Thursday, April 11, 2013

8 December 1915 Somewhere in France

Dear Mother,

This is Wednesday morning and I am trying to get a small bit written at this while I can. It is a splendid morning and is a great one for walking. I had an easy time easy night last night and had intended going up to the next village to see Billy Redburn. However the S.M. put that idea on the blink by announcing a muster parade for inspection of gas helmets and of course everyone must be on that parade. Since there is no use going to bed and no time to go to see Billy I'll just try and get this written.

I hope you get the few little souvenirs I sent for Christmas. They are not very much but the choice of stuff here is very limited and it is hard to get stuff through the mails. I sent to Toronto and told Orville and the girls to get something for you and father for me. I hope it gets there by Christmas too. It no doubt will if it is not delayed too long by the extra rush. The parcel you sent on November 5 got here on Monday December 6, just a month from the time it was posted. The cake in the bottom of the box was in fine shape and is a dandy cake. Several of the fellows who sleep close to where I do, had a piece and ever since they are hovering around at meal time like flies around a tin of jam. The cookies were pretty dry but good just the same. I guess it is not very practicable to send eatables such as cookies and doughnuts so far, at least when it takes a month to get here. The maple syrup and nut candy and nuts were all fine and dandy. I have been about the luckiest fellow with parcels the last week or 10 days and have sure been living high. I had a great big parcel from "the Bathurst Patriotic Club" and it had nearly everything in it that you could imagine. There was not much to eat (except chocolate bars)  but in a big pair of socks they had crammed two leather bound pocket diaries, a toothbrush, shaving powder, two pencils, envelopes and one bar of Ivory soap, a housewife with scissors in it, a towel. Each article was contributed by a different person and nearly all had a small Christmas tag on it. It was a good parcel for a soldier and I can tell you I appreciated it too. I had another one from Ettie the next day and it was peach. Two pair of socks one pair from Laura Haynes. They are dandy and both pair fit like a glove.  They are the first ones that Ettie ever knitted too, a pair of wristlets and a couple of handkerchiefs. Say by the way, I have about enough of them. I also got your ? There were three or four in the Bathurst parcel and also a can of insect powder and a comb. ha! ha! Mighty handy stuff too for most of us are getting like a cage of monkeys now.

There was a lot of eats in Ettie's parcel too. Peanut butter, candy, etc. etc. and of course it was good. Aunt Aggie had one land along too and it was full of figs dates candy and nuts. I had a letter from Mae and she says there is another one from Toronto on the way and that Mrs. Rumble also was sending one. They are not to hand yet but will no doubt soon be here. Some of the fellows do not get very much and when it comes pouring in to me, it hardly seems as square deal. I try and divey up as best I can and they all seem to appreciate it.

We are not getting very much to do just now and we have only been having an occasional wounded man where a while ago we were getting from 5 to 15 a night. It is a pretty good record for the 4th Brigade considering that they hold the trenches  (which hardly deserve the name ) that have seen some of the heaviest fighting of the war and where the Princess Pats made some of their famous charges.

You were asking in your last letter if I was getting fat. Say you would hardly know me. I cannot button my tunic when I have on a sweater and it is two sizes larger than the one I had last fall when I joined. If I wasn't getting fat I should worry because I am not doing enough work to take anything off me and with the parcels I get.

It is such a dandy clear day that the air is chuck-full of airplanes and au pom-poms and anti-air guns are busy. They very seldom seem to hit anything but I suppose they keep the airplanes from taking too many liberties etc.

Well this is Friday morning and if I get this away by noon it will likely leave England on the Saturday midnight mail and probably get home before New Year's.

I got a big Canadian mail yesterday and there will likely be more along today
but it is coming very irregularly now and will no doubt be worse as it gets near Christmas.

I think I have received everything that has been sent to me and I always try to acknowledge it. I guess I'll have to drop a "whiz-bang" (a field postcard) whenever I receive anything just when I get it and then you will know as soon as possible. In Mae's letter she seemed to think that possibly some things had gone astray. I do not think I have lost anything yet. Don't worry about me writing too many letters. I only write two or three a week. I try to write one home at least once a week and that will do for everyone. I might sometimes drop a letter to Ettie (and) to some of the others when I have time. By the way I'll enclose a letter I received from Mrs. Skillings of Scarborough. I got it sometime ago but have not answered it yet.

Oh yes the boxes I get are fine but do not weigh them down with fruitcake please. There will be lots of that and Christmas pudding etc. floating around here by Christmas  -that is if it can float-  and the hospital will likely be full of fellows with gout etc. they will all be calling it "trench feet" though. We get all the clothes we can possibly use or carry so any extra you have, send it to the Red Cross first and the fellows in the trenches will get it. If you have a good hot bath you might send it across. I haven't had a good one for nearly a month so possibly you will see how the insect powder comes in handy eh! I haven't had to use any yet but I have a "little 'itch in my arrangements".

Well I must ring off now and get this posted and then turn in.

Yours lovingly,

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