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Date: December 2nd 1915

77681 Cpl John McNeill

4 Platoon 1 Company

15th Battalion - CEF


2nd December 1915


My own darling wife -


I have just recd your welcome letter of Nov. 8th & I am glad to hear that you are all well, you & the children must have had a great time mixing up the Xmas pudding & I am sure I hope that you get your wish, that I may get home soon, but I dont want to go home wounded if I can help it, I would rather go whole, I want to be able to work when I get back, of course there are quite a few who get sent back because they are physically unfit for the rigours of warfare but I am afraid I am too healthy, at any rate there is no danger of getting back because of ill health. Dear Heart, it was awfully kind of you to think of sending me some Xmas cheer & I am sure I hope I’ll get it all right, if I dont, I will be very much disappointed, as I hate to think of you spending all that money & some dirty thief getting the benefit of it, I have not had a parcel from you now for some time, but I know there are some around somewhere for me, I see that you are sending a small bottle of brandy with the cake, but I am afraid I wont get that, unless it gets through by a fluke, as spirits of any kind are not allowed into this country, they are very strict about it & everyone coming back from leave is searched & if any is found on him, he is heavily punished, however, let us hope for the best, if I get that parcel I will be tickled to death, in fact I will be looking forward now to every mail coming in. I get all your letters & papers & magazines all right, dear, but instead of the Popular you sent me the Top Notch last time & it is not near so good as the Popular, we all look forward to getting it here, for the boys will hardly wait till I am through with it, they are so anxious to get reading it, reading matter is very scarce with us here & although we hear about people sending parcels of books and magazines to the troops, we never seem to get any of them, it is the same with cigarettes, sometimes we get a few extra packets, but we never get enough to last from one issue to another still, we manage to get along, we are getting more grub now though than we did, the only thing we dont like is that we have to pack it into the trenches, it makes a pretty heavy pack when you have to carry all your rations besides blanket & two coats & ammunition & sandbags, especially when the roads are as bad as they are now. We had a few fine days with frost, but now it has been raining for several days & the roads are worse than ever, at the present time it has settled down to a steady drizzle accompanied with fog, I am just as glad that I am not in the trenches, but there is not much use being glad as I will be in again in a day or two & it will probably be worse than it is now. I have put my name down for another branch of the service, called the Trench Mortar Section & if I can get transferred into it, I will have a much easier time of it than I have now, for one thing I wont be in the trenches for such a long stretch & I will have more time out in billets besides having more comfortable quarters, so you see I will be much better off if I get it, which I most certainly hope to do, for I can assure you that if I can get a chance to make things easier for myself, I will do so, even if I have to forfeit my stripes, there are not many snaps to be had out here & what there are, are hard to get, but they are worth trying for. I saw Andy Campbell the other day, he is still with the transports, he gets in to a big town about five miles from here, every day & he tells me that there are all kinds of nice things to be got there such as Xmas cards & souveniers, I believe he is sending quite a lot home, so I asked him to get me some as I cant get away, the place being out of bounds for us, but I have’nt seen him since & I am afraid I wont now before I go to the trenches, in fact, I would not be surprised if he did’nt bring me anything at all as he is still sore at what we said to him about his being wounded. Quite a few of our boys have got wounded lately, but I am happy to say, not seriously, some of them have got over to England (Blighty we call it here) & I think from the way they write to us that they are mighty glad to get there, sometimes I wish I could manage it myself, but I would rather not get wounded if I could help it, however, I will be getting my pass soon now I hope, in fact I will not be surprised if I am in Glasgow at Xmas or New Years day, I am sure looking forward to it & the only thing that worries me is that I have not yet got the address I asked you for, but there is lots of time yet & I am living in hopes of getting them before I go away, another thing I am looking forward to is a two weeks rest we are going to get soon, I dont know for sure when, but when we do, we will go away back some miles from here & get a thorough clean up & a good rest, apart from the rest, the change itself will do us all a world of good. The post has just come in & I have got one of my long expected parcels, it is the one with the Sardines & Lobster & Sabadilla & pencils &c in it, it got here in tip top condition, thanks to the way you had it tied up, that was a good stunt of yours to stitch the cloth round it. it arrived here in the best condition of any I have got yet, Thanks very much dear for remembering my birthday, it was real good of you & the children, I was sure glad to see that Sabadilla, I will use some of it to night when I go to bed, as for the Lobster & Sardines I will take them up to the trenches with me, it will be a treat to have something tasty up there, you see, the weather being so bad it is pretty hard to get rations up there & sometimes we go pretty short of food, so your parcel with come in mighty handy this trip in. I am very glad, dear, that you got the children some things for the winter, I do wish I could have been there to see them, they must have been tickled to get them through the post, I am sure Eileen will be looking pretty in her little furs & the coat will be just the thing that George will need most, the wee man will be glad of it to keep out the cold this winter.


No Dear, I have not yet seen anything of your brother I am afraid there is a very poor chance of seeing him out here you see, each army corps has its own area to work in, & none of the men are allowed out of that area unless they get a pass which has to be signed by Brigade Staff, there would be no use in me getting a pass unless I knew what part of the district he was in, & of course that is impossible for me to find out, but if I see his people when I go across, that will help some, wont it, dear. Well, dear love, I suppose Xmas will have come & gone by the time you get this, I hope you & the children have had a good time & have enjoyed yourselves lots, my Xmas has to come yet & I must say that I am not looking forward to it with much pleasure, Please God this will be the last Xmas you & I will be apart, I hope & trust to be with you again next year, if I do, I can assure you I will never spend another Xmas away from home, how I wish I could be with you this year, my heart yearns for you & for our children it just breaks my heart to be away from you at this time dear, oh, how I wish I could see you again, love, just to hug you & love you & look into your dear eyes again, I would be so happy if I were with you again, it is getting late now & I will be getting ready for bed, it is a pretty hard one, dear, I hope I dream of you to night, I often do, dear, So good night, dear love, kiss my little darlings for me & with lots of kisses & all my love to you my own darling wife, I remain as ever, Your own loving Husband



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