My own darling Wife.
As you will see by the above address, I am in London, I got here just a week ago to-day, & I have been working very hard ever since, but I like it fairly well, there is quite a lot of study to be done every night so that we don’t have very much time to ourselves, I make it a point to go out for a while every night, but it is much too dark then to see anything, yesterday being Saturday I went out just after dinner & had a look at the Strand & Picadilly, I went to Trafalgar Square & saw one of the tanks, also a lot of guns & other things captured from the Germans, they are selling war bonds out of the tank & there is a tremendous crush round it all the time, they have sold over three million pounds worth of bonds in less than two weeks, which is a splendid record, I cant say that I like London at all, there are far too many people around & the traffic is awful, it is a positive danger to try & cross the street in most places & especially at night when very few lamps are lit, it makes me nervous as anything when I get into a crowded thoroughfare, & I always get out of it as quickly as possible. I would like to take in some of the Theatres, but I have no money to spend on them, it is a pity as there are some rattling good shows to be seen. I had intended to go to the Tower of London & the British Museum to day, but it is too wet to go out, I will probably take them in next Sunday, I have two weeks more to put in here & in a way I wont be sorry when the course is over & I can get back to Sandling again, We had an air raid here the other night, the Germans came over about 4 O.C. in the morning & some of their bombs dropped fairly close to here but did very little damage, most of their bombs were incendiary & a few buildings were set on fire, but were quickly put out by the fire brigade, only about ½ doz people were killed altogether & some 20 injured, the gun fire was very loud & sounded quite close to us, when the alarm was given we were all made to get up & dress & those who were on the top floors were made to go downstairs to the bottom & stay there till the all clear was sounded, which meant that there was no more sleep that night, we found several pieces of Shrapnel in the Barrack square next morning, but they were from our own guns. I have not had a letter from you since I came here, it is nearly a month now since I heard from you, & I am longing very much to know how you are all getting on, by the time you get this Xmas will be a thing of the past & I cant help remembering that this is my fourth Xmas from home, I wonder if it will be the last; this is going to be a hard Xmas in England & a sorrowful one too, the scarcity of food & the high prices of it are going to prevent a great many people from enjoying themselves, one can hardly afford to buy the bare necessities of life let alone luxuries & then there is the coal which is both scarce & very dear & only a certain amount can be bought at a time, there are no outward signs of Xmas at all, the shop windows are not dressed up for the occasion & there is nothing like the old time feeling of having a good time that there used to be, everything is dead, many a time in the past I have wished that you were over here with me, but now I am glad that you did not come, you are out of danger where you are & you are able to get what things you want without much trouble, & you do not see the suffering & misery that we see over here, you see a certain amount of wounded soldiers, but nothing like the quantity & the sights that we see, & then there is the ques of people waiting outside the grocers shops, anywhere up to 5 or 6 hundred in a line waiting to get some sugar or tea & perhaps after waiting a whole morning to only get about one quarter of their requirements or none at all, & then they have to go through the same thing again at some other shop, they have got out Sugar cards now which ensures an equal amount of Sugar to each purchaser, but even with these there is no guarantee that the grocer will have any to sell, the government have tried not to have compulsory rationing, but I am afraid they will have to come to it very soon, just as they do in the army, our rations were never so small as they are now, & it is an utter impossibility to get a good square meal at any time. Have you heard anything more about your assignment money yet, the paymaster at Sandling wrote to London about it & he had a reply from them saying that they sent the papers to Ottawa last April & that you ought to be getting it now, they have written Ottawa again & you should be getting it by this time, you should also get all the back money dating from 1st April as it has been kept out of my pay, this would make $27 that you should get at least for back money, I also see by the papers that the government have increased their allowance to $25, & they will try & let all soldiers wives have their allowance before Xmas, I hope that you will get yours, dear, as it will help you to have a better Xmas, twenty five dollars from the Government is not too bad, & with the twenty you get from me it should help quite a bit, do you get anything from the Patriotic fund now, or did that cease when you left Vernon, if you don’t, $45 a month is not an awful lot to live on, as I expect things are a great deal dearer now than they used to be. How are the children making out at school, do they like it as much as ever & are they learning anything, are they able to read the small words yet & can they write their letters, how I wish I could be with them & help them with their lessons, I have missed the best part of my life by being away from you all just when they are growing up, I suppose if I met them on the street I would hardly know them, & I am perfectly sure that they have forgotten what I was like, if they have not forgotten me altogether. I think if I had my life to live over again my greatest joy would be to have a nice little family & watch them grow up & never to leave them all the time, this war has been responsible for a good many broken homes, but I don’t think there is anyone more miserable than the husband who loves his family as I do & not to be able to see them or get near them, Surely to God this war can not go on for ever & there must come a time when we will be able to get to our homes again, last year we all thought for sure that we would be home for this Xmas & now peace looks just as far off as ever, I wonder if we will be home next Xmas, it would be a dreary outlook if we thought we would never get home, life would not be worth living & if I thought for a moment that such was going to be the case, I would volunteer for France right away & get it over with, as I feel that I cannot stand being separated from you much longer, that is where the English soldier is so much better off than us Colonials, when he gets his leave or gets a few days off at any time he can always get home & a few hours will take him to any part of the country, or if there is anything wrong at home he can always get there to help if it is necessary, sometimes I think that I was a fool to ever join up at all, as I have gained nothing by it, but, as I said before, I have lost the best part of my life, my health is not at all what it should be & I don’t suppose I will ever be as good a man again as I was, so taking it all through I have lost rather than gained through the war, if it were only possible for us to get a three months leave once a year things would not be so bad, for then we would always be looking forward to our holiday, but that cannot be, as the men cannot be spared & it would weaken our forces in the field too much. I wonder how the vote on conscription is going in Canada, the soldiers over here are voting solid for it & it will surely pass if the people at home do not turn it down, if they do turn it down it will be an everlasting disgrace to the country, it will mean that there will be no reinforcements to send to France & that those of us who are here will have to do all the fighting till we drop or are wiped out. When I started this letter I did not think I would have so much to say, but one thing always leads to another, so there you are, but I think I am near finished now, as I cant think of anything more just at present, I am very lonely without you, dear, & I am longing very much to be with you again, that will be the grand day when I will be able to take you in my arms again & kiss you & love you as I want to do, it will be like getting married again, wont it, dear, only it will be much nicer, I wonder if you will tease me again the way you used to do & if you will want to put your cold feet against my back to warm them, roll on, happy day, it cant come too soon for me. Give my little darlings a great big love from their daddy & tell them that I am always thinking of them & that I will surely come home some day & give them a big love myself; And for you my sweetheart, you know that you have all my love, you are my only one, my life, my Queen, but best of all you are my own darling wife, & my every heart beat is for you & you only, so once again I send you all my love & lots of kisses,
Write soon, dearest, to your own loving Husband