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Date: December 24th 1915

24th December. 1915.

 My own darling Wife -

 Xmas Eve:- another milepost on the path of life, what a difference between this Xmas and last, what a year to look back on, it makes one shudder to think of all that has passed in that time, comrades and friends gone, some killed, some wounded, Home ties broken, and loved ones left to fight the battles of life alone, one wonders when and how it is all going to end, if it will ever end, or if we will ever have peace, what a mockery it is to think of the people in the homeland going to church to-morrow, Xmas day, and singing Peace on earth, goodwill to all men, and praying that us soldiers may have a happy Xmas etc, etc, when here we are, with nothing but hate in our hearts against a relentless enemy and striving to kill or maim our fellow man, oh, the irony of it all, it is enough to turn a mans brain; what prospects have we, of being happy out here? how can any man be happy, separated from all he holds dear in this world, from all his love, his hopes and ambitions, only yesterday, I lost another chum, without a moments warning he was gone, and only a few minutes before, he was talking about what a good time he was going to have when he got his pass, he had not seen his people for over twelve years, what a melancholy Xmas message this will be for them. No one is happy here, there is a false gaiety in the air, but in our hearts we are miserable, we are lonlely and homesick, out of the thousands and thousands of men out here, I dont believe that there is one who can say from his heart that he is happy, there is that awful dread hanging over us all the time, not for ourselves, but for our dear ones whom we have left behind, what makes me write in this strain, dear? it is because I am so lonely, so homesick, I am sick of it all, it is eight months now and I have never been away from the sound of battle, every day and every night of that time, amid the continual booming of guns, I begin to wonder if there is any other kind of noise in this world, or if I will ever really get used to it I must admit that I have been very fortunate, I have had no sickness to speak of and I have been in all kinds of mix ups and dangers and never had a scratch, when I look back on it all I have to marvel, as it seems to me a miracle that any of us escaped at all to tell the tale, now, I think the worst of it is over and I am looking forward to a speedy termination of it all, what a comfort it will be to get back to civilization again, away from the no mans land, compared to civil life, we are living like beasts, like them we live under and on the ground and like them we very often take our food as we can get it, what will the after effects of it all be, the strong minded will be able to take up their old life again where they left off, but I am afraid the weaker ones will go to the wall, they will have a hard fight on their hands to settle down again to their old line of life; it will certainly be up to those men who stayed at home to help them to hold their own. I had hoped that we would be out in billets for Xmas, and we would have been if everything had worked right, but we are in the reserve trenches, which is not so very bad, the only thing that troubles us is the mud and now on top of that we are having floods, fields and roads are covered with water anywhere from three to six feet deep and even deeper, and going about from one place to another is very difficult. We are going to have a great treat to-morrow, we will have fresh pork for dinner and nuts and candies and I believe we will get beer too, as there will be no working parties I believe there will be some kind of a concert in the evening, it will be a novelty having a concert in the trenches, the poor fellows in the front line wont be able to enjoy themselves at all,  they will have to wait and have their celebration when they come out, our officers are a first-rate lot and they try to make things as easy and comfortable for us as they can, but it is pretty hard as they have lots of troubles of their own, they eat practically the same food as we do and they live in the same dug outs and suffer just as much hardship as we do and it is up to them to be cheerful all the time no matter what happens, as all the men look to them for guidance and if the men get in the dumps the officers have to get them out of it. I see by your last letter that Mrs Edwards is sending me a parcel, I have’nt got it yet and I hope it will not be like the others that people promised you they were going to send to me, but if she did send it, I will probably get it when I go out to billets, which wont be for some time yet. I sure enjoyed the Xmas Parcel you sent me, dear, and I was mighty sorry when it was all done, I got the little testament all right that you put in and I read it some times at night, it was very thoughtful of you to put it in. I have used up all the Sabadilla and am looking forward to getting some more soon and you might send me a good sharp pocket knife some time, dear, I think Boyd would put one in the parcel for you and not charge for it, I need one pretty badly as the one I have is nothing but a stump. I will write and let you know after what kind of a time we have at Xmas, it will be an experience to look back on, spending Xmas in the trenches, I will be very busy, as I take on the duties of orderly corporal for a week from to-morrow morning, so there wont be very much rest for me, nor will I have much time to myself. I am sending you a paper under separate cover called the “Listening Post”, it is printed by one of the B.C. Battalions out here, right in the danger zone, it will probably be a curiosity to you for that reason and if anyone in the Hardware would care to, you could let them read it too, we appreciate this class of paper our here very much and we get some good laughs out of it. I suppose you have already received my letter with the enclosure for Mr McKelvie and I have been wondering since I sent it if you would give it to him, perhaps you would not care to have it printed, or to make any trouble for Remnant, but at the same time I think it a duty, something ought to be done in the matter, for it seems to me that there is crooked work going on somewhere and if Remnant is cheating you out of your proper share and gets away with it, he will probably try the same game on others, at any rate, it is time that you should know how you stand and that you know exactly how much you should get, if the Patriotic Fund accounts are at all correct, there should be no reason why every one should’nt have the full amount all the time, as I saw their statement some time ago and at that time they had a big surplus. So Bob Stevenson is still hanging around is he, it is a wonder he has not volunteered for active service before this he talked plenty about it when the war started but I suppose he has a good job and hates to leave it, besides I suppose he wants the first chance back in the Hdw. I guess Mrs Edwards will have her hands full, now that Arthur is away, what will she do if he has to come out here, I guess she wont like it a bit, I suppose there is no chance of him getting out of it now, no matter how much he might wish it, but there is no reason why he shouldnt take his chance just the same as the rest of us. Well, dear Heart, now that the festivities are all over in Vernon, I will be expecting a letter from you soon, telling me all about it and what you did and how you enjoyed yourself, I hope you and the children have had a good time, I wish I could have been with you, I had hoped that perhaps I would have had my pass for Xmas or New Years, but everything has been altered and I dont know now when I will get away, it may not be for a couple of months yet, perhaps longer, I cant tell, however I am glad I got the addresses in good time, as I will know now just where to go, it would have been awkward if I had had to hunt them up so it would have meant a lot of lost time, now I have something to look forward to and the sooner the time comes the better I shall like it, as I have said before I am looking forward to a properly cooked meal and a good nights sleep in a real bed also a good hot bath, I feel that I need them all, there will be only one thing that I will want to complete my happiness, dear, and that is you, oh if you could only be there, it would be so nice, I would just love to see you again and hold you in my arms, wouldnt I just hug you and love you all the time, the worst of it would be the parting again after such a short time, to come out here again, but still it would be a sweet remembrance to carry back with me. Somehow I dont think it will be very long now, dear, when this war will be over, I am pretty sure that it will finish up this spring, we have the upper hand and when the time comes we will force the issue and victory is sure to be with us, then wont there be a glad homecoming, home, I think that is one of the sweetest words in the English languidge, Home once more, never to part again, catch me ever leaving it again once I get back to it again. Now, dear Heart, I must close, forgive me if this letter sounds as if I were in the dumps, I feel homesick to day, I guess it is because of the season and also because I have been thinking of you and home so much of late, well, I cant help it dear one, kiss my little darlings for me and tell them not to forget their daddy, who loves you all so much, God bless you, dear one, and keep you safe and well is the earnest prayer of your loving Husband



 Give George and Eileen a big love for me, dear, and accept lots of kisses and all my love for yourself

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