Dear Friend Annie,–
I was very pleased to get your newsy letter a few days ago but sorry to hear of Art Mackey's death – I had not heard anything of him so supposed he was well so it was quite a shock when I got your letter. Too bad, Art was a good fellow and was well liked. He seemed to get along well out here and it is usually the fellow who is trusted that gets in the hot corners and the fellow who is all for himself gets away. The best boys are the ones who are casualties every time. His people will take it hard as they thought so much of Art and it sure would be discouraging to Constance Clendenan being sick with the “Flu” at the same time.
I also got word from Vera McCartney of Meaford saying that her brother Wilbert was killed on Sept 27th probably you will remember him – a tall, slim, young fellow. He was at a party at your place if I remember rightly when he was home with me once. I suppose he was killed along the Canal Du Nord or around Queant before Cambrai. He was in the Motor Machine Gun Battery. I was sorry to hear of his death as we were great pals when in Canada and boarded together in Meaford. But I did not know of his death till a few days ago so will not likely be near his grave again.
Of the Eight who used to live in a tent together in Borden, I am the only one who has been continuously with my unit. There has been one killed, two in Canada wounded, three in Blighty and the other fellow has returned from hospital after being sick So we were pretty lucky considering everything, I think.
The “Flu” seems to have been very severe at home by all reports. Sorry to hear of Geo Smith's demise. We had it last June but it was not so bad only lasting two or three days but some fellows run very high temperatures with it.
At present all goes well except for a severe cold which everyone seems to have probably caused through being used to living in the open then getting decent billets with less fresh air. I have an awful cold myself and cant speak above a whisper. Too bad too because my “Angel of Mons” has asked me to meet her at the office this evening (a “stenog” this time,) and I'm afraid I'll have to stay in for once – all on account of a cold.
The only thing anyone is interested in now is “when will we get home,” but it looks more like Rhineland than Canada for awhile at least But Ive seen all I want of Europe, I hope they send us back shortly. This is quite a large town and the citizens use us very good, much better than when we were in Flanders around Abeele or Poperingehe. We get good billets now too, at present we have a room lighted and heated by gas, so are in luck quite different to a couple of months ago after the Cambrai scrap when all we had was old trenches and no cover during a lot of wet weather. But the days of hardships are nearly over now I guess. It will be quite interesting when we get back just to stand in a shop window and watch all the young “fry” cruising around. The ones who were only kids three years ago will be real sports now I suppose. – Just think how much of the fun I've missed? But I guess there is time to make up for a lot of it yet, eh?
I have not heard any news of “Penny” for a long time but knew that he had spent considerable time in hospital.
Well I think this is about all for this time. Hoping to hear from you again or see you in a few months. Best Xmas wishes to All.
Your Sincere Friend,