NOEUX Les MINES
Main Dressing Station
December 26, 1917
Hello Budsie Darling:
What sort of Christmas did you spend? A very lonely one I'll bet. Poor little sweetheart. That's another Christmas we've spent apart, and I pray to God it will be the last. In fact, I'm quite certain it will be. Most of my Xmas was spent in the line, as our car was stationed at the advance dressing station. On Xmas Eve, we went down and bought several bottles of Champagne and we sat around the dugout until twelve o'clock singing our heads off. After that we walked around the line to all our aid posts to wish the boys a Merry Christmas. Just as we got back to our own dugout, a terrific bombardment started up. I think the idea was to give Fritz something to put in his stocking. We also sent him a little gas, but we only had two wounded come in so we were not overworked. On Xmas Day, we came down to Headquarters about 4 to the Mechanical Transports Dinner. Before we came down, all the boys from the outer posts came to our dugout and they all had dinner together. Crickie and I, and one of the Sargeants waited on tables and they had a splendid meal. Turkey, roast beef, cabbage, potatoes, peas, plum pudding, mince pie, beer, a tot of rum, cigars, cigs, and candy. Most of the extras were sent us from Calgary by the ladies of the 8th Field Ambulance Club. Thay sent such a lot of things. At our own mess (Motor Transports) we had a Royal Dinner!
There are 17 of us and we each paid in 15 francs to buy extras. We bought 2 chickens, two ducks, and had one turkey issued. We also bought brussel sprouts, cauliflower, tomatoes, nuts, figs, raisins, cigars, cigs, all kinds of fancy drinks and liquers. We had several toasts: the first to the King; the second to our dear ones at home; and the 3rd to our allies with hopes that it is continued until we can demand our own peace terms. There were just two Corporals and the rest of us were privates, so there were no restrictions as to how we carried on. We have a very nice billet now. It's a little hut that just holds us all, and has a little cook house adjoining so we are able to carry on our own mess. This is so much more satisfactory because the grub is properly cooked and we are able to sit down and eat it, and we are able to get our dishes washed once in a while.
While I was home Dear, I found out where Dick was buried. Do you know he and poor Heck were killed on the same battlefield? The day before Xmas, I went down to the Brigade H.Q. to see the Brigade Chaplain to find out if he could tell me where there might be graves in the advanced area. He offered to take me around, and we walked all afternoon and altho' we visited hundreds of graves, we were unsuccessful in our search. There are very few crosses left standing that were put up in 1915. You see, this ground was taken by Fritz and held for sometime (that was after Dick was killed), and then we took it back again (when Heck was killed) and consequently, it has been swept with shells for over two years. And the position given where Dick was buried is a little under half a mile from Fritz's front line now. So, I'm afraid I shall never find it now.
Hon. did I tell you that I saw Cyril Currie about a month ago? H had just landed that day. I asked him about Fred Tobey, and Art, and C., and he said he thought they were still in England. I do wish you would tell me when you write where Ross is, and any of the other fellows that I've been asking about.
I was a little hurt Dear this Xmas to find that I have gradually dwindled out of the memory of my supposed old friends. I sent away 27 Xmas cards and did not receive one in return. I received a parcel from Frasers, and your parcel arrived on Xmas Day. The one from Mrs Clark arrived about two weeks ago.............
Had to quit for dinner as I was mess orderly today. There's a big mail just come in Sweetheart, So I'm sure there will be a letter from you. God, I hope so! That's the onlt thing that makes life worth living. I suppose I have only myself to blame, because I do so little corresponding, but I love to receive letter, and when I don't get any I feel so damn homesick I just hate everybody.
Did you receive the parcel yet Buds? I saw in the Optimist that Kennedys have left Meota, and John Gregroy has taken their house. That will be nice for the old ladies. And the Kennedy kids have taken over Gregory's place. Mrs. Deeley's increase has arrived, and our mutual friend Grey has had to report for military service. Honestly, that's the only man in all Canada that I'm glad to see conscripted. The cold footed sun of a gun. How about George, Buds - has he had to report? If he goes onto his farm he doesn't need to come. I rather wish he would go to the farm and you could keep house for him. Then it wouldn't be so lonely for you.................
Well girlie, I had to quit this last night and go out on a trip. Oh, Honey Bunch, I was so disappointed not to receive a letter, or anything at all last night. Twelve bags of Canadian mail too. But I'm not blaming you Darling. Honestly, because I know perfectly well Darling that you write regularly. When I miss a week without getting a letter from you, I always get two the following week.
We have our piano back again now and every night the boys drag me over to play some songs or dances.