Harry Stiner, who had enlisted on January 15th, wrote a letter home to John ‘Jack’ Evans on this day in 1916. At the time Harry was stationed in Camp Bramshott in Hampshire, England and was hoping to be posted to France. His letter was published in the Deseronto Post of December 14th, 1916:
Letter from Harry Stiner
Bramshott Camp, England,
Nov. 29th, 1916
Mr John G. Evans
Dear Jack, —
Just thought I’d drop you a line. We have just given a draft of one hundred men to go to France and another will be made up in a day or two. I offered myself for the first but my company commander scratched me and would not hear of my going. I have been examined for the second and I am marked for medical board, as owing to the climate I have a severe attack of asthma so I may not see the scrap at all well I saw the big draft move out and it was a wonderful sight-ours was only a small part of it.
It made every body feel a bit blue knowing that in less than 24 hours they would be in the danger zone but when the massed bands started their music about 200 strong it made things a bit more lively; our Brigadier who is an officer of the famous P.P.C.L.I. [Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry] made a very good speech after which the Bands played, “Hats off to Tommy Atkins” and the boys were cheered to the echo. They marched away very cheerful and made an excellent showing.
Herb left me today and I don’t expect to see him again as the section is transferred from us to the machine gun Brigade School somewhere on the coast. If I don’t get to France I’ll hardly see him again until the war is over. He and Hogan are McGee’s right bowers and he will look after them well.
Well Jack, there is not much to tell you. Its a great country but I would sooner have Canada. I saw some of the greatest sights and now I am satisfied that I wouldn’t care to stay here. All for now.
Editor’s Note-The draft spoken of was made up of, as well as others, Isaac Maracle, Hugh Brant, Rendall [Randall] Brant, Harry Corby, Jake Green, Bill Sero and Alex Bardy. Those rejected for this draft were highly disappointed but will leave in about 11 days with the second draft.