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Date: January 2nd 1917

B.E.F. France
Jan 2, 1917

Dear Edna:

My letters to you lately have contained apologies for not writing regularly and this one promises to be no exception to the rule. I can say though that I have neglected others also, most of them worse than I have neglected you, so you see what a poor correspondent I am getting. I forget whether I wrote to you from the Base or not. I remember mailing a Ronelles Camp Magazine to you however. I really don't know whether there is anything in it that would interest you but I thought it might give you same slight idea of the lighter side of camp life.

Well, you see I am back again and have been for more than a month now enjoying life among the things that are most interesting to the world in general. I was up in the trenches for a couple of good long spells and am just writing this in a hurry to get it away before I go in again.

Since coming here I have had one letter from you dated Oct 29th and needless to say I have read it several times and enjoyed it immensely. My mail has gone all to the dogs lately, for having moved at a busy time, my parcels and letters that were meant to reach me for Christmas have not shown up. They have gone to Shoreham I expect and then - well the mystery deepens. My Mother and sisters and several other people have mentioned various things they have sent but I am still waiting for the evidence to arrive that I may thank them.

Oh, I do enjoy your interesting "lingo" as you seem inclined to call it and you may write just as much of it, as often as you wish.

I am afraid that during the winter at least, I shall not be able to write quite as often as I have done for it is almost impossible to write under conditions that are not as congenial as they are during the summer months but I shall do my best. You may be sure I shall not forget yours for I value your friendship very highly. We are spending three-fourths of the time in the trenches now, so our rests in billets are short and if it were not for so much polishing of brass and buttons it might be sweet.

I have not reached the "fed-up" stage yet. Perhaps after the next 5 years of the war I shall probably have had enough.

It is hard to realize the change in the battalion since I was here 7 months ago. There is only one left in my platoon who was here then, and it is a rare thing to meet a familiar face from the 4th Univ. Co. But such is life!

Crawford is here but has left direct connection with the battalions and is now on the brigade staff on special work. He has been through a good deal of experience since I left.

I wonder if I shall have a chance to meet Merril over here. It will only be a chance but if you let me have his address it may be that sometime I shall be billeted near his battalion and then I shall be glad to look him up.

I hope you had a very pleasant Christmas. I know it would be different with your thoughts more than ever centred on the Beautiful land of Normandy but I think you may rest assured that the boys over here are looked after so generously and lovingly by those at home that their Christmas & New Year festivities were more than they every dreamed of under the circumstances. Christmas Day was spent much the same as any other with me for I was in the trenches then, except that Fritz and we exchanged greetings in so friendly a manner that would have opened the eyes of peaceful Canadians. I don't think it would do to go into detail.

Your news of the M.A.C. brings back memories. Whiting & I were talking last night about the old times we had there. Do you remember Whiting? Perhaps you do not, as he was on the Second Year when I was in the 5th.

I left England just a week or two after the 196th arrived there and I was not able to see any of the boys in it. Ramsay wrote me from London when he was on leave. By the way, I can't seem to find out where his brother Bill is. He was in one of the other companies of our battalion but I have not been able to find him since coming back. Jenkins has also kept out of sight. I don't know whether he has been wounded or not. I must make a special effort to find out.

So you still think you would like to be a nurse do you? Well, you are a plucky little girl. I think I told you once, I should love to be wounded if you were my nurse, and I can repeat the same statement with added emphasis.

I am sure you felt quite dignified when you presided over the Red Cross Society meeting among all the old ladies and school-marms. I should like to have come in about that time, but I must compliment you on your ability to make them come through with their two "bucks" membership fee.

Since you mentioned that a Chaplain writing in the Christian Guardian was describing the battle of June 2nd I was wondering if it was Mr. Fallis. He was at a clearing station back of the line where I was taken and he was doing everything possible to make the men comfortable. There were hundreds lying on stretchers when I got there waiting for dressing by the medical attendants and this Mr. Fallis who is a friend of our family was taking cocoa around and sending messages to relatives of any of the boys who wanted them sent. When he came to me he did not recognize me - I suppose I was not quite as rosy as usual and besides I had two weeks growth of beard on my face, - but he asked me my name and where I came from and from that time everything was cheery. I know he writes for the Christian Guardian quite regularly.

Well, my little friend, I must close. You always say not to make any excuses for scribbling but this is simply terrible.

Don't forget that I am always a willing recipient of your delightful messages of cheery, breezy news. They have a flavor of prairie freedom that I long to enjoy again in reality. I shall write just as often as I possibly can, and you may be sure there are many times when I would write if I could but it is not so easy just now.

Here's hoping for PEACE in 1917!
As Ever,