77681 -15th Battalion - C.E.F.
August 16th 1915
My darling wife -
I received the two parcels from you all right dear & I must say that the candies & Tobacco were most acceptable, I sure had a good feed & I enjoyed them immensely, but dear, you must not send me so much, it is costing you too much money & I know you cant spare all that, just send me one tin of tobacco every fortnight & a few candies & now & again a plug of chewing tobacco, for although I do not chew as a rule, there are times in the trenches when one can not smoke & I like a bit of something just to keep me from thinking, I got the razor blades all right & I had the first real enjoyable shave that I have had for months, the next time you send me anything, dear, put in a stick of shaving soap, Harlow will give it to you for me, he knows the kind I like & dont forget the Sabadilla I wrote about some time ago, I need it pretty badly, I hate to have to ask you for these things, dear, but I cant get them in this God forsaken place & if I could they would charge about six times too much as they are worth, Just as I am writing this a funeral party has passed on its way to bury two poor lads who were killed last night, poor fellows, they dont need any firing party as there is a terrific thunderstorm raging just now & both our artillery & the enemies are keeping up a heavy cannonade, so you may guess the racket that is going on, they were killed in their dug out, a shell burst in on them & killed these two & wounded four others, all from B.C. it is pretty sad but such is the fortune of war, it is not a game for children or men with cold feet like Bob Harwood & the rest of those quitters. I am glad I am not in the same class with them & I think you must be too, dear, I dont think you would like me to be a quitter, in a way I am not surprised at Harwood getting out of it I dont think he ever thought much about it except as a means of putting in time till he could get another job, any decent kind of employer ought to refuse to employ men of that stamp, I wonder if they would fight if anyone tried to take their home away from them or would they just give it up with a smile. I really thought that Edwards would go through with it I dont see why he shouldn’t, I wonder if these fellows ever think of us out here, we are fighting for our homes & our liberties & these men have signed on to do the same, then why do they want to draw out, do they think there are enough of us out here without them, are they cowards enough to stand by & see other men fighting for them & theirs without raising a hand to help, do they never read the papers, how would they feel if they were forced to come into it & had to fight, it is not improbable, one never knows what may happen & another thing, do they not realise that they are breaking their oath, which was to fight the Kings enemies, they make me sick, the whole crew of them & I just wish I had the chance to meet them & tell them what I think, I believe I could open their eyes for them, however, I hope to have the pleasure of doing so some day. Somehow I dont think this war is going to last very much longer, the Germans are beginning to feel our grip now & even if peace is not declared there is sure to be a long armistice soon & then peace to follow & I am sure I hope so for I am sick of it & would like to get home to you my dear wife & darling children, but on the other hand I should hate to have to quit now with my work only half finished, I would like to have the satisfaction of knowing that I had done my bit & stayed with it to the finish.
The other day Sam Hughes was here to review us & just when he arrived the Germans started throwing shells all round us, the result was that we had to move off at the double & the Honble Sam had to do without his inspection, we wer’nt a bit sorry as we are kind of fed up with inspections & always hearing the same old story of how splendid we look. We had quite an experience the other day, the Government have issued us out with a new respirator or rather Cloth helmet for gas & we tried it out in our own trenches, all our principal officers were there & they filled the trench with gas & all the officers & N.C.O.s walked through it, the gas was about 10 times as strong as we would get from the Germans & we never felt it, you may guess how strong it was when it turned the buttons on my tunic green & it took me about two hours cleaning my rifle, the gas rusted it all up & turned the brass butt quite green, I am glad we had this test as it has given us confidence in the respirator & we now know for certain that no matter how much the Germans gas us they cant do us any harm. We have been having an awful lot of rain lately & it is not nearly so hot as it was, our worst troubles just now are the flies, they are awful, if one sits down to eat they gather in clouds & nearly drive one crazy. I had been hoping that I would be able to get somewhere to send a birthday present to the children, but I am afraid I will have to give up the idea, I am sorry as I would have liked you all to know that I had not forgotten, however, dear you can tell them on their birthday that daddy loves them & that he is always thinking of them, I will keep on sending them a post card now & again, it will please them & let them know that I have not forgotten them. I am still in good health, dear, & feeling very fit, there is only one thing I want love, & that is you, if I only had you beside me me once more I would be happy, if you only knew how I long for a sight of you & the children you would wonder how I get along at all, but such it is, many & many a night I lie awake looking up at the stars & thinking, thinking of you & home, & wondering what you are all doing & longing for the day when this thing will be all over & I will be able to get home to you again & what a time we will have, we will enjoy ourselves, wont we, sweetheart. I must close now, dear, as I think I have run through all my news, it is pretty hard to know what to write about, as it is the same old monotonous grind day after day & no variety, so that it keeps one guessing what to write about, you know we are not allowed to write what we like, we are not allowed to tell what we are doing or where we are, but when you read about the Canadians in France or Belgium you will know that that is the place where I am, as the Canadians have their own line to look after, I am taking good care of myself, dear, & as I said before I am in good health, so with fondest love & lots of kisses to George & Eileen & wishing them both many happy returns of their birthday & with love & kisses to your own dear self, I remain your loving Husband.
P.S. send me a handkerchief or two, dear, I nearly forget what it is to have one, it is so long since I used the last.. J.
P.P.S. A. Campbell has been transferred from the platoon to the transports, he will have a better time I fancy, & he ought to like it as he will be among horses all the time & will not have to march so much. J.