no desire to go. I have seen only one show this year. If Glen had got out we might have gone to one in Toronto.
I’ll have to remember to buy some 1c stamps to use with my 3c stamps or I won’t be able to write.