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Date: March 8th 1917
John William Law

[?] left 1/17

March 8 1917

Dear Father:-

Your letter of the 8th Feb recd this morning and must apologize for having neglected to write for some time, with the exception of the field post cards which I trust you have been receiving regularly. The truth of the matter is that since the finish of the Somme for us, I have been feeling never quite up to the work. About the last week down there, an abscess developed on my back which unfitted me for any work, although I did not go to hospital, this only healed when another appeared on my left leg above knee, quite as large as the one on my back. Since then Ive had another on my kneecap. These, although, uncomfortable and inconvenient, taking sometimes over a month to heal, are not bad enough to go to hospital, but now that the warm weather is coming and one can look after himself better I think I can get back into good condition again, but while feeling like that it is difficult to write cheerfuly if at all, as you will understand.

The death of [?] Macdonald was printed in the London Daily mail and I read of it a day after the unfortunate accident happened. He was a worker and well up, and when one considers what one at his age and position are doing, it looks poorly for those younger men who sit and read the paper round the home fires and pass comments as to what should be done. As you know the Col. Was allowing me half pay while out here, but as it was only a verbal agreement I am somewhat interested to know how it will effect me should I be fortunate enough to return. However it is not advisable to make enquiries until my return.

You were asking me the thoughts of the average infantryman as they go "across" "or hop the bags" the slang expression. My own thoughts I cannot tell you, never having experienced it, but Ive seen a few go across, and looked at those that have returned. Nobody likes it, more like well its got to be done and here goes, feeling. Ive seen some light a cigarette half way across, and one regiment kicked a football over with them. On the somme the men displayed a greater disregard for shells than at any other time I have known. There was two reasons for this, first because there were so many and it appeared useless to try any dodging, second the battle field after a while was simply a sea of very soft earth, a shell would penetrate probably 4 or 5 feet before it exploded, the force given to the pieces being lost after being forced through the soft earth, consequently it would have to be a direct hit on you or shrapnell bursting in the air, to be really dangerous.

I did not get a chance to go to Mt Florida while on leave although I intended. Enquiring the last day in Glasgow, where it was. I found it too far to go and have time for what else I intended to do. The time certainly flies and ten days are gone before you realize it. Should I be in Glasgow again, I will make it a point to call, also on [?] Semple. Joe as perhaps I told you is in training for the tanks (more power to him) Ralph Law son of Prof. Law who came out at the same time I did and has since gone back for a commission is in training for the same ting. I suppose Germany will have "tanks" this year also and what can be a more intersting spectacle than two of these things fighting, I do not know. It will be just like the troops of both sides to stand around in "[?]" and watch them.

William tells me he is working on munitions. It is useless to advise to join or not to join, the matter resting with oneself, or until conscription is in force, but should he join it is advisable to fit himself for an officer before signing any papers. He has had a sufficiently good education and there is no reason why he should not get some advantage from it. The branches I have spoken of in other letters are more suitable for him than what I did.

There is not much more to say at present. The weather has been cold and snowy the last few days, but as my duties are not of the same order they once were, this effects me little. The parcels have been arriving regularly and in good order. They are fine indeed and help a great deal to make things comfortable.

Don't forget about the change in my address to anybody enquiring.

With best wishes

Your affectionate son


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