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Date: June 9th 1916

France, June 9, 1916

Dear Mother,

Sunday evening and I must drop a few lines home. I received your letter of May 6 yesterday, the first one in over a fortnight and your parcel of April 22 today, the first parcel mail I have received for over two months. Many thanks for both. Your letters are always very welcome especially after we have been a couple of weeks without mail. I don't know what we would do were it not for the home letters. They are the great connecting link between us and the past and are invaluable to us. Needless to say parcels
are always welcome and especially so today for having been so long without any. We have missed them. We had the chicken and some of the butter for tea and it certainly tasted good. We are expecting some more mail along tomorrow and probably would get some more of the delayed letters and parcels

Was glad to hear from you that Bart getting along so well. I was certainly glad to see him a getting back. He deserved it if anyone did for he was easily the hardest worker in the battery. I have made a lot of friends in this life but I couldn't wish for a better one than Bart. He was white from the start to finish, a pal on whom you could depend for everything. Had a couple of letters from him since he got home and also a parcel of cake and cookies. It was certainly thoughtful of him to remember me so.

Speaking of eats, you mentioned Mrs. Warren and her working on parcels. The fact that he is an officer does not signify anything for an officer is issued with the same rations as the common gunner. Of course they may buy whatever they wish and we do the same and in our dugout at least we have usually lived as well as the officers. Our battery is the best fed unit I know of, thanks to our battery fund which is kept up by means of a thriving canteen in which we are able to obtain a good stock of Canadian fruit, chocolates, biscuits etc. from the Central YMCA and Expeditionary Force canteens and in addition each man spends 10 or 15 francs on each pay day which buys sufficient extras to make
our bill of fare complete. It is not because we are short of rations that we like to get parcels but because the regular dole gets kind of monotonous and we like the taste of home cooking for a change.

Strange that you did not have a letter from me saying that leave was cancelled. It is open again for twelve months but that means I have nearly two months to wait yet. Think I will go to Italy when my leave comes up if I can get away.

Had a letter from Laura Gordon a few days ago and will enclose it in this. Sent you a letter of few days ago telling you that we were out on rest. Am having a splendid time of it with practically nothing to do. Have a good camp situated on a hill from which we have a splendid view of the surrounding country which is at its very best now. The weather has been splendid since we came out. We are in tents but as we are a bit crowded most of us have been sleeping out. It is certainly a welcome change after living in a dugout for so long. It is threatening rain tonight and we may be forced in before morning but we are e going to chance it anyway. Am afraid you must have been worrying a good deal during the last few weeks and there was really no need for we weren't in anything out of the ordinary. As far as the general situation, while no doubt it has appeared a bit black yet to those of us out here there has never been a moment's doubt as to the outcome. The allies are playing deep game and we have no fear of the future. We were in no way surprised by what happened and while it may not finish until next year, there is no question of the outcome and the end is much nearer than it would have been had things happened differently.

Yes I get the Patriot also the Witness and World Wide quite regularly and certainly appreciate them. By the way I didn't mentioned the tobacco enclosed in your parcel. It was very welcome as I was almost out of smokes. I don't know what you think of my smoking. Possibly you disapprove of it. But I will quote Clarence McKinnon of Pine Hill as an authority who knows the conditions In an address after he is returned to Canada he said: "My view is some things are changed. I do not know what the boys would have done without cigarettes and playing cards." And he is right. A smoke is our great comfort while a little game of cards helps to while away an hour which otherwise would drag heavily. [Harold never smoked after the war and as children we were never allowed to play cards on Sunday.]

Am glad to hear the government has opened up the roads for autos. It certainly is a step in the right direction and will soon live down opposition The padre has just come for a good night service so I will finish this in the morning. Was to service this morning also. In addition to the two services on Sunday we have good night service every night throughout the week at 9 o'clock.

Monday morning - have not much news this morning. Did not rain last night but it is quite wet now. Don't think it will be much. Mentioned in my last letter that we see Joe Clark almost every day. He is only are couple of yards from me. We are having some fun with baseball games. Have a league and I think our team has a fairly good chance. We have some splendid players and so far have only been beaten once. We would not have
lost the game we did were it not for a bit of hard luck and a slight misjudgment on the part of one of the players. Now I don't think I have any more news so will ring off and write again in a few days

All well as usual. Love to all, Harold