He had been in Canada for almost ten years working at establishing a homestead farm on NW24-24-14 since leaving his home town of Lexden, Essex, U.K. Through those ten years he had kept in regular contact with Alice Hall through letters. Maybe it was a letter like this one from Alice that helped inspire him to join the army.
Feb. 3, 1916
My Dear Horrie
I was so pleased to receive your nice long letter today as it did seem such a terrible long while since I heard from you. I was afraid you were ill again with shingles or something, so I was very pleased to hear you were quite well. I expect the mails get delayed as it was more than three weeks from the time you posted it before it got to Saxmundham.
There has been three more Zeppelin raids over England lately. Last Monday night there was six Zeppelins over and there was 54 peoople killed and 63 injured. I don't think they were very near here but I heard the explosion of a bomb once only it was a long way off. I expect it was at Norwich as they went there. I wonder when this dreadful war will be over.