France Aug 16th 1916
Received your letter a few days ago and will try to write a little tonight to pass away a little time, had a letter from Dunk, Mary [my] Sadie, and Kathleen Loney at about the same time as yours and it is some job answering them all. Mary told me about the baby, it was too bad. Kathleen is working in Eatons in the Mail Order Department and likes it fine. Dunk told me about Mrs McDonald it must have wild around there for awhile. I guess the way they were yelling wasn't slow. The weather still keeps fine it hasn't rained to amount to anything since we landed in France and hope it stays that way, Well I have had two trips in the trenches so know a little about the game. Harry Dey went in the first time with us but didn't come out. Mat Carmical is in A Company I see him quite often. Lachie and most of the fellows I know best in the 68th went to the 28th Batt. They were not very far from us one time but didn't see any of them. haven't seen Bob or any of the fellows from home yet don't know what Battn they were drafted to. We have marched forty some miles since we left the trenches not in one day of course but a little every day the most we did in one stretch was about fifteen miles, and passed through some of prettiest country in the world. One of the finest views I have had of this country was when we stopped on top of a hill on the march, could see for miles across the country. The roads in this country are hard on the hoofs, the loose stones and cobble stones are a terror to walk on, a fellow slides all over the place. Are billeted at farms, sleep in the barns on straw and it shure makes a good bed. The French are a better class of people than the Belgians and use the soldiers better. They have turkeys at this farm the first we saw for a long time, there is a peacock down the road a little way it yells now and again The Cruickshanks near Jims place at home had one. The water here is good both drinking and washing and lots of it, The grain is getting ripe around here some of them have got their wheat cut, it is mostly done by hand with a rig or something like a corn hook and they are handy with it, saw about a dozen binders on the way down one was a McCormick like the one Dunk has. The women work out in the field to beat the cars. They grow a lot of hops in France I suppose you know what they make with them. Am writing this with a one cent lead pencil like we used to get when going to school, lost my indelible one and can't get another around here so if you can't make it out you know whats the matter There are four of the 68th officers in the 5th, Lieutenant Gordon and his Brother are two of them. It is over a year now since I took the notion to don the khaki am not sorry yet but have no desire to stay here after the war is over, Tomorrow is pay day a day soldiers look forward to and it can't come to often The French money is easy to count and easier to spend there are Canteens and Y.M.C.As at the rest camps where they can relieve us of our pay. Shrapnel Bill Williams is trying to take my putties off and is messing them all up, he came over in the last draft and is always at somebody like Hugh used to be and his tongue is never still while he is awake. Do you ever get any of those nice letters from the Tall Dark Form now or has he carried out his threat and took Mrs [Brosun]? How is the car running these days it must be some rig. After the war you will never see an infantry soldier with a car when he wants to go any place he will throw a grain sack on his back and a shot gun on this shoulder and head through the country and stop for nobody.
I had a letter from a Friend in Regina the other day and things are picking up there (don't ask any questions) we don't see many Canadian papers here or reading matter of any account. You can send some old papers or magazines now and again if you like, don't send this to Sadie for I put the very same in it was there is in this. News is scarce here and we have to careful what we put in the letters or they wont go at all. will try to write more next time don't trim the kids too much remember you went to school one time yourself. (some advice. eh).
From your little Brother Keith
104205 Pte W.K. Dornan