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Date: April 14th 1918


Dear Nellie:

I feel out of humor this morning so that should be a proper time for me to write to you. I get so mad when mail comes in and there is none for me from home. Since coming from Canada I have had but three letters from Mother and three parcels. I get a few more letters from you but you cannot imagine how, over in this land, a letter from home cheers and encourages. Without it one feels lost, and, as it were, stranded in a sea of desolation. Surely Mother writes more. I don't like to write and worry her about such matters as I can fully realize she has more than her share of work as it is.

We are in a different part of the line now and seeing active service in all its glories and realities. Storrey and I are Battery runners and like the work alright as it gives one a good chance to get around. A march along a cobble road last week gave me a pair of sore feet but otherwise I am feeling fine, getting enough to eat and, in a certain sense and to a certain degree, enjoying myself. For a short time we had Imperials with us but now the Canucks are here and everyone is glad for with a few reliable Canadian battalions around close Fritzie will get a warm reception if he starts out to put on a show.

In our Battery headquarters dugout we have Mr. Buck, the section officer, his batman and Storrey and I. It is not palace-like but we can move around alright. Yesterday Storrey and I put up some bunks, made out of two by four scantlings and chicken wire and did a little house-cleaning in general. As a result I had a fine sleep last night. I didn't bring my blanket into the line this time and it was cold sleeping on the floor with nothing but an overcoat for protection against cold and rats and mice which are often casual visitors. It is while on gas picquet at night that we see the famous rats. Two nights ago I was sitting just inside the dug-out entrance and amusing myself by trying to spear them with my service clasp knife as they went past along the trench mat. Most of them were too quick for me. Haven't experienced any live gas so far although Fritzie uses it quite often in the immediate vicinity. He has been very quiet for the last day or two. The whizz-bangs are the ones we have to dodge. Storrey came in the other morning with a piece of shrapnel which had buried itself in a post a few feet from him. But you would never realize how life goes on just the same here as over there. The shells, gas, trenches dug-outs all weave themselves into and become a part of your daily existence. It is monotonous and exacting but one goes about just the same - when I come back I think I will just build myself a dug-out below the cellar and with a few trenches around the yard to walk about in life should be quite normal.

Now, Nellie, if you send parcels to me let me know only the dates you send them. It's nice to get them but it's hell - pardon the term - and makes one swear with vehemence to get a letter saying a parcel is being sent and then after waiting it never comes. In your last letter which reached me, dated Mar. 4th, you mentioned sending some candy. It hasn't reached me so far - April 14th - send only small parcels. A box of cigarettes, some candy and a handkerchief or two. Clean handkerchiefs are welcome here and its difficult to get your socks washed as often as they require.

Well, I'll close for now,

Yours Frank.

Original Scans

Original Scans