Somewhere at the Front
28 May 1916
Dear Brother Ernest
I have just written to Ethel and I shall put in a line to you. You may get my letter to Malcolm written last week for I have nothing new. Every day is very much the same just now for us. In a rest camp and though we hear a lot of noise we hear little of what comes of it and we are just resting from our work of last month. Some of our chaps had rather exciting times and a few weeks off comes good. Mine was quiet comparatively yet I do not kick a bit at being as far back as I can get. If you hear any chaps in Canada in khaki say they hope they will be here for the Great Drive which has been talked of for a year but doesn’t come off, just agree with them. They will be glad they were in it after they are out of it. Still it’s a great war and great to be in it. The greatest thing of its kind that ever happened.
Aeroplanes by the dozen, British, French, Belgian and German buzz over, guns pop popping at them all the time. Beastly thing to hit apparently when you count some fifty shells exploding up in the air and see him sail on as if he were looking for mosquitoes up there. I saw the propeller of one yesterday – one fan had been cut off and it formed a cross for an airman’s grave.
I never felt better in my life as far as health goes. Sleep great. The orderly sergeant at six-thirty is the alarm clock. You know how that goes having been there yourself. I have had a letter from both Malcolm and Amos and all the little girls. Alice has written five or six times. Nellie of course keeps me pretty well posted on the news of Hartington and a little of Harrowsmith. How is everything in the last little town? Many shirkers left? You know what I mean, chaps who would rather stand and watch the trains come in as the chief object in life rather than getting into khaki.
I have a salary of $6 to spend these days. Any danger think you of my leading a wildlife on that? Still it seems enough except when I wish to get some fancy things and of course I mustn’t do that.
The clover hay is great here, over a foot high. The rye too is fine. They grow a lot of hops for beer you know. They like that article pretty well. One thing about their houses here. They would scarcely burn, built of brick throughout, all except the rafters. I have seen a town as large as Kingston and with much finer buildings all a mass of tumbled brick. Not a living thing left except the rats at night and the birds building their nests in the ruins in the day.
Well there goes dinner.
Your loving Bro. Frank