November 12 1917
Dear Friend –
I received your long and newsy letter about two weeks ago but as you already know there has been big things doing lately and I have been kept too busy to do much writing, especially when the days are so short and a fellow is not allowed the luxury of a light at night when he is in the line, that would be a inviting strafe from Fritz.
Well, how is life around home? Everybody looking forward to Christmas I suppose, and it will soon be winter again, – and war as usual. I guess the Peace talk is over for awhile again, and it looks like a winter in Flanders for us. Not a very pleasant foresight but we will have to make the best of it. Oh well they say “War has its virtues” – even if they are very few
I suppose you have already heard that a few of our old Grey boys have been casualties lately, Archie Smith who used to work at Nicholson’s is reported missing, but I feel quite certain that he met his death on Oct 26th at least I thought it was him who I saw but I did not have time to make sure, and Jack Steele was wounded at the same time, I think the other boys are alright I met Elmer Penrose last week. I seldom see anyone from home now except Bill Warrington from Thornbury, quite a few of them are lying between nice white sheets in Blighty laughing up their sleeves at the thought of us wading through mud out here and complementing themselves on their luck.
I am getting along fine, I have never got a scratch yet, although I’ve had lots of close calls from shells and snipers, and I feel thankful for it too. Im not looking for any Blighties, Ive seen too many that didnt appeal to me in the least. But you should see a fellow when he just gets a nice little wound in the arm, they think they are the luckiest boys on earth, and they are envied by everybody who sees them.
Im lying in a tent just now, not quite “bombproof” of course but it does for us. It is warm and dry so everybody is satisfied A year ago today we left Halifax, we were all sorry to see those snow-clad cliffs disappear in the fog, and wondered when we would view them again – and still we wonder. Ha Ha This war is becoming more of a joke every day isnt it. Its one round of surprises, – you never know what you are going to do till you have done it
That sure was some trip you had to the fair, and you were interested in tractors eh? I think they should pay if a person could do a little custom work, caterpillars are the only kind we ever see and they are good on towing work. There is not many freaks in the machinery line that a fellow doesnt see out here.
So Dr McCallum has offered his services eh? I think I’ll be a “croaker” myself, if I stick to my job a little longer, a fellow certainly gets lots of First Aid work. Anything from a finger cut on a bully beef tin to “missing paddles”.
We do not keep posted on the Canadian election out here, we seldom see a paper at all, so it does not worry us much. Well I am writing this in a very uncomfortable position and it is awful scribbling. I hope you can read it though.
Be sure to write occasionally and give me all the news. Best Xmas Wishes to all.
Your old friend,