July 9, 1944
Just a few lines to remind you that I am very much alive and well. The weather has been terribly hot the past few days. Our days are not strenuous except for the early reveille (05:00). We work until noon then spend the afternoon swimming in the river or sunning ourselves. As I told you in a previous letter, we held Divisional sports and Corps finals. I won a place on the Divisional team which went on to the win the Corps championship. I expect to take part in the Allied Sports in Rome on the 15th and 16th of July.
All Canadians are competing under the 8th Army banner. I had a three-day loaf at the seaside last week and tomorrow I go on a five-day holiday to Rome. So you see, Mom, it isn’t all fight and no fun. I haven’t heard from Kay since her last letter of June 15. Now that Gerry is using those wicked flying bombs, I feel very uneasy when I don’t hear. Trust those swine to think of such a weapon. The very nature of the thing makes it indiscriminate and terrifying. The worst feature of this type of bomb is that it makes it possible for Gerry to keep an alert on in London on a twenty-four-hour basis. From a military point of view, the bomb is a complete flop. But at the same time many innocent people are dying or becoming mutilated. It really makes my blood boil because I know darn well that in a few months Gerry will be crying for mercy and we poor suckers will give it to them, just as we have to these rotten Wops.
There are many rumours to the effect that many of us will be home for Xmas. I don’t know where such a rumour starts but must admit it sounds O.K. It is just about time that some of the ’39 boys were given a break anyway. Col. Ralston says it isn’t possible just now because of the manpower shortage. This is a fine excuse when back in Canada you are feeding a “Zombie” army of 80,000. So you see, Mom, there is little chance of leave for us chaps with four-and-a-half years overseas until public opinion forces our Government to enforce conscription for overseas service. I find it very hard to understand a chap who will stay happily in Canada while other Canadians do the fighting. It makes many of the boys very bitter and wonder if Canada is worth fighting for. There I go again letting off steam, excuse please.
---------- By now I expect you are having fresh corn on the cob and possibly fried chicken too. I had a really good meal of corn myself the other day. The Wops have large fields of the stuff growing right by our camp. So-o-o, we just help ourselves when Mr. Wop isn’t looking. I enjoy raiding the Wops because they are so darn tricky. If you try to buy the stuff they immediately ask four times the value so, in most cases, it is clip the Wop or do without. I might add, we don’t do without. Our little daughter is over two months old now and Kay reports she is growing like a weed.
Everywhere you meet a feeling of confidence that this year you will see the end of the European War. My life in the army has been a wonderful experience, but quite frankly, Mom, I am anxious to get the job over with and get away from it all. The little things are getting harder to tolerate every day. You know what I mean, lining up for meals, waiting in line, and then getting what is handed to you whether you like it or not. It is going to be wonderful to be asked what you want for a change. I hope you won’t think this is a grouse session, Mom, because I’m not bitter, just wistful.