77681 Cpl J. McNeill.
4 Platoon. 1 Company.
15th Batt. 48th Highlanders. C.E.F.
27th October 1915
P.S. There was a Canadian Mail came in to night but there was nothing for me, I am disappointed as I thought sure I would get my parcel to night, I hope I will have better luck next time. J.
My own darling Wife.
It is two days ago now since we got into billets again & I dont know but that we would have been just as well off in the trenches, the weather is so bad, it has rained continuously for the last four days & everything is in an awful mess, one cannot go outside the hut without going into the mud over the boot tops & as to going anywhere far away it is out of the question, I have just got back from the YMCA which is about half a mile from here, I had to go to get this paper, & you should have seen me when I got back, when I got about half way there I was going down a steep bank & slipped & flopped right down on my back in the wet, I am a nice sight, but the mud is so slippy that it is hard to keep ones feet even on the level ground, the night we left the trenches was fierce, it was raining to beat the band & we had to take a narrow trench about two miles long to get out sometimes we were over our knees in water & all the time our arms were rubbing against the sides, we were covered from head to foot with the sticky clay & were wet through, nearly every one fell in the mud that night, I did & skinned my knee & the back of my hand, I can tell you there was mighty little singing or shouting that night. As it is winter now I expect it will be like this for the next five months, thank goodness, they are going to take the kilts from us, they are going to give us pants & top boots which will be much warmer & more comfortable, you can imagine what it is like wearing kilts this weather with nothing to cover your bare legs & every step into a puddle splashes the water & mud right up to your hips, oh, it is a peach of a life, I dont think. I guess that is enough about the weather, but I hardly know what else to write about, there are about twenty of us in this hut, two of the boys are playing mouth organs & some are singing & everybody else is talking so you see how hard it is to keep ones thoughts in hand, I would have written sooner only I have been busy trying to get my clothes cleaned & then just as I get them into some kind of shape again, flop I go in the mud & it has all got to be done over again, it is disheartening to say the least of it. I got your letter dated Oct 3rd last night & I am glad to hear that you are all well, but dear heart, you must stop worrying about me, I am all right, of course it is a hard life out here & there are no comforts, but it has to be put up with, as to the awful sights one sees, they are a nightmare, but one gets used to them, at first I thought I would never get used to seeing such sights but now I think nothing of them, of course this may sound hard, but I guess the surroundings & the constant contact makes one callous more or less, I may tell you though that things have been very quiet with us lately & we have had very few casualties, any that have been have mostly been through carelessness, so you see dear that there is no need to be uneasy, the only thing that worries me is, how long is it going to last, I wish it was over for I am sick & tired of it & I want to get home to you dear, I would give the world just for a sight of your dear face again, to see how you look & to hold you in my arms again, [?] love you, oh my dear, how I could love you if I could only get to you, my whole heart & soul go out to you, it is so lonely here without you & I want you so badly; many & many a time I think of what it will be like to get home again, & what a fine rest I will have, somehow I think I will never be able to get enough rest after the fatigues of this war. I am glad to hear that you got a load of wood, I wish I was there to chop it for you, but I am glad that Mr. Carson is there to chop & pile it for you, I suppose by the time this reaches you that he will be back at the coast with his regiment as I see by the Vernon News that all the troops are leaving this month, I guess you will miss him all right. Vernon will sure be a dull place when all those men go away, what will the shopkeepers do & the hotels, but I guess they have all made enough to keep them going for some time. I have not received the parcel with the lobster etc yet, but I should surely get it soon now, I am looking forward to getting it as I feel as if I would like a good meal again, I was mighty sorry when the cake was done, but the best of things cant last for ever, I sure enjoyed it though, while it lasted. I dont think we are going to be in Billets very long this time, but I dont care very much as I would just as soon be in the trenches as out this weather, I believe we are going to get skin coats as well as the pants & underwear, if the weather would only dry up one wouldnt mind the cold so much but this continual wet & mud get on ones nerves. I think there is a chance of my getting a weeks leave very soon, I dont know when it will be, it might be next week or it might be two months hence, the names are picked out at Headquarters & we have to go when they say so, I hope it will be soon, they give us free transportation to any part of Great Britain & six pounds for pocket money, I intend to go to Glasgow, you know I have never been there, so I want you to send me the addresses of your people so that I can call on them, I would like to see them, of course I will stop at lodgings so that I wont put them about any, so send me the addresses as soon as you get this as I would hate to go there & have to hunt them up & perhaps not see them at all. Well dear heart, it is night again, & very near bed time, what a difference there is between going to bed here & at home this is so rough & so dirty & I can imagine how nice & clean & comfortable it is at home, if I could only be with you dear, how happy I would be, we would all be happy, would’nt we dear, however, keep up your heart sweetheart & let us hope that it wont be long now till we are re-unitnd again & then dear, it will be happiness all the time for both of us till the end. So Good Night, dear, & God bless you & bless our dear children & keep you in comfort & happiness is the earnest wish of your loving Husband.
dont forget to give George & Eileen a great big love from Daddy & keep a big love for yourself, dear.