September 15, 1943
Just a few hurried lines in reply to your last letter. Well Dad, in spite of Mother’s intuition, I am still safe and sound in England. At the moment, I am undergoing a rather strenuous course in tank driving. The actual driving is quite simple and I mastered the job in the first week. However, the maintenance is another question and, I might add, a tough one. It certainly takes a great deal of work to keep one of these brutes in the field, and I don’t mean maybe. This particular tank is called a “Cruiser” and weighs about 32 tons. It is powered with a 400-horsepower radial nine-cylinder airplane engine. The normal engine speed is approximately twenty-four hundred revs per minute. As you probably know, the steering is effected by two “tiller” bars. The driver is situated in the lower right-hand front of the hull and receives his instructions and directions from the “Commander” who rides in the turret. Communications are by wireless intercom. The Commander, for instance, says “driver right.” The driver merely pulls on the right tiller until the C.O. says “driver advance”. I am rather enjoying the course, though I wouldn’t trade my guns for a tank. You are too cooped up and then too, you are just like a “Robot,” blindly following orders, which isn’t to my liking.-------
This War is certainly going very well, though Italy’s capitulation did not pan out as was generally expected. Those darn “Wops” are a treacherous cat and can certainly bear considerable watching. The Americans who landed in Solerno are having a tough time establishing a bridge-head, but I feel sure, with a little luck, they should soon be over the first phase of the operation. The papers have given the news that the First Division of the Canadians are in action with the 8th Army, so that should put Mother’s mind at rest. Our regiment, as you know, are Core troops.
Personally, I think that the bulk of the Canadian forces are being held in readiness for a smashing attack through France. This operation may not take place till next Spring, but when it does, it will soon be all over. I don’t think I am being too optimistic when I say that the War will be over before this time next year. We are all anxious to get the job done and get home to work. I celebrated my fourth year in the army Tuesday.
I do believe there is going to be a boom in farming for a few years after this War is over, as all these occupied countries are on the point of starving now. --------