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War hath no fury like a non-combatant.-- Charles Edward Montague
First Canadian Division6017 Reads
Sun Nov 8th 1914 , Blantyre St.,Bishopmill Dear Annie, Just a few lines to let you know that I am always in the land of living & keeping well hoping this will find you all the same at home I got up here friday & going back Tuesday not much time but better than nothing.
I am having a good time here amongst the girls only they know that I am married too bad isnt it there is more girls than men here all the men are away fighting or in camps the same as us. The people here has got the war scare all right and all the lights in the Towns are in darkness things are pretty bad all over I had 3 hours in London coming here & it was so dark that you could hardly see your hands in front of you never mind knowing anybody. Well Annie there is no word of us going over there yet some say March but we might get march ing orders anytime We had the King and Queen Kitchener Lord Roberts & a lot more down seeing us Last Wednesday they were fine pleased with the men I was standing close up beside them but they did not speak to me should have done you know. Well Annie Dear how is things going on longing to get your Hubbie back I suppose having your hands full with Pat and the other one I have got no word yet but expect to get letter when I go back to camp. Aunt Mary sends her love no more at present hoping to hear from you soon write soon Your Loving Hubbie Coy Sgt Maj J Kay Larkhill Salisbury Thu Dec 10 1914 Dear Annie Just a few lines to let you know that I am still well & getting on fine hoping this will find you all the same a home I received your two letters this week also Annie Russells & one from Norrington of Crane & Ordways he said that the most of Ware house & the Office staff were laid off Joe Phipps & Fred Hartwell were the first to go also 3 of the girls in the office he said I was lucky to be away Annie had not much to say only that Johnnie was up there and shot 3 Geese & they were fine eating of course that made my mouth water as we have the same feed every day. There is no word of our Pay getting cut down there would be trouble if that was the case You seen to be having quite a time of visitors lately there never was so much before I guess there would be more after the Baby arrived I have not received a letter yet since the arrival but waiting patiently. The war is going on fine the Germans is getting Beans all right our Tommies will soon be getting sour krout all right. I just got a paper now and the news is good 3 of the German Cruisers that sunk the Monmouth & Good Hope has been sunk in return what will be left of them when the waris over wont be much. Well Annie how is the family getting on lots of howling now I suppose I am missing the music you will have your hands full now all right but it will keep you from worrying a bit I feel quite content when I know that you have lots of money & fire how did the Potatoes in the garden turn out did you get a dinner out of them. I was wonder if C & O would give you anything at Xmas we will miss the bonus this year all right I told last one that it would be the last one it will be very doughtfull if any of them will get it What are you going to call the little one I suppose you don't know but I am leaving it to yourself I have little more to say at present only we are the narwy squad just now I have been out this last 2 days with 150 men digging holes this is the life I got off today to make up the time my Bunch has 76£-16s-0D coming I have 15 shillings. I expect to take the Sergt Major job to day as he is going away on leave for a week so I will be busy for a while I have no more to say at present hoping to hear from you soon I have not got any Xmas cards to send yet but will do later on Ta Ta the noo Wishing you all a Merry Xmas & a Happy New year Your Ever Loving Hubbie The Whole family xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Jan 22nd, 1915 Larkhill Dear Wifie Just a line in answer to your welcome letter which I received yesterday glad to hear you are all well at home as this leaves the same I have still got a bad cold but so busy I have not got time to think about it I am glad you got my Bonus all right you have got the upper hand this time keeping i t all yourself but I will have some of it when I come back 51 beans that is all right I had a letter from Norrington C & O he told me that Miss Luce told him you was to get about 50 Dollars to bad it was not the Old 78 eh but there is no kick coming did Mr Agnew offer to do anything else for you as regards coal or wood he said he would if you was stuck How about the other Payments are you getting the 25 Sep and my 40 & 25 Patriotic yet you never mentioned what you got or if you are getting it all right & I would like very much to know and I often wonder how you are off for money as I spend quite a little bit here that I could send on if you require it let me know as soon as possible Dear as we expect to be away very soon not later than the 7th Feb How is Pat & Doris Cameron Kay getting on some class to the name but I object to your sending her over here as a mascot to walk the floor at 2 am, we get little enough sleep as it is we are out of bed every morning at 5 am this morning we had about a foot of snow for the first time we fell in at 6:15 & marched 6 miles to the ranges but it was snowing too hard to shoot so we marched back again in heavy marching order. I had the best score on the range (5shots 30secs 5 Bulls eyes) 15 shots 1 minute 15 hits counting 35 Points out of 45 pretty good I think I can shoot off Old KaiserBill Iron Cross yet Tell them all that i was asking for them No more at present hoping to hear from you again soon Your Loving Hubbie J Kay xxxxxxxxxx On Active Service WITH THE BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE Belgium July 15 Dear Annie Just a line to let you know that I am always alive and kicking hoping this will find you all well at home I have just come out of the trenches last night but we are only 40 minutes walk from them so we are not any to safe here the huns just blew over a Church Tower about 2 miles behind us about an hour ago that is there favorite pass time anyway they are devils and we hate them (them us) I suppose you will be glad to hear that I got on for Regt Sergt Maj I came out in orders last night the S M got hit 3 days ago with shrapnel so I am taking his place I dont think he will come back again he is pretty well played out & will be kept for Drill purposes I expect to get W.O. if he don't come back it means more pay only it wont effect you as I have to pay a bat man to look after my kit 25 francs a month (franc 10 pennies) some class to the J Kay 965 Lipton eh. things have been fairly quiet here just now one or two pretty hot times when out in the trenches 1 Officer 1 private killed not my Coy Scott died of wounds same day as I told you about in last letter to bad but this is war we all take our chances I am quite a little bit safer now not for shelling but rifle fire in the trenches not so much to do either it is a snap to C. S. M i had a letter from Bishopmill today they had a letter from you ah 1 tot rum & 2 raw eggs how nice I feel going back & fight fritz one came over to our Barbed wire 2 mornings ago through a field of corn our fellows seen him & fired at him he shouted dont fire you dammed fools dont fire one of the boys shouted whats the matter fritz and gave him beans he went down amonst the corn but we dont know whether he was hit or not I was out looking but could not find him. I am glad things are going pretty good with you as it is easies my mind quite a bit I will have to quit now hoping to hear from you again soon Love to all you all Your Loving Hubbie Jim write soon Belgium 24th Dear Annie Just a line to let you know Ihave got back again & in the trenches just reached 2 hours ago & as tired as an old horse I had a pretty good time of it when I was home but sorry to say had to many whiskies and bottled Bosses I guess they will be telling you all about it I only had 2 days in Elgin to short all together 4 days travelling it is hardly worth while going unless one stays in England I also saw Alex Cameron the piper & Misses he is Pipe Maj now some class eh I am Regtl all right now my rank was confirmed last Aug night you should get another 5 Dols a month now Sep I had not time to write when at home in fact I was on my way back before I was right home I had your letter today dated Aug 2nd from Clearwater you must be chummy with Maud again I will stop now but will write again when I steady up I cert ainly feel pretty ratty to day write again soon Your Loving Hubbie Jim xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Note: letters by James Kay, Regimental Sergeant-Major, No 4 Company of the 16th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, 3rd Brigade, First Canadian Division.
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