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Date: October 7th 1918
Lorene (Sister)
Charles Willoughby

Oct 7/1918.

My. Dear Lorene:

Have just finished a short letter and sent it off by Maj Warburton to be posted in England. There is so much to write about today and so many letters to answer that I am starting right off again on another letter home.

I am afraid I cannot give all the details of my experiences lately because someone else might have considerable to say about passing it out of the country. But then as the show has already been well published in all the papers and our division has been mentioned I dont see where there can be much objection to at least telling some of the main points about the "trek".

Of course just as the whole thing started so did the rain. The mud became "slush" and the shell holes, small lakes. So on we waded through all that. The patients were few and far between. The prisoners came down by thousands - All shapes, sizes, and sorts. But all happy.

On & on we went and by night had covered about ten miles. Next day we made another early start but took things more gradual and the next day was even slower as we couldnt go too far away. Then we all sat down and rested until I was sent back here again yesterday.

The five hour ride by horse ambulance back was praticularily interesting because it took me back over the same country I had passed about a week previously. The change in the general appearance of that landscape was nothing short of miraculous. It is impossible for one to imagine the appearance of a modern battle -field that has been fought over for more than four years unless they have actually been over part of it. What was once a wood is now nothing at al.l you might possibly find an odd tree stump. What was once a village is now a continuation of shell - holes in brick-dust. Fortunately they usually stuck a sign-board up on a post showing where the town once upon a time was. What use to be roads. are now more like a cow path across the Arabian desert after a wind-storm - Simply nothing at all. And what use to be a railway is now a mass of tangled iron sticking up from the bottom of an 8" shell hole. Then to see the difference coming back. We rode along a fairly decent road passed & passing by motor cars of all description. Saw camps pitched here and there. And saw railway-trains running on perfectly good railway track. I would hardly have believed such a general renovation would have been possible but it must have been possible because it was done.

Where an army moves - Everything moves From the man who goes ahead with the bayonet to the man who follows on with his railway-gang - Road-gangs, supplies, camps and stores . It certainly is one huge organization and this was a typical example of what it all means.

While "up the line" the ration cart wandered along one day with some mail out of where I found two from mother, one from Mrs Frost, an odd one from Maryon and two from yourself. As well I had one from you and another from Mother the day before I went up so now I have a huge collection to answer.

I am sorry my mail has been so irregular arriving at home and hope that the past ten days have not made a temenduous gap. However I will send a cable in about another week so as to relieve any anxiety. Probably I will be able to send it from England.

The "Ex" seems to have been the usual great success even we two were not able to be at it. Mother also seems to have had her usual two busy weeks during the show

Am surprised to hear about Harry Goodwin - I dont blame him for waiting to join the "flying - corps" Nor do I blame him for wanting the change to city life but I hope he may find out there are lots worse places than the farm after all. Especially with his opportunities.

The Canadian casualty lists certainly must be mighty heavy these days. I hope Calvin Duff May turn up alright. But it is not likely we can expect good news after he has been missing so long. Then again there is always a chance

I am sure the Shapters must be quite proud of their grandson.

Am sorry to hear about Johnnie Seager. Hope he may improve so as to be able to get back to business again I feel if things were to pick up properly he would soon come back to his old position as he did before.

By now you will be well back into the routine of home life and I am sure it will be a considerable change after your interestingly rousing summer. You certainly must have had the time of your life over in Chippewa and I know Maryon & Mrs Frost must have done every thing to make you have such a good time. Your motor trips, picnics etc. sound quite good. I am only sorry I wasn't able to be there to enjoy them myself.

Then the idea of the two of you going back to Chicago & up again to Lake Geneva almost sounds like a Books tour or like life in the R.A.M.C. Lake Geneva must be a very fine spot and I realize that Auntie & Uncle did everything to make you both enjoy every minute of your time with them. I think you did exceptionally well to write so often to me during your busy summer months.

You must have had quite a time explaining to some of your new acquaintances over there that Toronto & Canada were not altogether a huge wilderness.

I am glad to hear you have such a fine opinion of Mr Frost. of course I never expected anything else. But it is always good to hear such things

So far the box of candies that Maryon sent while in Toronto have not arrived. Parcels are always uncertain over here which makes it really not worth while sending them - It may turn up yet.

I think I have made this rather a long letter and on top of the one I have already sent off today I should think it is an exceptional supply for one day.

Just think two months more and my present contract will be up. Probably the war will have finished by then.

Your Loving Brother