Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: January 13th 1918



Jan 13/18


Dear Dad;


Please pardon me for not writing sooner But as you mentioned, letter writing is also a bad fault of mine. That I must get over. Nearly always I regard letter writing as a task not a pleasure rather, a duty.


However I wish to say that I am feeling fit and sound as never before. It has been Wintry of late, snow cold & dampness. The climate out here, is such, that even though it is not cold to the extent that it is in Canada. The air is more damp and consequently we feel it far more, than we do at home.


The Spring and Summer that has just past has simply flown by. It seems no time since last Winter was here, and, I was waiting anxiously for warm days to come. The future very soon becomes the present & the present becomes past & is then nothing more than History.


That is why I dont sicken of my task now or get homesick. When I first came out to France, I got homesick to such an extent that I lost my appetite & began to worry. Worry causes nervousness & fear. I have overcome those days, and I am confident & earnest.


Dad its not the fear of death, that worries one, its not even that one is going to heaven or hell that affects ones being. I've seen some damnable sinners apparently die as cheerfully as good people have died. Maybe they were forgiven at the last moment, I do not know. But its the continual whining & shrieking, nerve wracking effect of shell fire, that bothers one. It's the wholesale slaughter & bloodshed that is taking place all along the lines, and I'm not speaking for our side alone. At the same time, for the benefit of our cause such things have to take place.


You must not get the idea that I'm not longing for home, because I am. The longer I'm out here the greater does my longing for home, and all that it means become.


Never-the-less something has entered my life wether it is patience or calmness I do not know. A sense that makes man accept things with a feeling of peaceful resignation, if not peaceful at least with a sense of lack of fear of what the day shall bring forth.


I have a feeling, a hunch you might call it, that I'll come through alive. At the same time I never bank on it, rely on it. I'm trying to keep myself as up to date with regards to preparedness for death as possible. The most likely persons to live very often snuff out. At present things are quiet. Our affair up north, cost a lot of lives some of my intimate pals have “cashed in” up there.


Our Morale is not yet broken, and I feel sure never will be. But the boasts of “14” have changed to the Longings of “18”. The men are not quite so thoughtless and dashing daredevils. Instead they are cooler, more calculating. The impulsiveness has gone. We have to acknowledge the persistance of the German strength Even though we will win in the end, however far.


I dont like this war, I don't like fighting, none of us do. The bloodshed is heartbreaking. Yet not once do we falter in our desire that that this war should be fought to a just finish. It may even mean that we will not be home for a few more years The bitter fact has to be faced, regardless of selfish desires. That is the reason we voted for Union Gov't Yes, I voted for Union Gov't Dad. Who wouldn't?


Well Dad, this letter is poorly expressed. I haven't said just what I wanted to say. But dont think for one minute that I'm blue or discouraged. I'm wiser that's all. This war is developing in me the spirit of initiative, the spirit of purpose & hopefulness. I thoroughly believe this war will mean the making of me, it has been the awakening of me at anyrate.


I will conclude


Your loving Son





Signaller Joe G Sproule

8th Can. M. G. Coy

B E F France


P.S. I sincerely hope & pray that all may be well with you Dad. Are you busy or is the Christmas rush over with.


Original Scans

Original Scans