Monday, February 25, 2013

24 October 1915 Somewhere in Belgium (near Ypres)

Dear Father and Mother,

Sunday noon and I have just come off of a 24 hr. guard over a prisoner and had to stand or lie on a stone floor all the time with a draught that nearly blew us along the floor coming in under the door.

As you will see we have crossed back here again although we are not in the same village as before we went across the border to that rest camp at the chateau. That was supposed to have been a rest camp for us as well as the patients who were there but it wasn’t very much like it and so while we are here we are not supposed to do too much until we take charge of the dressing station.

It is a beastly cold and cheerless place here. We are crowded 25 men to a small hut without a fire or windows. If we want any light we must open the trap doors in the wall and then it is so damp and cold that we have to close them to keep the wind out. I am propped up against the wall on my bedroll of blankets trying to get this written before dinner. I am afraid I am not going to get it done. My fingers are so stiff that I cannot write very fast.

Some of our men went up to a ruined city last night and were to bring back some bricks to use as a pavement to keep us on top of the mud around our huts. They got into a sculptor’s yard and filled their waggons with marble slabs in a few minutes and then searched around the ruins for a couple of hours. It was very light (on account of a full moon and clear sky) so they brought back quite a few souvenirs. Some of them even got going through the ruins of the famous ‘cloth hall’. I guess you have heard of it and where it is. I am going to try and get on the next fatigue forty that goes up. It is only about six miles by the main road.

There is not very much doing here these days and only a few cases are brought in every day. A man of the RFA whose battery is attached to our division had one of his legs amputated in our dressing station night before last. It seemed too bad for it was only an accident. There are a pretty large percentage of the wounded men who come in who are only hit by accident and some of them are maimed by themselves purposely so they can get back to the hospital.

I got your letter and parcel of sox. They are sure dandy sox and the brown pair are just fine. They fill up my big boots to perfection. The film was in the other ones ok but I guess you have my other letter saying not to send any more as my camera is in the custody of the Col.

The mail has just come in but there was nothing for me. I think it is the advance part of another Canadian mail.

Dinner is all over now and I am going out for a walk so I’ll ring off and get this posted so that it will go on tonight’s mail. Have not got the parcel Mae spoke of sending. Probably it will be on the mail that just arrived. I am feeling fine and am getting fat as a porpoise. Hope everyone at home is well. Tell Verne and Norma to write.



  1. The contrast between the cold, uncomfortable conditions, and the joy the boys must have felt at receiving socks in the mail is heartwarming.