November 19, 1944
The Italian weather has been giving us a break of late. The last two weeks have been fair, but cold. In fact, it compares with our Canadian “Indian Summer.” I spent the last three days at the front with a tank unit. I was chosen from the battery to instruct the tankmen on a new gun. Taken all in all, the affair was much quieter than I had hoped for. The C.O. of the squadron is a Scotch chap and a very dashing type indeed. He had it all arranged to take four tanks, including mine, going up there three thousand yards ahead of our infantry, shooting up Fritz then withdrawing. His only worry was that I, who was attached for instructional purposes, might be killed, wounded or captured and complications with my C.O. might arise. I, of course, assured him that this was no obstacle, but I wasn’t sorry when his Col. cancelled the operation. We did, however, fire on Gerry with open sights before returning. It was a pleasant change from the usual routine and I enjoyed it very much. I’ve had my gun back for almost two months, by the way.
These last few days, we’ve been inspected three times by the “Brass Hats.” This morning we had a memorial service for our fallen comrades, followed by a “March Past.” A good military band was in attendance, so it wasn’t too bad. Well, Dad, I expect you were a bit puzzled by the change of War Ministers. We on active service were pleased to see Andy McNaughton take over. It does seem a shame that a soldier with his reputation should be asked to assume the responsibility at such an inopportune moment. I do feel however, that he will do his best to remedy the situation and won’t allow politics to colour his decisions. The way I feel about the “Zombies” is that, now that we have gone this far, we might just finish the job without them. I don’t, however, feel that they have earned the right any of the benefits now available for returned men.
I can understand why Mackenzie King hesitates to put in conscription. The French Canadian is just as stubborn and unreasonable as the Irish and it might well lead to serious trouble. I have no sympathy with the French views; still, I should hate to see Canada divided.
I had a letter from Kay recently. There is a good chance that I won’t touch England again on my way home. Because of this, Dad, I have instructed her to prepare to go to Canada. Kay has applied for transport to Canada and is, at the moment, waiting for the sailing notice. Of course, this may take several months. At the present time, there are about five hundred English girls going to Canada monthly, so she will have to wait her turn. --------