Dear Mr. Irwin,
Received your letter a few days ago and thank you very much for same. Was surprised to learn that you did not move as was intended but am also glad. I wrote you a couple months ago and addressed it to what was going to be your new home so I hope it has reached you O.K. No doubt they would recognize the mistake at Belleville and so and it on to you.
I had a letter from Karl about a month or so ago and he was feeling fine. The return no doubt was somewhat a disappointment to him but undoubtedly the best I believe. The war is much different this year and one has to be a fairly good man and in good condition also in order to stand the marching etc that as you know with a load to carry would over play out a boy of Karls age. I have been standing it quite well myself even if I am not so very heavy. I many cases a little man has the advantage out here if there is any to be had. I am quite content to be small in stature for once at least. It doesn’t like a very large shell hole to afford me half decent cover when I have to take to it in a hurry. When machine guns are trained on a squad of men in the open you have to move and move quickly or you are liable to move no more unless on a stretcher. Still on the whole I prefer it much better than the old dragging trench warfare. A little harder perhaps but something accomplished oftener and so makes the end appear nearer.
Personally I have enjoyed this summer (if there is much a thing as enjoyment in war in any place) and would very much like to see it continue like this to the end. If it does I am satisfied that the end is not far distant. War is a queer thing as well as a terrible undertaking but the great uncertainty plays upon a man’s life and creates action, quick thinking and so on at so many different times and under such different conditions, which I doubt very much if many of us would acquire in any profession in Canadian life. There is one thing which becomes automatic out here I believe if one stays long enough and that is “ducking your head” at any suspicious sounds. It took me many months to acquire the habit but lately I don’t believe I need any coaching at the game.
Was sorry to hear of the poor results in Matric due to the subject of Latin but was pleased with other results. Not knowing the staff (Junior) for this last three years of course I couldn’t be a critic. Do not remember much of my Latin but I cant understand so many failure in Latin as I believe it is the easiest language. If it were French with all its irregular verbs and idioms there might be a good excuse. Remember more about my French than Latin because it was harder to learn I suppose. Can manage with the French I remembered and so not much difficulty in regards to many things if we happen to get billeted where there are civilians.
Was pleased to hear that you had an enjoyable trip with the scouts this year. It’s a good education for the boys and should be thoroughly encouraged. Wish I could write all I could think of but I’m afraid our officers would get fed up censoring.
Best regards to Mrs. Irwin and family. Health and happiness to all