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Letters From The Bowes Brothers – Dec. 19, 1916 Shoreham Camp, England

My dearest Mother,

Honestly Mother, this is the first time I have had any few minutes on my hands in some time as after we were back from leave. We had a whole week on the rifle ranges and had two guards and various other little things. They aren’t working us very hard but keeping us at it all the time. The reason that guard and fatigue come around as often is that a number are away on pass yet and another bunch in on the ranges. So you see about 100 of us have to do all the extras in camp.

Jim is all right again. All he had was the grippe and is fine again. I have never had a day off since I came here and very little cold although it certainly is damp here. I expected to be worse off in that respect. Still there is nothing wrong with my lungs or I’d never of got this far.

The only thing that isn’t just right here is the grub. It’s fairly decent what there is of it but honestly we threw away more at Camp Hughes than we get here so it isn’t we’re overfed at all.

Two boys we got from Melita [Man.] started chewing about who could drink the most booze of the bunch and the result is that on Saturday we went down and I’ll say we were a happy bunch coming home. Anyway, we got home fine and went to bed but the next morning, well, we all felt rotten all day. In the evening Hanley and I went down with the intention of having a bar to clear the stuff out of us and the result was that we both came home a damn sight worse than we were the first night. But never again. That’s enough for me, so don’t worry on that score. I am only telling you this because I thought likely you would hear of it anyway and have a wrong impression of it all together. Anyway we’ve all sworn off and didn’t wait for New Year’s either.

We had our first snow since we came here yesterday and it wasn’t much. It melted as fast as it came.

There is a draft of 250 of us going over to France on next Monday but I don’t know whether any of us are going to be on it or not. Will write you as soon as I find out for sure or not.

It’s just five days away from Christmas and my first one away from home. I’d sure like to be home for it but as that’s impossible, we can only hope to be home next year.

Well Mother I was on guard last night and only got two hours sleep. As a result I’m pretty tired tonight so I will close [and promise] to write oftener.

With heaps of love from

Fred

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