France, November 12, 1915
I received your letter of October 15 today and I was happy to get it. Since coming to the hospital down here I haven't had much mail. The shrapnel is still in my back. It's too far in to get at very handy, but as yet it hasn't bothered me very much.
Funny that you should wonder where I would be when your letter reached me. Things turned out just about as you pictured they would. It's a miracle that I have escaped being killed. I have certainly had some narrow escapes. The luckiest escape was when I was looking over the parapet when a bullet hit a sandbag and went through the top of my cap. This time, I was cooking my dinner in the trench. Whether or not it smelled good to Fritz, I don't know, but he sent over a few rifle grenades. One lit just a yard or so behind me, and a small piece found its resting place in my back. I thought it was the end for me. It was an hour or so before I was aware of what had happened. One can't enjoy soldiering with bullets, shells, mines, bombs and numerous other death-dealing weapons to bother you.
So you had only one rose for the table! You are fortunate to have even one from the garden at this season of the year. I would not mind if I had been there to see it, but I won't be home for Christmas this year. Peterborough would look good to me. The French towns sure have crooked streets. They do not look at all like Canadian towns.
I had almost forgotten that there was a Thanksgiving Day. Every day is a thanksgiving to me now. I would indeed like to get my hands on one of Mother's pumpkin pies - even if I am in the hospital it would disappear in short order.
You ask about what the harvest is like in France. Well, the same grains are grown but the methods of farming are mostly behind the times compared with the way Canadian farmers take off their crops. I know a good cure for those strikers at the Auburn Woolen Mills. Give them the option of coming to France to fight or going to prison till the war is over.
I am glad that all is going well at home. It is good that Grandad and Grandma are quite smart and enjoying life in their old days. I could not have had better care than I have had here in this hospital. I am becoming quite attached to the place. The sisters are fine nurses and very kind to us. In fact I do not want to leave unless it is to go back to England.
With best regards to all
I remain, Your loving brother
Ward 7 - 26 General Hospital
2nd Battalion, 1st Can. Div.