Canadian Base Depot
Somewhere in France
May 25 / 17
My Dear Betty:
Have been over, a week now & have spent a rather enjoyable time everything has been different, & though I have had some hard work yet one does not mind, for you have the knowledge that at last you are doing something deffinate - "the bit" that one enlisted to do. I have spent about thirty hours in the trenches, & on going up I was at once given charge of a plattoon, so I rather think that before very long I shall be able to tell you that I have received my third stripe back again, but in the meantime I am "Corporal Mayse"
I would rather have things as they have turned out for me after all - for whatever comes to me I shall be able to say that I have earned it fairly & squarely, won it on merit. I see by the papers that they are going to pass a measure for conscription at last in Canada, I would not like to belong to a conscript army & I'm afraid that they will not get a very good reception by the boys over here I spent the 24th on guard at Base Hdq's & am just finishing up my tour of duty shall be going off in a couple of hours & hope to get a pass to spend the afternoon & evening at a nearby town.
Oh, one of my boys on guard comes from Franklin & I believe he went to school to you along with the Kerr boys his name is Sharpe. It is a most delightful morning - "Sunny France" indeed; all arround, the birds are trilling a very riot & medley of song: from the wood clad hillsides & the gardens & orchards in the valley - everything looks fresh - beautiful & green, with patches here & there of fruit trees in blossom, & down the valley & through a gap in the hills you catch a glimpse of the shimmering sea just outside the guardroom, we have a beautiful lawn cut up into flower beds filled just now with panseys & forget-me-nots, (a few of which I enclosed in this letter) At the end of the lawn there floats in the morning breeze the good old Canadian Flag, a Flag which for Canadian boys are serving faithfully & baptizing in a glory which will be fadeless throughout the ages of our Empire's History . Our Canadian boys are acknowledged by everyone to be the finest among all the fighting men & the Imperials give them unstinting praise - They have the record of succeeding in every venture they have undertaken - consequently they always have a post of honour in the fighting line = needless to say our boys are the worst hated & most feared of all the Allied troops, by the Huns.
It is two weeks now sence I last received a letter from you (No 21) & I suppose it will be a week of two yet, my I miss them - how I miss them. You will be getting busy with your little garden now I can fancy your dear self & the kiddies working in it, I only wish I were there or that I could just walk in on you while you were busy planting etc. I Expect that by the time you receive this I shall have been up in the front line of the trenches for some time, and the thought & sure knowledge that my dear wife & kiddies are thinking of & praying for "Daddy" will be a continual source of strength & inspiration as well as courage. My thoughts will be all of you my dears & duty too of course, but my duty will be better done because of such thoughts.
You remember Tennyson in the "Princess"? I don't remember the exact lines = "Saw his brood about her knee" & in the strength - courage & inspiration of that sight & dearest memory, he was able to wage a most heroic fight & that I think will be my experience.
Don't worry dear, sooner or later the end will come, & please God together we'll exchange our experiences etc of the months of absence, & I think we'll be better - happier & more to each other because of them. Remember me to the Gunns & all enquiring friends. My dear fond love to you all & hugs & kisses God bless you my darlings. 494 500 ( [?] )
yours lovingly Daddy
P.S. "You might send me tobacco "Old Chum" from time to time"