Written by – Pte. W.H. Donnelly
#161308 C.C [censored] C.E.F.
France, Sept 22, 19
Dear Father, Mother & All –
As I am under the impression that I may not be I a position next Sunday to write and as my last note was but a short one to you I must try and pen at least a substitute for an answer to those letters which were so heartily welcome and much enjoyed, ie. those which I received last Sunday and since, (the first since I left England) mothers' of Aug 7 & 22, Libbys' of Aug 21, Ev's of Aug 12, Jacks' of Aug 13, (say old sport: you dated it Oct 13 but I know better. You must have let your nerves contract Tobacinjitis[?]; hope you are well again) and Harolds' of Aug 14.
I know that I cannot do it properly, but please excuse by the usual method of writing some more at once please.
I note that you, dear father still have your ups and downs and I do so often think of you and wonder how you are faring. You certainly have my deepest love and sympathy. But if I could only do something to help you – if any of us could!
It is certainly heartening and welcome to know that all the rest of you are keeping so well. May it always so continue.
Wish I could come in for that chicken dinner Lib, for I believe you could cook it properly if you would try, Ahem! I am glad to know of Dorothy Jean doing so well and would love to see her. Sorry to learn of your friends in Manitoba having crop failure. Tender them my sympathy and Regards. And say Wat: you continue to come home early at night or settle it with a "veteran" when I come home. See?!
I do not remember the Mr. Bratland of whom you speak, Lib. When and where did I meet him?
I am sure you, especially you, father and mother would enjoy Irma Davidson's visit. I remember her, but you know I was not old enough then to take much interest in girls of her age.
By the way – I ran across what I had been looking for since I left home, today – buttermilk and say! didn't I house some. Well I should smile! Then I beat it and brought back my mess-tin and water bottle and had them filled before too many got next to my favorite [?]. Gee! but it was a treat. If those ginger-snaps arrive by tonight's mail this will be a banquet day for Willie.
Good for Jackie! down stairs alone. Give him two extra this time for me. I would sure love to see those nieces and nephews of mine again.
We have been resting here in farm house and barn billets since the day before yesterday at noon and I think that we will move again tomorrow back towards our objective for our next fight which will probably come off within the next week. Our boys won a wonderful victory last friday and saturday. I would like very much to send you a clipping of the account of it from a London paper, but censorship would not allow it. The objective was a very important one and has been held by the enemy for months. The boys knew that it meant a very heavy cost and that their lives would all hang in the balance for a very lengthy period, but they went over the parapets like "wild-cats" and fought like demons and they won. Though our [censor has partially blacked over "losses"] were [censor has partially blacked over "heavy"] the latest lists show that the Hun's casualty's were about eight to our one.
But I cannot describe it to you by pen. Some day err long I will tell you via a chat. See!?
And I must close for today and paddle from this tent to our upper storey in that old farm building provided the mud don't stop me altogether. It has rained very heavy since last sunday – very little today and the sun occasionally shows through thus giving us fresh hopes for a dryer march tomorrow.
But I must mention just a few of the old-style antiquated systems still used here in farming, etc. For instance for harvesting and threshing we see very frequently, sickles, cradles, reapers, tread-mills, flails, etc. One can hardly believe their eyes when everything else seems on par. Suppose you think I still love Canada?!
And yes mother – I have those gory-back visitors which you told me to salt and the buggars are desperately hungry over here. I'll salt them the first chance I get to dry the clothes afterwards. In the meantime I have to do like my unfortunate comrades – I go our and sit down, take off the clothes and chase them till I win; then kill the buggars. Result – one more night fairly easy. But think of the fun during the race.
Well so long for today.
Love in chunks to all from
[added to back of letter, after it was received by Will's family back home:]
Hello Ev. Come over and help me nurse the Whooping Cough, both Jean and Verna have it now. I do not think Jean is losing any she is out of doors most to the time and Verna coughs very seldom she is going to school again.
Wat is busy as a bee some of the elevators are open today not the Imperial thank goodness.
Come over when you can.