Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: April 21st 1916
Margaret Brooks
Arthur Brooks


Sergt. Arthur Brooks Writes. (From Belgium)
Miss Margaret Brooks, formerly of Grafton, sends the following extracts from a recent letter from Sergt. Arthur Brooks, of the McGill Sanitary Corps. The writer is one of nine cousins now in khaki:

Your letter was one of the most timely and welcome that ever I have heard about. It was the first from Canada for two solid weeks, owing to the mails being held up - as we heard - for disinfection. When you enclose clip- pings, you some-how know how I like such things in a letter.

Now that I have had six months of this country's peculiarities and with a very pleasant springtime well begun, I think I can say that the life yields some enjoyment and benefit. It hasn't been my fortune to put up with trench conditions and continual shifting, as infantrymen have to do. I have work to do - manual work I mean, as well as 'supervising' - books to read, a billet with most of the fixtures of a home, good stuff to eat, and so on. Eight of us 'reside' in a little old house whose sole other human occupant is an ancient Belgian female, aged 62 and called Pauline. She has a goat and rabbits to look after, and sits the long evenings through by her stove, saying paternosters or pondering this or the next life. The sketch on the back of one of these pages is a casual glimpse of her as she rubs away at some socks which are very much in need of such attention.

As to war news you can get more from Canadian papers than we do in the English ones. But of course we hear the night and day 'straffing' of artillery and see aeroplanes being shelled and engaged. A few weeks ago, I enjoyed the magnificent sight of a heavy bombardment by our big guns in the darkness of very early morning. We are on a hillside here and can look over a considerable tract of level land where a great many batteries are placed. They were all very active that morning and I could watch the rapid, continuous flashing along an extent of several miles. It was really very fantastic and beautiful - like very fast lurid lightning, the reflections playing along the horizon like flutters of light from a fitful fire (Can't avoid alliteration). The spectacle was worth waiting a long time for.