Letter #66 From 644539_Pte W. J. Wood, Virginia Water Camp C.F.C.
To Mrs. W.J. Wood, Box 639, Midland, Ont. Can. Nov. 4 &5. 1917
My Dear Little Wife:- Your 57th letter to hand the past week. You are apparently as busy as ever, almost as busy as I am myself; for I intended writing to you yesterday but did not get around to it, and today it is seven P.M. ere I have time, though when I got up I saw nothing ahead that would hold me more than a few hours: so it is every day. During last week I moved from one hut to another, did some numbers etc. on a motor-cycle, to move the Col’s belongings to Smith’s Lawn, moved the new O.C. into the Col’s room, did batman duties for an extra officer besides the new O.C. Today, besides regular duties I had those of a batman on weekend leave, a map to trace off for the O.C. which kept me tied down to work all this blessed, beautiful day; for it has been that so far as weather was concerned. The col. was over to see me this morning. He is on another week as field officer there. He intends taking me with him if he gets another command, which he may, either in England or Scotland.
I also made a pen & ink portraits of the France Corporal in the orderly room last week drawing it from life. The adjutant and Lt. Read want me to do theirs too. Not to mention others. Then it takes time to cut wood for eight or ten fires besides lighting and keeping on four or five of them.
I see by my notebook that I wrote you from England last year about this date 4th or 5th of Nov. It was likely about going on the six-day leave which came to be between then and the 12th when I wrote you from London: little did I think a year later would find me still in England with as little knowledge of war and it’s horrors as when I inlisted nearly two years ago. So as you say in your 57th we have cause to rejoice and give thanks with a full heart, notwithstanding the fact that we have not the ordering of our ways as we would. In all those 66 letters how little you will find that I should be doleful about except absence from home or that I have so recorded probably the 116th Ms. O’s decision that I was medically unfit was the sorest thing I’ve suffered but how bountifully offset that has been by the later turn of events. How weary of the trenches I would be now, were I alive and in them yet, or how maimed and mutilated I might have been by this time, in hopeless state, discharged and sent home or lying still in hospital. No! Let us gather up the sunbeams while yet there are a few! This, of course is easier said than done.
I have tasted no bread like that I got in Liverpool since that I mentioned as the same on that happy day we had tea on the farms beside the Severn River where I drew my first portrait of you as we sat under an orchard tree. We get nothing here but war-bread, a rather poor sort of stuff, of which I do not take very much if there is anything else going. So far, this has been the best fed camp in the theatre of military operations. At least I hear of no better and I hear and know of much worse. Tomorrow twenty five more men come here and a hut that was taken down and moved to Fern hill will be replaced to shelter still more men who will be wanted here. So it look as if this camp is still to exist for a while yet. I am getting sleepy and devoid of thoughts or sentiments worthy of expression or interesting news so I will make down my bed and turn in for the night asking the Pole star to give you my love and his kindly radiance as he does me on this stilly, clear evening as the white mantle of frost settles down o’er this troubled isle and its great old city of London where these fine days and nights are dreaded rather than welcome, with their accompaniment of bombs and aerial torpedoes, where the poor little children have real and horrible bogies to fear. London prays not for lovely weather, but for fog and rain, wind and anything that renders air raids impractical.
This is Monday morning. It is just past seven oclock. I’ve had breakfast then lit the cook’s fire over at the officer’s quarters and the one in the O.C’s room and one in the fireplace of their anteroom, but the O.C. was up when I went in. He was out on the 6.30 oclock parade of the men for the sawmill etc. He expects to make things hum? I understand he is giving no more late passes during the week: just the weekend over Sunday pass. While this will affect me, I can put up with it if I cannot get around it.
This is a fine morning with a heavy white frost, bushels of chestnuts have been gathered in these woods, but I have not got out after any yet. The beechnuts are a fair crop too, reminding me of boyhood days near Lake Erie.
The camps around here and this one was put C.B. yesterday morning and set free again in the evening when nearly every man left the camp as if to off set the days C.B.
Well my Dear Girl, since there is such an outbreak of industry on the part of the O.C. this morning I had better close this and post it. Meanwhile keeping my weather eye open to what is doing in my direction. Needless to say I love you and long to be with you again and the children, as well, have my love and fondest wishes and prayers for their welfare and happiness. Your loving Hubby,
W. J. Wood.