May 12, 1918
Pte W. F. Smith No. 2137512
29th Bttn Canadian Brit Ex Force
Just a line to let you know we are safe at pretty well our destination.
I know you have been great travellers in the past, but whatever you could see in the country outside the English speaking ones gets me altogether. I grant the country is pretty enough, all it wants in common with the rest of Europe is a decent English race to inhabit it, it would be fine. We English may have our faults & be a long way from perfection, but to even compare us to these foreigners is an insult in itself. Still as far as nature goes, one could not wish for a fairer country than this part of France where we are at present & especially at this time of year when the Spring is here & the trees are bursting into leaf, it takes me back to the old days at Basing, for suppose, I have not seen spring in the country in Europe since 98 or 99 & that is a long time ago. You must excuse pencil, pens or rather ink, is not obtainable & all letters we write from here are in pencil.
I am writing this stretched out on the grass or what I suppose was the Village Green or common, at present it is filled with YM tents & footballers & each evening looks more like an old English fete than anything else with football & being played all over, & I have been thinking here evenings what varied scenes the old ground here must have seen during for instance the old Franco English fights of from three to eight hundred years ago, when age after age saw the English troops over here, & now the latest offshoot of the English race are here, & if one follows at all closely the old chronicles of those old days, you can't help but see what an improvement the latest army is upon the earlier ones both physically & morally & one realizes that in spite of all these dark times, the world clearly moves so upward & onwards. My own special pal & former bunk mate Langstaff is severely wounded & will I fear never be fit for much again. he was wounded in the leg with a shell when on working party & the last news I had was he would have to have it off, he was 47 & real pluck all through. but of course I will hear no more of him now unless I can get it from his hometown of Vernon, B.C. We got seperated when he got in a draft that left for France about three weeks before I did, & when I got here instead of meeting again as we had arranged, I found he had got his blighty & if it was as serious as those that were with him say, it would be very questionable whether so old a man would survive the shock.
To turn to other subjects, we are at present five of us billeted in a loft with a floor composed of a few rails & a little straw. & most nights when we settle down to sleep, we rather wonder whether the morning will find us still up in the loft, or whether we shall be found down with the cows & the goat on the ground floor, so far we have managed to stay up, but I expect to have the floor go before long.
Well, I must really say good bye for the present, as you know all military news is taboo & it is a little difficult to find a lot of news to write about these days.
With love to all at Erith House, just now I have the [?], as we would say so [?], for where as you have only one apple tree to sit under there are dozens here I can lay under.