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Date: July 25th 1942

Dear Jean:

Am going to beat the game this time, and write your letter tonight. Tomorrow promises to be a pretty full day. Jack Andrews, from Abbotsford is coming down on the train in the morning, and I will go to meet him at the station, later take him to lunch, and if I am not too busy, may go with him to some friends of his who live in the nearby district. In the evening I have a dinner engagement about 10 miles away, so will probably ride my bike up there. They are friends of Major Macdonalds, who is OC of the Survey Coy. He is a great fellow, and his friends are very nice too. Jack Andrews has recently been promoted to Corporal, and feels very happy about it. His folks at Abbotsford will be pleased too. It is over a year since I have seen him, but have spoken to him on the phone several times. Think he was a bit homesick just after his brother was killed, which is natural, but evidently is on an even keel again, and his promotion will make him more interested in his work and progress here. Its not all fun and games for these younger fellows, it is a pretty violent change of environment for most of them, and they can't be expected to stabilize right at once.

Your airletter of the 12 July arrived last Tuesday the 21st. It certainly is great to have your letters come faster. Too bad mine still take so long to reach you. There seems to be some talk of inaugurating a Westbound air letter service, and if they do, we will be at least five weeks closer to each other. It is really wonderful tho how well we have done on our letters, I don't think we have lost more than one of yours in nearly two and ½ years. I'd give a lot to have Mary come and wake her Pop up early Sunday morning. She must be like a little bird. Next letter from you will be telling about her birthday party. Hope the books reached there safely.

Glad the last £30 reached you. Am not too flush here yet, they nipped me for about 7 days staff pay between the time I left the Corps and my official app't to Army as A/Major. Also my mess bill is going to be a bit heavy this month, as a crown calls for a lot of drinks. However if my plans for leave go through, it should be a very economical one, down at Haywards. By the end of Sept I should have accumulated enough for another shipment to you. That should help out with getting things in shape for the winter. Sometimes I wonder if it will be necessary to buy a new uniform. My original one is not too bad still, I wear battle dress practically all the time, but if the old war keeps up I may have to get a new one. I think you are wise to get a supply of clothes for yourself and Mary now, because it will be quite a time even after the war till there is an adequate flow of many essentials. Personally I think it is a good time for the world to reform its ideas and practice in clothing. We ought to have good clothes, but they could be a hell of a lot simpler. Why do men have to wear collars and ties. And why do men have to have pantaloons down to their ankles in summer. It's a lot of hooey, and now would be a good time to break way from such hide bound conventions. Prices are going up here. I bought a pair of low walking shoes this week, 42 shillings, The same thing two years ago cost 22.
I knocked off this afternoon about 5 and cycled about six miles to see the film "Captains of the Clouds" in color. Had heard it was very good, and goodness knows when it will come to our local cinema. I was not disappointed. Got a big kick out of the bush flying part, with good old Fairchilds and Wacos and Bellancas. It was a splendid bit of propaganda for the Empire air training scheme too. The scenes and choir were lovely, and made me quite homesick, which was rather nice. If it comes to our local theatre, I think it would be worth while to try to get both Ecila and Mrs Morris to see it. She would get a kick out of the pictures of Ottawa, which she visited for several months when she was a girl. I cycled back and had a snack in the mess, the cook had kept some hot supper for me, for which he was rewarded with a mug of ale from the officers' bar. Our regular cook is away on leave, a funny little scotch chap from a farm in Saskatchewan. He told me he learned how to cook out on the farm. I find it much easier to get along with these lads from country. You can generally talk man to man with them, and interesting fellows they are, and yet they have enough sense not to take advantage of your being friendly. The city lads are less fortunate, either they are on edge when you chat with them, or they think its smart to try to be familiar. Its not their fault entirely, it is the result of environment. The country, the forest, and the hills seem to breed character and poise into their sons. My batman, Alf, is a product of the farm, and he is a fine fellow. Have discovered a rare with behind his quiet rather dour exterior. He has been in hospital for nearly a month now, he developed a tremendous boil on his shoulder blade, and while he was there, I saw that they checked up on some injuries he sustained during a bombing incident. He is out at last, and I am manoeuvring to get him back. It's a very complicated process.

Tell Mary I enjoyed all her hugs and kisses at the bottom of your air letter.

The weather during July, so far, has been quite indifferent. Very little sunshine, It seems better today, and maybe we are in for a fine spell. Its all arranged now to go down to the Haywards a week from today. Think I will cycle down, can do it in an afternoon and it is very pretty country all the way. My favourite field of oats with the poppies in it has turned a buff color now, and soon it will be yellow. There is a fullness and a fecund richness to the landscape now, the earth has yielded freely, and it will soon be time for gathering in her fruits. Am reluctant to see the summer going, but as the season ripens, a feeling that its purpose has been accomplished, sort of puts us in the right frame of mind for autumn, and ready and confident for what is to follow. I suppose that is the way with Nature, one season is preparation for the next. What irony and tragedy the summer has meant for the Russians. What thoughts they must have sewn into the ground with the grain last spring, what hopes and prayers. Now the Hun has come and torn asunder Nature's returns, and fruits. The seed was good, the earth was good, the sun and rain have served. But no harvest for them. But the prayers and the hope and the faith in their cause, can the Hun destroy those?

Have been reading "Moscow 1941" by Werth, burrowed it from Bert Hayward. And it takes on a peculiar irony just now, when the uncertainty and grimness of last July and August are being repeated now. So far, the United nations have had plenty of confidence. We have said and though - just give us time, and it will be a push over. Perhaps that isn't quite enough to do the job. It may be that we need to be just a little scared too, to shake off all our internal bickering and squabbles, and really get down to grim all out fights for our life. I think lately we have been getting more that frame of mind, and it is a good sign.

Well dear, I got onto a bit of a tangent, or more of a spiral.

Heaps of love,


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