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Date: July 11th 1918
Son Verne
W. J. Wood

12th. Reserve 4th Coy.

Witley Camp

Surrey, Eng.

11 – 7 – 1918

My Dear Little Son, Verne,:- I got your loving little letter all right, and will now try to answer it, while I have an hour or two to spare. I was on H.Q. Pickurst last night and am supposed to be lying in this morning. Last night was my French lesson night, and of course I had to miss it: Last Monday night was the same and I was on “Kitchen Fatigue” or a “Mess Orderly” so that is all the classes this week and all of them missed and one of them last week so I guess I am a loser in the race for the French Language. Probably I am never going to need it. There is to be an Art class here also with an illustrator of Leslie’s magazine as teacher, but as I have volunteered, when the 4th coy. was asked to do so, the biggest men, especially, when the officer making a selection from those who offered came to me, the officer commanding the 4th company recommended me as one of the best men in his coy. So I was handed over with the chosen to be paraded before the M.O. who enquiring as they all do about my bunion joint assured that it did not trouble me. He passed me having also inquired as to my age. About a ¼ of the lot were turned down by this M.O. who hails from Simcoe county and asked if I know of “Dr Rakes” of Midland. We who pass go soon to Seaford on the coast somewhere and train as machine-gunners.  So I may yet spend a few summer days by the seaside, while the classes here will not long be available for me. However we do what we think is best and leave the rest to Providence. We must trust and leave much to the creator of the universe, fearing never, to do what we may if we believe it to be right and just. In this way let us go forth to whatever is to be our reward or achievements. Yesterday I passed the “gas tests” for speed in donning the “masks” or “respirators” and went through “tear” gas and another kind that would have killed us all in ½ a minute if we had not our “respirators” on and in good working order. I am thankful that I did not get through with the first attempt since they took away the uncomfortable and rather misfitting respirator I had when I failed; and this time I have been fitted with a larger and handier one. This means a good deal when the fact is remembered that it is the one I go to France with and wear on parade almost constantly even here. So even failures may not always prove to be what they seem. Now you would think a man who had passed as “marksman” the highest class at the ranges for shooting, and a young man at that, would pass for a machine gunner’s course but such a man was rejected by the selecting officer because his teeth in front were decayed and would need time and attention. So you see there is no use in reaching out too eagerly for or hanging back from the opportunities and duties of life: or one will be pursued by relentless fear or stricken prostrate by shattered hopes.

Happy is he who can “trust in god, and do the right” That should be the aim of everyone. This is an exceedingly wet day and I am glad that so far I am free from parades etc. and can this sit down and talk to my wee little son who at this moment may be giving his dear mother an awakening kiss but he is scarcely big enough to pick her up and stand her on feet as I used to take a wild, wicked delight in doing when I happened around on time, and thought she had had enough rest which was more too often the case I am sorry to have to say for I was often in bed and asleep before she was through with her daily tasks. I know you will help her all you can by being good and happy and biddable, as I am sure Leon and Irene and Sylvia wish to do too.

Now I am going to put some little clippings in with this for this dear mother of yours, who is also my darling wife. I hope you will write me some more loving letters. I am sure even the censor over in France will let them all pass when they have to follow me over there. Your Loving “Daddy”

W.J. Wood.

Original Scans

Original Scans