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Date: June 9th 1917


Dear Mother:-

Just rec'd your letter of May 17th which took 23 days to come, and you say you received my letter of Apl. 22nd on May 16th which would make it about 24 days going so that this seems to be about the usual time altho they have come from you in 20 day. I am glad you are moved into the new place and that you like it and find the surroundings congenial and clean and roomy. I have sent you two cheques since the Apl. one and hope you have received them O.K. The weather here continues to be fine, warm and the skies clear. (I am writing this in "reserve" position and our big gun 6" or 8" is quite near, and occasionally it fires a shot, so if you see any sudden-like slides of the pen it will be simply that and nothing more). Our Company Commander is back again, and I am relieved of my Acting C.O. rank.

I wrote you some days ago when we were out in rest, and the weather is still as nice. I did quite a little riding (horse) when out and got fairly good after a little practice, but was quite stiff and sore at first.

Yesterday we went out to see Sir Julien Byng the O.C. of the Canadian Corps and to hear him say good-bye to our Division (officers). He has been promoted from a Corps to an Army Commander. He was greatly affected with emotion, and only said a few words, among which were that we had gained his promotion for him and that he would never forget it as long as he lived. He said the last year during which he was Canadian Corps Commander was the happiest of his life, if any year could be happy during the war. He wished us all good-bye, good luck, a speedy termination of the war, and all success and happiness afterwards. It was a dramatic sight to see the scene in front of an old Chateau on the lawn completely surrounded by trees, the officers drawn up in two double rows on either side. He came in quietly, walked up between the two lines, turned about and faced the Chateau, and, without looking at anyone, started to speak. It appeared that he was afraid to look at any one lest he become overwhelmed with emotion. After he had spoken, he walked away alone, head down and every one could only stand and stare, till one of the other generals walked off with him, and we all ran round to a road leading from the Chateau to see him pass, and cheer him. He is a wonderfully solid looking man, with, I should say, a rather large head, not tall, but rather stocky looking, simple, unaffected and, of course, sad looking and mannered as was natural. He said, when he started to speak, he had come to do one of the saddest and hardest things he had over done.

The war news seems, here at least, to be cheerful, the only cloud in the sky is Russia, but it is hard to discern the truth amid all the rumors from here. We are winning and are bound to continue to do so, even at great losses sometimes, and this thought is very consoling that however hard it is for us it is many more times harder for the enemy. My leave is yet a thing of hope, but I think it will come soon, at least I see nothing very serious in the way unless it be my "untimely taking off" as Shakespeare says, but I am very careful and I never take any unnecessary risks. My paths have led, so far, in very fortunate places, but I must not spoil my luck by saying anything.

While I think of it, put 38th Bn. Canadian, Army P.O. France as long as I am here on my letters. Had a letter from Rhoda which I answered some days ago. Also had one from Herbert same time as yours's came.

I see Martha’s letter was written on Apl. 20th and 26th and she tells of the cold. If she could just see the weather here. In some of the Battalions the men wear "shirts"[shorts?], i.e. trousers which come about three or four inches above the knee and puttees, so that their knees are bare and it looks delightfully cool in the warm weather. I don’t think I will try it tho’, not yet anyway.

I had a letter from my old Sargent in the 159th, with whose sister in London I left my things, and he said Mr. Herson would likely buy another car when the war was over so that he, the Sergeant, and I could see England properly. So I must write her and tell her that I hope soon to be in London and will call to get some things I need, so perhaps she will offer me her car to take me around.

I have not written to any of your or father’s people in Scotland, but will do so as soon as I know that I am going, and see what the answers are like before I commit myself.

I sent a paper to one of the children (Pozer I think), the other day. Hope he gets it. It was the "Sphere" and a special number called the Western Front. It had some very good pictures in it.

Love to all at home and abroad.

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