Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: February 15th 1918

Somewhere in France
Feb 15th 1918

Dear Father:

Have not addressed you for some time so will write to you tonight. Wrote a long letter to Isabel two nights ago and asked her to send it on as it contained most of the news to date.

For the past 4 or 5 days I have been getting instruction on the Observer work preparatory to taking it up. For some time it consists of office work at the battery position of working out the targets from maps etc so as to know how to lay the guns. There is a lot of mathematical work and it is all particular but I think I can manage it alright after instruction and practice. There is always an officer and observor on duty at the same time. The shift is for 24 hours and then 24 hours off. Figuring is really all there is to it except after you get experience you go forward to positions from which you can see your target and together with an officer you correct the angles of the gun if you are not on the target. This part is interesting and also a little more dangerous but I will not be doing any of it for some time if at all. Will soon know how I got along with the work. At present I am only on during the day with the regular observers.

I enclose a clipping that may be of interest as it tells clearly how it is done except that it does not mention the observer who also does the figuring and calculating. The gun in the article is a size larger than ours, 8" dia. The B.C. or Battery Commander post is the name given to the office and a telephone station is also there with a signaller to operate it.

Think Mother was going to send me a copy of Alderson Smith's letter. Have not received it yet. By the way if sending any more parcels do not include Oxo or socks or gloves or mits as I have plenty. We have had a very mild winter so far and do not expect much cold weather now. Also wish you would see if my old Waltham Watch could be started going again and if it does not cost more than a couple of dollars to fix it please send it along in the next box or if it costs too much by me a $1.00 Ingersoll and send it. Have not been able to get a new glass in my wrist watch yet and anyway it is a little too delicate and I will try and send it home. Jewellers are scarce in France and it is hard to get a watch fixed and after you do they only run a few days sometimes and you are out $2 to $3 and have to pay the same amount again. If the Ingersoll get smashed will throw it away and get a new one. You might also send me a little ordinary writing paper say the double sheet kind. At present they are sold out here.

I will now try and answer Evelyns letter of Jan 13th received the day before yesterday. Note you have not had a letter from me for a couple of weeks. There are a couple on the way and you should have them soon. Isabel received my letter of Dec 25th and I guess she would send it on home. Marshall had also been writing so they should all turn up soon. Marshall has not been feeling very well so today he has gone to hospital. Do not think there is anything serious and would not mention it to his people. He wrote them a couple of days ago. Will be hearing how he is getting along and report. He will likely go back of the line for a while anyway.

Did not hear anything of the vessel being held up but it is quite possible.

Do not know the Burrows you mention but went to Collegiate with two of his brothers. Have not had a letter from Eliz. for two or three weeks now but expect one soon. Did Will receive my letter written about Dec 14th I think. Is Stanley in the 63rd Battery? It is the only one in London.

You seem to be doing a little in cutting wood this winter and I hope you make enough to make the walk out worth while. Some of the wood from Kearney would be valuable in Guelph just now. We have had no frost here for two weeks now and there is none in the ground now. The fine weather means more fighting. It has been misty and therefore poor for planes lately.

Hope the Piano you have bought will prove alright. No doubt it will do for a while and in the meantime you can look for another.

Have no doubts eggs are the price you mention. They are the same here.

I received another box last night that was intended for Jan 26th and it was appreciatted. Out of 14 sent me only one has been lost and it is possible I might get it yet. This is very good and shows the good service. You are supposed to use two addresses now so for a second one you can use Gr Douglas Littlejohn 334.908 2nd etc. He is in the dugout with me and it will be all in the family.

I think this is all for now. Hope you are all well.

Love to all

P.S. - I wrote the Assessor at Edm about the taxes on Lot E Blk 3 Martin Estate and he said he would try and collect from Mrs. Brown to whom I sold this property. Anyway he said the property would not be sold for taxes when I was on Active Service. Do not expect Mrs Brown will pay anyway but will wait and see. Did you receive back the receipted bills for the taxes you paid?


Original Scans

Original Scans