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Date: November 17th 1918

Nov 17th 1918

My Dear Mother:

We landed back at the battery again the night before last after rather an eventful trip even though we went out of our way to get here. The day we left Paris travelled as far as Amiens which is of some size and was considerably shelled during the summer. Had to stay there until the next afternoon as there were no trains until then. In the meantime had a good chance to visit the city and also the Cathedral which [?] Were told the train to take and got on it as soon as it arrived and got in a box car which was already crowded but later changed to a 3rd class car which had the door missing. About midnight arrived at St Quentin which was not the place to go at all and the train had apparently changed its destination. From midnight until 9 AM stayed in the train and almost froze. It then went a distance of about five miles and stopped for an hour in the middle of what had been a battlefield. Of course many got off and in some way somebody set a bomb off wounding four men. The train then came back to the place it left again and passed through there on to the end of the line which was about 75 miles from our destination. Got a days rations there, it was about 3 PM and passed through a couple of village by riding on lorries before dark. We located a civilian house and got a room in it and also coffee and spent the night fairly comfortable. In the morning we started out again and after a long roundabout trip in which we rode on from eight to ten different lorries we arrived at the city of Valenciennes close to which we left the battery when we left on leave. After inquiries got the approximate location of our brigade and also found a lorry going in that direction which was very lucky. As soon as we got off it found one of the battery boys and we were right at home. May say that we are at present billeted in houses near the road between Valenciennes and Mons about four miles from Mons. Have a room in a Civilian house and have almost the run of the place. Of course we are now again in Belgium, the first time since last November, but we have come a long way to get here. The censorship has been relaxed lately and it is also possible to use Cameras now. Expect we will soon start in direction of Germany and trust to see the country anyway. Everything is quiet and it is quite a contrast. It is a long way to Germany from here and expect we will have a busy time moving and not much chance to write. There was a church service for all Canadians in Mons today but only a few from each unit so I did not get away. Had an inspection yesterday also pay parade when we got our extra Christmas money as well. Also have another inspection tomorrow.

Received about a dozen letters upon my return and also four more yesterday and three today so I have done well indeed. Also received the other parcel you sent from Kearney and also the one with the socks mits & Lux all of which are very welcome at this time. Wish you would thank Bertha if you have the chance. The mits came just at the right time as the last couple of days have been quite chilly. The parcel of eats was much appreciatted and as we were all hungry the night we reached here we soon made a good start on them. Think it better that you do not send anything further as our future movements are indefinite and cannot say where we will be.

We all expect that fighting has ceased for this war and it certainly looks like it from all appearances. Our commission papers have all been returned as there are no more courses called for at present. It has all come very sudden and is hard to realize as I was expecting it would last most of next year. Of course it has cost something to bring this decision and Canadian have suffered considerably as well as others. Coming up here we travelled over ground we had not seen before and it all showed signs of the heavy struggle and the cost of the gains. Civilians are going in all directions on the roads and our lorries are filled with them. You also see them hauling their belongings in carts or whatever they can find. The ones who have a horse or a cow to pull it are lucky and the most of them have that to do themselves. Many of our men who have been prisoners in Germany are also coming back and large numbers of them are in bad shape. There are also large numbers of the Civilians sick with no one to look after them.

Do not know if I can tell you much of my Paris trip as it would take too long. Was certainly pleased to see Elizabeth and trust I may have another chance to visit her before leaving France. We are all trying to guess where and when we will go but it is very indefinite and it is not likely we will know until we are started. May have a chance to see England again and may not. It remains to be seen. Anyway a sight of Canada will be very welcome. Elizabeth may be even longer on this side than I.

Have been watching the reports on the Influenza with concern and sincerely trust you all escape it or at least with no ill effects. It spreads very quickly and Paris & London have just passed the worst of it, although after thousands of deaths. Notice one of the Morrish boys whose number was only 3 above mine has been killed. Also another Leslie boy. A Lt. Nesbitt who came over with our draft has also been wounded and many others.

Will now try and answer your many letters and this will also have to answer Evelyns & Isabels. I guess I missed the olives but the jelly was very good although it leaked out a little but not enough to hurt. The two boxes reached me over three weeks apart so it was O.K. Note you are keeping the camp open until the first of November this year and it will be a little chilly by that time. Trust the hunting is good this year and probably by next I will be going too. Received a letter today from Evelyn at Fergus giving me the news. Also received one from Will and will answer it soon. No doubt he will see this and know what I am doing and all the news. I receive the Veteran he is sending me O.K. and just got one. Had no idea who was sending it or would have acknowledged the receipt. It is interesting and has some good jokes as well. The large pair of socks fit me fine and are first class. Would not know they were not done by a professional. You have been lucky to get some trout so close at hand. Partridge are certainly nice eating. Quite a number around these parts but hard to get with a rifle.

Isabel is certainly doing well in the banking business and it is a good plan. I did not spend all my money on leave partly because I did not get all of it as some of it was too late in coming from England. However I had enough to get through and the balance may come in useful later on.

Have just received a few Edmonton papers and include a clipping. I suppose the Siberia expedition is already on the way. At least they will have a long voyage.

Enclose a tax notice for two lots and if you have not already paid the taxes on them wish you would please forward the amount. As this will not reach you until Dec. there will be no discount so the amount to be paid will be $3.10. Trust you have the papers for the taxes on the other lots.

Enclose a postcard of a place we visited in Paris and which is very historic.

Think this is about all I have to write about today and you will find this a lengthy letter.

Trust you are quite well and with love to All, I close

Your loving son

Original Scans

Original Scans