Nov. 15th 1915
My own darling wife
I am sure you must be wondering how it is that I dont write as often as I did, but really, dear, I cant help myself, I only got out of the trenches last night & although I had plenty of time to write, I could not, because my paper & everything else I had was soaking wet & I had to wait till we got out here to get notepaper. We had an awful time of it this time in the trenches, the rain came down in torrents & most of the time the wind was blowing a regular gale most of the dugouts were washed down & some of the men had nowhere to lie down & had to stay out all the time, all the dugouts were flooded & we just had to lie in the water & make the best of it, for five days & nights we were soaked to the skin & did not have a dry stitch to put on, altogether I think this last time in the trenches has been the worst experience I have had & I am afraid we will get lots more of it just as bad, the weather has cleared up this last two days & now we are having frost at nights & it is bitterly cold all the time, the worst of it is, we are not clad for cold weather we have not got our underwear or pants yet but should surely get them soon, we have got rubber boots though, which helps some, they reach right up to the hips & you may guess what it is like out here when I tell you that in places the water is so deep that it goes in at the tops, which makes it mighty uncomfortable, I am glad to say though, that I am still keeping in good health only for a touch of rheumatism & a nasty cold, I went to the doctor this morning & he gave me some pills which might help me a little, I hope they do, as this is no place for a sick man. We did not get our mail this time in the trenches, but I got your letter last night of Oct. 24th & 2 Vernon News & the popular, but I have not got any of the parcels yet, but I hear that there is quite a lot of stuff lying down at the base for us, so I haven’t lost heart yet of getting mine.
Dear Heart, I am sorrier than I can say to hear about the children being so poorly & I dont know what to say, it breaks my heart to know that my dear wee son is pining so much for me & I cant help, oh this is a cruel war that makes the innocent suffer so much & no one can say when it will be over, do your best dear to cheer them up & dont let them fret, I know it is hard, it is hard for all of us, I feel it terribly, what with the hard ships & discomforts out here & the knowledge that all is not well at home I am absolutely miserable & knowing that I am powerless to help makes it still worse. I am afraid you must take the children to some doctor, dear, & do it as soon as you can, for the longer you let it run the worse they will get & will be all the harder to cure, I think if I was you I would take them to Dr Morris, I think he would take some interest in them & do his best, at any rate get some advice, perhaps you would rather have Duncan, they say he is good with children but he might not like to attend on account of Morris being our doctor most of the time, at any rate, dear, get some advice & do it soon, you say that if anything happened to me that you do not think you would be competent to bring them up, well my dear one, I think you are greatly mistaken, if I were knocked out there is no one in the world that I could have greater confidence in leaving them with than you, I know you would bring them up right & I know that no one else could do it as well as you could, but dear, there is no need to worry about these things yet, why look on the dark side of things, every cloud has a silver lining & surely this war cant last for ever, personally I believe it will be over this winter & I really dont believe that we are going to have any more big scraps on this front & as I have come through so far without hurt, surely there is every chance that my good fortune will continue & I can tell you right now that I have been through some of as heavy fighting as there has been, & I have had lots of narrow escapes, but still I am alive to tell the tale, so dear, the best thing I can say to you is, stop worrying I am taking the best care I can of myself & I am living in hopes of & looking forward to coming home to you in the near future, when, I cannot say, but soon I hope, however, dear, I have every confidence in you, I know you for a good girl & a good mother & I know that you are going to make good with the children, the thing to do now is to get them cured, I am afraid they will never take their proper food till they are cured, like you, I wish I was at home so that I could help, but as wishing is no good the only thing I can do is to wait.
I am now looking forward to my holiday which I expect to get in a week or so now, I would enjoy it a whole lot more if I only knew that you were all right at home, I hope the next letter I get from you will have better news for me, also I am anxious to get the addresses I asked you for, as I am afraid I will not get them in time, it will be kind of awkward if I were to arrive in Glasgow & not know where to go, but I have Mr Clarkes address & perhaps he will be able to direct me right, but I am hoping that I will hear from you before I go as I would like to write & let them know that I am coming & about what time to expect me, I wont put them to much trouble as I have a fair idea what things are like in the old country just now, & besides I guess they will all have troubles of their own & wont want to be bothered much with strangers, at any rate I am looking forward to having a nice quiet time & a good rest, I am sure I need it bad enough, & I am glad to say that our leave has been extended from 6 to 9 days, that is nine clear days in the old land which I think is very good indeed.
Yes, dear, this is going to be another black Xmas for all of us, I guess it will be about Xmas when you get this, but I sincerely hope that this will be the last one we will ever spend apart, I would like to have sent you & the children something from here for Xmas, but there is nothing around here that is any good & it is impossible for me to get to any town around here, but when I go over to Glasgow I will get you all some thing & send it from there, so tell George & Eileen not to be disappointed if they dont get a parcel at Xmas, but to be looking for one very soon after, at any rate I will be able to get something much nicer there than I can here. I saw a letter in the Vernon News from Happy Tonge, I think he must have been crazy to write such a letter, he talks about German atrocities & about soldiers being so lonely in the trenches & hints that the women of Vernon might write to them (meaning himself) & cheer them up, he might have more sense than write such drivel, at any rate he has not been out here long enough to know what a trench is like, if he has been in one at all.
Now dear heart I am going to close, as I have no news to tell, I will await your next letter anxiously for news as to how you all are, I hope it will be good news, as I would like to know that the children are being treated & on the road to getting better, and, dear one take good care of yourself for my sake & the childrens, you know that when I come home I want to find you all well & fit, you & I, dear will have a lot of lost time to make up loving each other, oh how I wish the time was come, so that I could hold you in my arms again & hug you & love you for ever & ever, my soul is hungry for you & my hearts a weary waiting for the time to come. Kiss my little darlings for me, dear, & give them a big love from their daddy & with all my love & lots of kisses to yourself my own darling wife, I remain Your loving Husband
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Jack XXXXX