Pte. George Champion’s Letter Home

Huron County War News – December 21, 1916

Published in the December 21, 1916 edition of the Brussels Post was the following letter from Private George Champion to his mother.

“Dear Mother – Just a few lines to let you know that we landed in England safe and are at camp. Got along fine all the way over, the only thing that bothered me was the sea sickness. Roy and I had quite a time with it. Landed in Liverpool at 4 o’clock Saturday morning and did not get off the boat till 4 o’clock in the afternoon. We were certainly sick of it. Had to stand with our packs on for an hour or so then we got on the train and struck for Shorncliffe, England. We got there, had 2 miles to walk. We were a tired looking bunch.

Are in tents yet but that is just for a few days then we go into huts. They are like those long hen houses they have in Canada. I thought I would not like England but she is a fine place. Not much mud. Roads here are just like Camp Borden only they are black. We are not far from a village, the name of it is Devonville. It is just a small one about a half a mile.

Roy is getting along all right. He passed the medical inspection this morning all but his teeth and they are going to fix them. I did not pass at all as they turned me down for not being old enough and bad teeth. I don’t know what they are going to do, whether they make us go on home guard or not. Billy John got turned down for flat feet. His is tickled right up the back. I hope I will get home as far as I am concerned but we are not the only ones who are getting turned down as there are 3 in my tent, so that is the way all over. There is about 35 turned down ahead of me and there was only one company through then.

I will tell you more about England. The fields over here are as green as they are in Canada in the middle of the Summer, in fact there is better grass here now and the stock is all out. There is a flock of sheep about 10 rods from my tent, about 500 of them. They are certainly great sheep too.

I am just going to the tent door to see an air ship going over. I saw zeppelins flying this morning, about 5 of them and 3 air ships. There is some great sights. We are just 50 miles from the firing lines and can hear the cannons going in France, so that ain’t very far.

We were from 1st of November till the 11th on the boat, then we were on it two days before we started. We got on the boat on the 29th of October.

I will have to tell you about the trains. They are the most comical things I ever saw. The coaches are just big enough to hold 16 men, 8 in each place. There is a wall between each bunch. We got on the train at 8 o’clock in Liverpool and landed at Shorncliffe at 12 o’clock. We went 250 miles in that time. They go like a blue streak. Had to keep the doors and window blinds down on account of a zeppelin flying over. Well I guess this is all for this time, hoping everybody is well.

From your loving son and brother, George.”

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