C/o Army Post Office
My Dear, Dear Wife & children:
Just a few minutes with my little family before retiring, I am alone in the hut most of the sergeants are in the Canteen drinking beer etc, etc. Oh my how I wish that I were with you in the little cottage, I wonder how often a day I take a look at you dear faces, & imagine to myself what you will be doing. It is just about 4 P.M. with you now & you'll soon be getting supper ready. Supper - well I'm glad to know that you will at lest have plenty to eat, I wish that I could sit down with you, for we have not had a good square meal since we landed in England - I tell you dear you have no idea in Canada how serious things are = no food is wasted here in fact the boys are beginning to know what it means to be hungry - but there I cannot say anything more = tell Shirley & Billy I wish that I could eat the crusts etc, The boys will spend all their money on food. Well dear I received your letter (No 4) addressed to St John & mailed on the 8th Nov, my I hope you will let me have lots of letters you cannot write too often, how lonesome I get for you all. You know best dear what to do about Greys - perhaps it's better to keep our children alone. Well our battalion had had its first shaking up - we have just been medically examined & over ¼ of the Batt'n have been turned down as physically unfit = over-age - under-age & other causes Mr Aylward is too old for active service, I passed alright but have been posted to A. Coy with 20 more of the Emerson boys among whom are Spick & Pryor for which I am glad also [?] & King.
I have not been on leave yet, but hope to be going on on about the 15th for 6 days - we are beginning our firing this next week - We have had a little excitement already, on Tuesday night about 10 P.M., this warning was sent out that Zeps were making a raid & they passed where we were & attacked with practically no damage the N. Eastern part of England = & you know long ere this that our guns & air craft were successful in bringing down the two of them; aireoplanes & dirgibles (airships) are a familiar sight to us now we see as many a five or six up at once.
Oh I might also mention that 3 vessels were torpedoed just a mile or two off the coast near here, & sometimes we can hear the rumble of guns from somewhere over the water. The Y.M.C.A. are doing a splendid work among the boys & I am doing all that I can to help I am speaking again on Sunday afternoon. Tell Shirley & Billy I'm going to send them some picture cards soon & also am sending them each a small New Testament with colored pictures in, which will remind them of Daddy. Well dear heart I most close for now & get to bed, will write more tomorrow - did I tell you that I have shaved off my moustache? Well its gone & I'm not sorry. Good Night, Sweetheart God bless you all, my fondest love to yourself & my darling children kiss them for me Daddy
Friday (Noon) Well to begin with I must tell you that I have been sent back with the Emerson boys to our old company "C" for which we are very glad - though I suppose one of these days we shall be getting broken up, some of us are expecting to be in the trenches by New Years. We have had beautiful weather for the past few days & it is lasting. I am very sorry Mattie is so ill & I sincerely hope that ere this reaches you she will have taken a turn for the better.
I am making some good friends here & shall get all the preaching etc I want to do - The Y.M.C.A. people are coming for me & passing over our chaplain, the boys also do not care for him he is never among them - I am certainly going to do all I can in the way of Christian Work, for this is the day of our opportunity - only last night 48 men too their stand for Christ after our service, & there are plenty of signs that many more will come I think that I needed the experience which I am getting now & if the Lord spares me to come back to you & take up the ministry again, it will be with only one ambition & one purpose to preach & live the simple gospel of Jesus. Well dear I will close this in order to catch the mail I shall write often, this letter makes "No 3" I think from England, I shall number them, so you can let me know if there is any break. Remember me kindly to Mr & Mrs Gunn also Grandma & the children. My fond love to my own dear kiddies & my dearest wife. God bless & keep you
Your loving husband &Daddy
Tell Shirley &Billy I was very glad to get all their kisses & hugs.