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Date: January 31st 1917

Jan 31, 1917

Dear Mother -

Well it isn't a week since I wrote the last home letter and I haven't got one from home since, but we were paraded down for a bath and a change of underclothes yesterday. While we were down the Exeter boys got their parcels from the box repacked and sent from England. I thought I would write and tell you as soon as possible that I got it with the contents in first class condition. Of course you didn't send anything that would spoil quickly but then nothing was broken up at all.

I don't know how you ever managed to pack away so much good eating in that one small parcel. I have seen parcels far larger come into this same dugout but I doubt if there was as much eating in them. There was no corners in mine that was stuffed with paper to help fill up.

We saw some of the other boys yesterday when we were out. I think there has only been one casualty in our draft yet. I think they said that two or three were sick in the hospital. I saw Ed. Oke but so between us we have not gotten Hannah's cake but we will get it yet. When I do get it my half I mean it will mean another good long letter to write but I won't mind that part of it. As far as the eating goes, well I think you can rely on me to get away with that part of it.

I got a letter from Mr. Horton from England this morning. He said that Rowcliffe's had also remembered him with a parcel. He says he is now training and perhaps will be sent over to France in a little while with another bunch of the 161st. He told me he sent one of my letters home to Canada. I will have to be careful what I write in my letters, it is hard to say who will read them before they end up.

Well I have been in France just about two months. So far I have been pretty well off as far as hardships are concerned. The boys were telling me that the mud was knee-deep upon the front line before the weather got cold and it froze things up. They say it isn't too bad just now. They are out for a few days rest and have a little more training. They can tell some queer stories. Some of the boys could hear the shrapnel from air shells coming down this morning not far from here.

I got a letter from Mrs. C. W. Christie did I tell you? I just have been busy answering it this morning. She mentioned something about a spree at Geo. Ferguson's New Years night. I suppose that would be the annual Anderson reunion

I can't get over that parcel yet. Talk about the first trial of shortbread well I always thought that home was a pretty good place for board, but now, well I think I won't wander far for home for a boarding place when I get a chance to change my occupation.

Well you can tell Annie that she has not forgotten how to make candy. Anyway who ever thought out that parcel knew something about what I liked and what a fellow relishes most over here. The box took its time on the road but I tell you it was worth waiting for alright.

It would surprise you how much stuff is sent over here to soldiers from Canada. There is some every day even for our bunch up here. Some days there is as many parcels as there is letters.

You will have to excuse an occasional blot, the ceiling of our humble home has taken a notion to drip a little to-day. Everybody is feeling pretty good to-day after having a rest and a bath yesterday. It is quite a relief to get rid of most of your bed mates too. It is just the second day off since we came up here three weeks ago.

I guess we will maybe be changing our quarters in a week or so, I think they say we will soon finish the present contract but there will likely be lots of digging to do somewhere. The winter will soon be half gone I don't know whether it stays cold as long over here as it does in Canada but I think not. I will likely be here to find out for myself this spring How is the winter in Canada this year? Are you having lots of snow or has it been very cold?

Well I am pretty well and have managed to stay with it so far. The war still goes on but every war has ended before this. I hope everybody is well at home.

From your son
John Strang

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