3 C/1 Trench Mortar Battery
3rd Infantry Brigade
1st Canadian Division
My own darling Wife .
I have just completed another tour of the trenches & am now at Rest billets, I dont expect to go back again for at least a couple of weeks, so I am going to make the most of it & have a good rest, I found a letter & 2 parcels & 2 Populars & a Vernon News waiting for me when I came out, one of the parcels was the magazines & the other had cigarettes & marmalade & Sabadilla & candies in it, they were all very much appreciated, dear, & it was very thoughtful of you to send the magazines, I am going to keep the most of them till I go in the trenches again, they will help to make the time pass quicker. I am sorry to say that I was glad to get the Sabadilla, I sure needed it as the last lot of trenches we were in were very dirty & every one of us were covered with vermin, dear knows, we think our trenches bad enough but they are palaces compared to the Germans, their trenches are absolutely filthy & the stink & refuse lying around would turn the stomach of an ostrich, in lots of cases they dont try to recover their dead & bury them, they just let them lie there & then our fellows have to go out & do the job for them, a most unpleasant job as sometimes they are lying for days & weeks at a time & this hot weather does not improve things a bit. I also got the razor blades all right, somehow they dont seem to last very long out here, it must be that the damp affects them & makes them lose their edge, at any rate I am always glad to get them. I am sorry, dear, that you should have had to wait so long on my letters, but things have been in an awful mixup these last few months & until things get a bit more settled I am afraid there will still be delays, the last time in the trenches I started to write to you several times, but I had to give it up, what with the noise & the continual moving around of men I found it impossible to settle my mind to anything, I am hoping that in a very short time things will take a change for the better & then we will have more time to ourselves. I dont see that it should make any difference to Mr Remnant whether I am promoted or not so far as the fund is concerned, in fact, I think he really ought to give you more instead of less, at any rate he should not make any change in your allowance until he is satisfied that you are getting more money from the Govt, I know men who had promotion months before I got mine & their people have not received any extra yet, it takes a long time for these things to get settled, there is so much red tape to go through before Ottawa takes any action, it may just so happen that you will not get any extra money until the war is over, of course I dont know, about that, but I do know that all arrears will be paid in a lump sum then & there should be a tidy sum coming to you, I also see by the papers that the B.C. Govt is going to give each soldier that returns 160 acres of land, if this is true I would like to get mine somewhere in the Okanagan, but I dont know what I will do with it if I do get it, you know I am not much of a farmer, but it would be awful nice to have for the childrens sake, I know they would enjoy living in the country, & I think so would you, dear, you could have your cow then & as many chickens & ducks as you liked, you could have all the milk & eggs & vegetables you wanted then, dear, but of course we will have to see about this later, we dont know if it will happen yet & at any rate it would take money to run it. I dont think I mentioned in my last letter that I met Bob Griffiths, yes it is perfectly true, he is out here now, I met him as I was going up to the trenches, it was his first trip in, my word but he looked awful, it was a fairly cold night & he was waiting for officers kit to take in with him, he had a kilt on, he is in the 16th Batt. as an officers servant, I really felt sorry for him that night he looked so miserable, there was the usual drop at his nose, & his face was all peaked in & he is more round shouldered than ever, he tried to tell me that he tried to get away from England several times, but the officers were so fond of him that they would’nt let him go, the truth of the matter was, so Bob Lea tells me that there were so many wastrels hanging around that they shipped the whole bunch out here to get rid of them, at any rate I am certain he never came out of his own accord. I am glad that you are going to get the doctor to fix up George & Eileen, it will be a good thing to have it done when they are young, they wont feel it near so much, yes, it is a pity that you could not get them attended to at home, but after all, dear, it would be an awful strain on you by yourself with no one to help you, so perhaps it will be better to let them go to the hospital, at any rate you could go to see them every day & you could see that they were being properly looked after, tell them that I got their letters which were enclosed with yours all right & they were very interesting, they will soon have to go to school now I suppose & they will soon learn to write daddy a good long letter with real words in it. I am glad to hear that old Jim is getting on so well, I guess he must have quit