My Dearest Betty:-
Letters 11-14&15 to hand yesterday, yes dear I knew that you would be very disappointed at the non-success of your application, but you did all that you could do.
Mine has been in a week but I do not expect to hear any more about it. So we shall have to wait in patience for the ending of the war, & as we think of Spikes[?] & Pryor & others, after all we have a good deal to be thankful for. I would have prepared you for my coming back to France if I had had the opportunity, but it was sudden & unexpected for me, as well as a choice between a Labour battalion & Y.M. The people over there seem to have a lazy idea of the Y.M.C.A. here.
The officers come from Canada & are given a temporary & honourary rank of Captain, but the working staff are taken from the ranks here & are briefly men who are unfit for the line - & these are the men who do the real work & brave the dangers of the forward line, as I said in my last letter the Y.M. staff have had men both killed & wounded & I have been under shell & bomb fire since I came back. However dear Betty there is nothing like the risk that we have in the line, & everything else is correspondeningly better
We get fairly good food & not bad sleeping arrangements.
Now dear Betty you must not bother with parcels, just a pair of soxs once in a while is all that I need. & if I do need any thing else at any time I will let you know. My general health is fairly good, & my wounds are all well healed, just my left knee gives me trouble & will always do so more or less. On the whole I think myself very fortunate. In order to get back to Canada a man has to be pretty well useless for anything over here & as far as sympathy is concerned the Medical & Military Authorities never err on that side - it's a case of "What we have we hold" with them. The weather here is beautiful, just like spring, the trees are budding out & the buttercups & daisies are in bloom.
You must be sure & get in lots of coal & wood this spring for next winter,& may be I'll be home to shovel it in the furnace for you next winter. We have quite a Y.M.C.A. Plant where I am at present - just building it, there is one Hut 120 ft x 30 ft, & we have this divided into a Canteen - Reading & Writing Room & a Quiet Room. Then there is a second hut the same size for concerts - pictures & services, and we have yet another building to put up for an officer's club.
We open our canteen at 9 a.m. & close at 9. P.M. so you see we have lots of work to keep things going, but as I have said before it is very interesting & does not get monotonous & it certainly is a good deal better than the trenches N. I do hope Billy's teeth are soon better, you must have them seen to right away U. That was quite a letter from Maggie poor [?] they are always in trouble V. How I am longing to see you all & what pictures I conjure up, of the three of you & myself crowded in the big chair E, however please God it will come some day [?] Good-Bye for now sweetheart heaps of love
[?] [?] Betty XXXXXXXXXXXXXX Billy XXXXX