[Received November 21, 1917]

Camp Harrowby

November 6, 1917, 9:15 P.M.

Dear Father:

We have now had two days of instruction on the Vickers machine gun. I am already well fed up on it. A part of it is pretty good fun. The drill of going into action, setting the gun up, and laying it on the target, but the part that is class work, listening to the instructor tell how it works and what makes it jam is getting to be a bore. This bunch, we jokingly call ourselves the Italian Detachment, has almost given up hope of ever learning to fly and doing anything at the front. If the war lasts for fourteen more years we expect to be mustered out as cadets.

We have very gentlemanly hours. Breakfast 8 A.M. Work on the gun from 9 until 1. Lunch at 1 and work with the gun from 2:15 to 4:30. Tea at 4:30 and work on notes about gun from 5:15 to 6:30. Dinner at 7:30. It is a very bad schedule for getting a chance to get out and see the country or do anything. It gets dark very early, 5 P.M., and the town is absolutely black, all store windows and doors have heavy blinds and there are no street lights.

Last night I went down to order a uniform and do some odds and ends of business, and it surely was hard to find your way about in the dark. The town is larger than Oxford but very much spread out and countrified. Eating apples cost 6 pence apiece (12¢).

This morning, we were addressed by the general in charge of the training camps. He was a very handsome old fellow, but looked and walked like he had been rather familiar with toddies etc. He made a very short talk. Welcomed us to the camp and told us that we were here to learn what would help us kill the Boche, and that the camp would give us the dope. Yesterday the colonel in charge of the camp gave us a talk on similar lines. I believe we will get to shoot 300 rounds with the gun while here, but it will all be ground work at stationary targets. We will have to go thru an aerial gunnery school after we learn to fly. Some of the fellows who graduated from ground school with and after us have got their wings up and their commissions already. We have been told several times that we will be the best trained and will get the most rapid advancement, but it is all very doubtful.

We are planning a great party here for Thanksgiving day. We are going to have a big banquet, with honorable guests, band, and all such.

Next Saturday and Sunday I expect to hire a bike and look over the surrounding country.

This evening I joined in a boxing fest in one of the huts and got my face and nose well massaged.

Well in several months time I hope to be able to write you more enthusiastic letters.