Somewhere in France
June 5th / 17
My Dear Betty & Kiddies:-
Well dear ones I am up at the front at last & in the short time I have been here one has seen so much one would like to write of - yet one can write very very little = We are camped in a wood a very pleasant place, & live in dugouts, you would be very interested as well as amused to see some of them - they are not new to me however for we made them in S. Africa, two sergeants & a corporal are staying in the one that I am in, & the four of us just fit snugly, it is about 6 ft by 6 ft something like this [drawing] just dug out of the [?] & roofed over with braches & earth
We are well within range of Fritz's guns & occasionally he sends over a few shells just to keep us from getting lonesome - last night some of their aireoplanes came over & dropped quite a few bombs arround, but I don't think there were any casualties - all day long you hear the guns both theirs & our own pounding away - also in the daytime it both interesting & exciting to watch the areoplane duels, I tell you this is where you see the fancy flying with all kinds of thrills - you know it seems strange after all to see the trees & flowers growing arround & hear the birds singing (last evening I heard the cuckoo) amid the rack & ruin of war. One cannot write or express in writing the things one sees here.
The war is certainly going to leave its impression on the people of France especially in the war devastated areas & the same is true of our own Canadian boys.
There is a great work for the Churches when the boys come back, & God help the Church if she does not rise to the opportunity = The day is gone by when you can scare a man with talk about Hell-fire etc-etc.Why every day & night here, the boys are in it - & they are absolutely fearless, I tell you its splendid, You can see them at their work playing their games - [?] - writing - reading - sleeping = just "Carrying On" in the ordinary way with jest & singing & laughter yet never knowing the minute a shell may come hurling over, or a bomb drop & put a dozen of two out of commission. Everyone always ready - eager & willing for any duty however dangerous & the Canadian Boys, have won the name of being the best in the whole line. I got my first mail sence leaving Blighty last evening, there was two letters from you 22 & 23 & pix from England
Was sorry to know that McCord letter alarmed you unnecessarily. There just happened to be a general mobilization, & we were under orders for about 3 days to move at a minutes notice, but as you know now nothing came of it, So Shirley is at school = My I could fancy you leaving her = poor little kid & Poor Betty. Now my dear do not worry about me here = I know how anxious you will be but don't give way to it, hope for the best - One thing I am not suffering the hardships & privations, we endured in S.A. & I don't believe we ever shall. The fighting however is altogether different And & as far as the danger etc is concerned - well a man hardly gives it a thought = "The cuckoo is is singing as I write" & so you must take its message as being the harbinger of the Spring of Peace.
This year may finish it = but everything will depend upon the next 2 or 3 months, there is certainly going to be some great fighting ahead. You know dear Betty if it were not for you & the kiddies I would just glory in this life - there is something fasinating & enthralling about it, & you have the feeling that you're doing a man's job.
Am interested to hear of [?] your housecleaning operation but don't work too hard dear take it easy this summer & get out into the park lots with the kiddies, I don't like the idea of your going to keep the house for Ruby while she goes out to work, & am glad you are not going - you will be far better off as well as the children to stay with the home. Let me have Mr Kennedy's address, as I have forgotten it, Also you might send Bella a Money Order for Two Dollars - if you have not already done so, the cost of the cable. I am hoping to get my mail more regular from now on, & am sorry that you are getting yours so irregular - however there is nothing we can do. I would not bother much with parcels just a few cigarettes & package of tobacco once in a while.
Well I must close for now sweetheart, love - kisses & hugs to all as before God bless & strengthen you & bring the day of reunion speedily = Good morning fondest love
Just a line or two before mailing this letter, its evening & it is refreshing to sit out among the trees after the awful heat of the day, for it is far hotter than we ever get it in Canada - The guns are booming all arround & most likely a little later on things will get a little more lively they generally do at night, I have not met any of the Emerson boys yet, but expect to see them any time now. I am going for a walk to the cemetery there are two right close by hundreds of graves mostly French soldiers - little forests of wooden crosses, with helmets etc on top of the mound - it looks pathetic etc, My address will be, Cpl Mayse 291494, 1st C.M.R. Canadians B.E.F. France - Remember me to Gunns etc etc Again God bless you , "Bon Buit Mon Cherrie" fondest love
Tell Shirley I was so pleased to get her letter.