Altho I have written home since I got Mother's last letter I will write now as the opportunity is afforded me. We have been out of the line for some days and will return shortly. May hopes that my leave would materialize before last tour in were shattered, and now another tour looks me in the face, so I hope and pray that this one may see my safe return as I think I will surely get leave. The time does fly almost seven months since I came here, and a winter and spring has passed and gone over the land.
Last night we had a battalion dinner. The General (Brigadier) and staff were here. It was the occasion of the return from England of an officer who had won a V.C. and we celebrated by a dinner.
This a.m. we had Church service and after that the whole brigade drew up in form of hollow 3 sided square, and the new Corps Commander pinned decorations on some who had won it including Maj. McDowell our officer who got the V.C.
He is to be invested also by the King of England. I can tell you it is an impressive ceremony, and it brings tears to the eyes of strong men.
I told you I think about being at the Valedictory parade of the officers to Sir Julien Byng. His successor reviewed our Brigade to-day and it was an impressive parade. Nearly all the battalions in France now have bands and some of them have two, one brass and one bugle or pipes and drums. There are two Highland battalions in our brigade, one the 72nd was originally from Montreal and they wear the kilts, and the other the 85th. The new Corps Commander is Gen. Currie, formerly a Divisional Commander. Gen. Byng was promoted to Commander of the third Army. He said the Canadians have won the promotion for him and that it was them he had to thank for it.
The spirit of our boys is wonderful, they are the same here out of the trenches when drilling as they would be in Canada, better in fact, and the hardships they endure in the way of marching and carrying full kits etc. is almost beyond understanding. I have been quite well despite some adverse circumstances, and only find that I get tired quicker than formerly. I realize that I am not as young as I once was, but the main thing is loss of regular sleep. We get sleep only in snatches up the line, and then one gets so that sleep is impossible almost.
Be sure to tell Rhoda that I got her box and sugar was much enjoyed. Tell her I just heard that the 4th Pioneer Battalion have been in our area for some time, so will try to see her brother. They say it is the 124th Bat. or 4th Pioneers. Will let her know as soon as possible. I saw the first U.S. officer to-day. They were just looking around I suppose, still it shows that they mean business. I understand they will have some men over here very soon. It is a significant fact tho' and will no doubt cause the French and all others great pleasure and joy to actually see them here.
I saw my friend Anderson a day or so ago. He was in Paris for leave and enjoyed it very much. I would like to go to some seaside place, or where I could have a little tennis to keep me in exercise and bathing and resting and good sleeps between real sheets.
Send me some papers with any interesting political news in from home.
What unrest the war is causing in many countries, even our own home is not free from hard feeling among our people. The same feeling tho must exist in Germany and when it asserts itself as no doubt it will, we should see something to our advantage.
I am sending you check for £4.0.0 herewith. If you don’t get this promptly before the 15th of each month, let me know and I will send you a duplicate, for they might get lost crossing the channel or the Atlantic.
Let the others see this letter after you have read it. Hope you are all getting on as usual. No doubt when this reaches you you will be away from school.
Love to all.