Monday, May 27, 2013

1 February 1916 Somewhere in France

Dear Mother, Father, and everybody,

Received your letter of January 9th today and also Vern's which was enclosed. The mails have been very irregular and it is two weeks since I got a Canadian mail. Was sorry to hear Vern was sick and also to know that Orville was being taken up. It might cost him quite a bit before he is through.

Well what kind of a winter are you having over in Canada? There has not been any snow here yet but lots of rain though. On the whole I think we are having a comparatively mild winter and even if it is wet, there is very little frost.

There has been very heavy artillery firing all along our front this last day or two and I think the 6th Brigade infantry went after the "Bosche" pretty hard a couple of nights ago and got a prisoner who has an Iron Cross and has been in 37 engagements. He no doubt would be very glad to be taken prisoner I should judge.

We are still at the Ch√Ęteau and are still in the dark as to when we shall be moving from here. I hope it will be soon for nearly everyone is completely disgusted with this place and we have been here nearly 2 months. I hope you got my diary alright. I haven't put a single entry in my new one yet as there has been absolutely nothing to mention and I don't suppose there will be as long as we are here.

I was agreeably surprised yesterday to receive a box of apples that I had given up for lost. They have been on the road since November 1st and did not arrive until January 31st. I was sure surprised to get them but they were very wholesome. There were about 30 apples in the box and were in good condition although they may have been frozen but I'm not keeping them long enough for them to go bad on me.

I'll try and get you some stamps, Vern. I'll send them along as soon as I get any.

I was over to the place where Billy Redburn is and dropped in to see him. He looks fine and seems quite well etc. I stayed for about an hour and chatted and then I had to get back.

I am enclosing a photo of O'Leary, Wilkins (from Arthur, ON) and Carlisle and myself. It is not very good of us as we were just holding ourselves in to keep from laughing and so looked more serious than ever. I must try and get my Kodak if I can before I go on my leave. I can leave it in England with Bill if he is there when I go. It is of no use to me here now.

I also am enclosing a letter I received from B. Skillings OSC wife of that man in Scarborough England. I had already sent him a short letter in reply. I had a letter from Mr. Munroe the other day it was a very nice letter and they wanted to know if there was anything they could send to me seeing that it is so far to send to Canada for things I would like in a hurry.

How well is the Teeswater platoon of 160th coming along. Are they training in town. Everyone seems to think that there will be some decisive movement soon. Everyone at least hopes there will be.

I got Maude's parcels this afternoon and everything was in good condition but the pickles and the big onion. The latter had become bruised and was going bad. While the pickles had the seal broken and the wax was all mixed up with the contents of the jar. Everything else was fine and the oatmeal jam- jams were especially good. Neither they or the date cakes were dried out and you can make it a pretty sure bet that they were not very hard to take.

I was on the border this afternoon and got Vern a couple of Belgian stamps, a one centime and a 10 centimes (one penny). The one centime is used for sending postcards to places in Belgium only. It is worth only 1/5 of a cent. I'll get some more for you Vern, first chance I get. Some French ones too.

January has been the most uneventful month I have put in since I joined the Army. We have just been putting in time here. That is, our section. But B section have been doing more. At present we have only eight patients and have been as low as six. There are between 50 and 60 men looking after this place and it does not seem a very square deal. I would give a whole lot if I were out of the Field Ambulance but there is not much chance of being able to do so apparently. I am looking out for a chance to get into something else. I want to stay with the 4th brigade if I can. Write and tell me all about how Orville is doing with his case and how everything in general is going on.

I am feeling fine and hope everyone at home is the same. We had our first casualty last week. One of our men was hit on the head with a piece of stray shrapnel. It was not serious however and might not appear in the paper.

Well news is so scarce I'll have to ring off for now.

Your loving son and brother,

PS the sort of socks I have been getting are the kind that seem to be the most common. H.R.S.

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