Trevor Maguire Writes A Letter Home From Salisbury Plains:
Letter From Corporal J. Horace Brown
Carleton Place Herald, December 1, 1914
By permission of the parents we are privileged to publish the following interesting letter from Corporal Brown to his parents:
Amesbury, Eng., November 13th, 1914:
Dear Mother, – You may be surprised at the change of address, but I am now in Amesbury, on picket, will likely be here about a week or longer. We have a lovely place to stay at. It is a private house, loaned to the government by a Captain who went to the front. He has been killed lately, but they still have the use of the place. It is a large house set back in lovely well-kept grounds. There is a vegetable garden and a nice flower garden around the house, and lovely hedges and trees. There is an open fireplace in nearly every room, including the bathroom; there are ten men counting myself in my room. We have a clothes closet, a closet of shelves, a fireplace; and there are two large windows. We leave the windows partially open at night.
The picket we relieved had been here three weeks. We have a good bunch of fellows. I do not know them personally, but I have been on fatigues or something with some of them at times and knew a few of them by sight.
We are given two shillings per day for food allowance and are living like kings. I have rented a cot, mattress and pillow; it only costs a shilling a week for the three. Will put some gasoline on as a precaution, and will be very comfortable. I cleaned all up this morning, had a nice warm bath and an entire change of clothes, and am sending all my soiled ones off to the laundry. We have cleaned the house all over, scrubbed it, and are getting a little in the line of furniture such as tables and benches. The officers have outfitted their rooms. It seems too good to last.
Our duty is to be at the station to see that everyone travelling has his pass, and that it is not overdue; that is Canadians, we have nothing to do with others. We also have a town picket to keep the Canadians out of the saloons, and those without passes out of town. One day I was on fatigue loading trucks in Amesbury; that night I was put on main guard at 12:15 and was on ‘til 8 p.m. next evening, without any meals, but that was an oversight. I was Battalion Orderly Corporal one day. You ask about my comfort when in camp. I bought a pair of knee rubber boots, a raincoat and an oil stove. We bought cocoa, herring, and other things, and were fairly comfortable. We have had served out to us a sweater coat, a sleeping cap, a pair of boots, a pair of socks and the Oliver equipment. It is rumored we are to have our rifles changed for the short Lee-Enfield with the long bayonet. It is a better rifle and the magazine holds ten rounds.
Everyone from Carleton Place is well. None of the Canadians have left for anywhere; they are in different camps on the Plain. We get our pay twice a month, and have plenty, but when we go across we will just draw as we need it and the balance will be kept until we come back or sent to our next of kin. I do not like the idea of the wet canteen any better than you do. The lads were away from it in Valcartier, and now to have it and have plenty of money is the worst thing possible, but they are making punishments so strict they are cooling down some; several are being sent back to Canada. Needless to say the boys from Carleton Place are all well behaved. I have not received all the papers you sent. We have no trouble getting stamps, but when we are where we cannot get them we can mark them “Active service, no stamps available,” and it will go. Amesbury is a nice quiet little village. The name of the house we are in is the “Amesbury House,” but put the old address on my letters. I have my Carleton Place pennant and my silk Union Jack hung over the fireplace. Canada pennant got torn on the way across. I cut out the Maple Leaf and the printing and sewed it on my red sweater. Now that I have more time I will write oftener to you and others.
With love to all,