May 7 1916
Your letter of the 16th just arrived along with William and Eudora's. I was glad to hear from you and that you attended the memorial service for Alister. Yes it was too bad. He was such a fine fellow, and poor Ray also. I used to be very hard on them at home, really they suffer more than the men out here, I honestly believe.
I there is a good and true understanding however, between them before they leave home it must help a great deal to stand the shock of an announcement, of a very close relative as a casualty. Don't you think so, especially if those at home know the end came without bodily suffering. You would hardly credit it Mother, but Ive heard men say, "Well was so and so killed instantly?" Yes' Well he's lucky.
Orvil was reproaching himself for having given the details of Macks' end, upon hearing you had read the letter, but I told him he need not feel that way about it. You know Mother, if I should go why it is best that I should and I know that also, but at the same time I am never rash or take unecessary risks. If you will only believe me when I say that it would relieve me of a lot of worry to think you did not worry.
Since transferring to the artillery a great deal of my mail has gone astray, but I received the birthday parcel, which was good indeed. The parcels which Joe sent me weekly have not appeared for the last two weeks. The boys in the section are putting them to a good use, I'm sure but in the meantime Ive written Joe telling him of the change.
Did Walter Smith come. I hope he has called on you by this time. Gladstone Ghent has also, I hear sailed for Canada. If I had the opportunity to do so and to come back here as an officer in the infantry I wouldnot accept it.
The work is mostly in the green fields and woods. Today I was off duty and went for a walk to a large town about 10 miles back from the line. Autos, motorcycles, motor lorries, railway trains, stores, YMCA canteens, moving picture shows for the soldiers, the daily paper from London only one day late. I enjoyed it too for a change and purchased a khacki shirt. Tried to get a bath but no success. Sunday, baths closed, only thing closes down for here on Sunday, and I needed a bath too. Its quite a month and over since I had one and a change. Spent all my pay also, and was just paid 15 francs the night before. Money goes quickly and eggs and shorts are so expensive.
Was awfully sorry to hear of your cold and indisposition but hope this will find you quite well and happy.
Washed your white socks the other day instead of throwing them away as I usually would have done. So the dye is scarce. Well whats lacking in the socks comes off from the boots. However I like the white socks, you can tell when they are clean, with the others its just a chance.
Now that the summer is here and the weather warm do you think it possible or practicable to make me some underwear from a light material perhaps a trifle heavier than cheesecloth, short arms and legs and no more buttons than it absolutely needs. A suit would not need to be finished or hemmed. The idea is just something to wear next my skin, to last about two weeks or so and then thrown away or if you make it from stronger material perhaps it can be washed. You know my size and everything. I wouldn't bother you only I must have a change oftener than I can conveniently get it. At present I would rather walk against the wind than with it and I have been visited and keeping company with foreign relations for a while now.
Well Mother must draw to a close with best of love to you all.
Your loving son