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Letters From The Bowes Brothers – Nov. 29, 1916 Shoreham Camp, England

My dear Mother,

We had a letter from Cliff just before he left for France but could not get over to see him although we tried our best. Still we may be over there before very long and then we will be able to see him. We are only 40 miles from the firing line now but can’t hear anything for we are not much better off in that respect than we were in Canada.

The grub here is not too bad. What we get of it although we do not get nearly enough to satisfy us. The drilling is getting pretty hard here but it’s all we can expect. So far we have just been brushing up squad drill and the stuff we learned last winter. The hours are only from 9:30 to 12 and two to four but they sure keep us hopping while we are at it.

We had an exam the other day and both Jim and I came through aflying although they turned down some fine men. They will likely be put in some munitions factory. This is the last in this country and we have one more in France before we get to the trenches.

We are getting paid tomorrow and although I’m not broke still I’ll get back some of what is owed me at least I hope so. I have about $15.00 lent out and about $12.00 in my pocket so you see I’m not letting any go unnecessarily. As soon as I get our passes I’ll have to loosen up. They are coming through next week and I’m going to London for a part of mine and when I get back I’ll maybe have something to write about. At least I’ll have seen the old town anyway.

Well mother, it is as muddy as ever here yet and the invalids say, “Oh, wait till it starts to rain.” They say this is comparatively dry to what it will be. If it gets any worse than this we will be web-footed by the time we get back.

There have been a couple of small zeppelin raids since we came here but no damage done to speak of so far. We haven’t seen any but would like awfully well to. We have an aviation school near here about two miles away with about 40 machines in it and often we see six or seven in the air at once. They are so common that we don’t even look at them going over us now.

It is just a week ago tonight since we came and it seems like a month as there is absolutely nothing doing here except drill. Lots of towns close by but they are all in darkness after night and unless you go down to get drunk, there is not much use going. The result is I’ve only been down on Sunday afternoon and then saw nothing. The Janes [women] here are something fierce. What they send out to Canada seems to be a first-class sample so you know what the majority look like around here.

From your affectionate son,

Fred

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