drinking altogether now, he ought to be pretty comfortable on all that money, it is more than he ever earned before. Mrs Edwards has got a pretty good nerve to ask anyone if you said I had won the V.C. if you see her you might tell her from me to mind her own d ̶ ̶ d business, there have been a lot of V.C.s won in this war, but very few have lived to enjoy them. I dont want any of these distinctions, they are so hard to get & I want to get home if possible with a whole skin. I am glad to hear that McEwan is treating you right at the store, it is as much as he can do anyway, I always treated him right when he got anything from me, I wish the firm would send me a good compass, I need one very badly, they cant be bought here & they cost such an awful lot in England that no one can afford them but officers, you might give him a hint some time, but for Heavens sake dont you go & try to buy one, they cost too much, & as I have got along so far without one I can surely manage till the end now. I dont think I would worry much about Bob Stevenson, he may be a very big man in his own estimation in Vernon but he would be very small pickings out here, I think that a man like him is better at home anyway, he is out of the road. I am sorry to hear that there are so many slackers around Vernon, they ought to be chased out, it is too bad they dont have compulsion in Canada & put them in jail for a few years if they wont serve, when one thinks of the thousands of our brave boys who have laid down their lives, & thousands more lying suffering in hospitals, who have done their duty nobly & well & then thinks of those dirty cowards, who are afraid to move from their own street corner for fear of getting hurt, it makes my blood boil, oh, if I could only get home for a while just to tell these people what we think of them, tell them the things that have been done & the sights that I have seen, I think I could make them move, Canadians have won a name for themselves in this war, they are respected both by the British & French troops, & their deeds will go down in history, I am proud to belong to the Canadian Army after having seen what they have done & it is a great pity that a few stay at home cowards should be allowed to hand around & besmirch the fair name that has been won with so much blood. I am surprised that you have not got the rest of the Photos yet, I will write to Etta to-night & ask her why she has not sent them on to you, she surely would not try to keep them all, what use would they be to her; I have not heard from Kate for some time now, so cant tell you any thing about George, all I know is that his regiment has taken part in quite a lot of fighting lately, but it is impossible to find out anything about their casualties, I hope he is all right, as I am looking forward to meeting him some time.
So Eileen was asking you if Daddy loves her, was she, well dear one, tell her & George too that Daddy loves you all very dearly & that he is always thinking of you & is longing very, very much for the time when he will be home again, so that he can see his loved ones again & get all those big loves & kisses that you have been saving up for him for such a long time, it does seem such a long time, dear, since we were all together, it seems like ages, & so many things have happened in that time, sometimes, I begin to wonder if this thing will ever end, or are we to go on like this for ever, if this were so, life would not be worth living, it all seems a horrible nightmare, I will sure be glad when it is over, the constant strain is awful, it is a wonder to me how men keep their heads the way they do, even at our rest camps we do not have peace, as Aeroplanes are over nearly every night dropping bombs, but they never do any damage, they always drop in the fields, but they spoil our sleep as the bombs make a terrific crash when they explode.
We have been having very hot weather lately & the country round here is looking lovely & every thing is growing so fast, it is a fair treat to see it, but other things are not so nice, for instance, the flies are awful, they are in clouds all over the place, & the water is bad, we have to put Chloride of Lime in it before we can drink it, it is dangerous to drink otherwise, & then in the trenches there is the rats, always rats, but nuff said, if I get started about all the pests & miseries out here I might go on for ever & it would only sicken you to read about them.
So now dear sweetheart, I must close, I dont thing there is any thing more I can say just now as news is pretty scarce out here. I was sorry to hear about Major Mutree, I saw him one day in the trenches, it was certainly hard luck & I am sincerely sorry for his wife & children, they are the ones who will miss him most. Remember me to old Jim & McEwan & all the rest, tell McEwan I would be glad to get a line from him if he is not too busy. I will write again dear, in a few days, Give my little darlings a big love from daddy & lots of kisses, & for you, my own darling wife, I send you all the love in my being, you are my only one, you are the star that is guiding me on & on all the time, till we are united again. I am as I will always be your own loving husband. Jack