France, April 16, 1915.
I received your letter today. This is likely to be our last night in this place so will try to write a good long letter to you. The Second and Third Canadian Brigades are already in the trenches and from what I hear, the casualties are heavier than before. To-night we can hear an awful cannonading in front of us. It sounds heavier than the Battle of New Chapelle. I hope the Germans are driven back to-night because the sooner we get them on the run, the quicker we get
through with it all. Of course this may be only an artillery duel, but from the sound of it, I think it's an attack. You can see the star shells going up and the reflections of the bursting shells.
We have had a very interesting week with sports nearly every afternoon. There was a Company run with our full equipment on. We ran for a mile and a quarter - some run believe me with a sixty pound pack and a rifle to carry! There is to be a concert and campfire tonight in one of the nearby fields. I guess they are getting our spirit up before we go back into the trenches.
I had quite an experience the last time I was in the trenches. Two volunteers were called for to act as guides to take the Brigadier General and our Colonel out to look over a disused trench about two hundred and fifty yards in front of us and about eighty yards from the German lines. The corporal of my section and I got the chance to go. We guided the two officers out and fortunately the Germans did not spot us. They kept sending up star shells and letting the odd shot fly. However, we all got safely back and were glad to be behind the sandbags again.
I often see Bert Carpenter and Sid Garrett from Peterborough, and I also meet fellows from other battalions that I met when I was out west. Bert tells me that his brother Briar is crazy to come to the front. He is wise if he stays where he is. He is too young and besides one from a family is enough to go through this hell of a war. Tell Uncle David that I will answer his letter. I have good intentions to write but it's inconvenient to do so out here and paper is often scarce.
We have quite a time with the rats in our present billets. At night they ... (missing)