Thursday, June 6, 2013

12 February 1916 Somewhere in Flanders

 Dear Mother, Father and everybody,

I received mother's and Maude's letters okay a couple of days ago and was very interested as usual. Maude said that Bill had received word that he would be leaving February 1. According to that, he should be in England in a day or so, or perhaps by now. We were two weeks on our way from Toronto to Bristol and were on a very slow boat at that. I will be looking for a letter from from him some of these days. I hope he was able to get home before leaving.

There has been lots of artillery fighting this afternoon over by Ypres and they certainly have meant business judging by the sound. It is just one continuous roar. All the papers say in a time like that is "there was a slight artillery bombardment about Ypres yesterday ".

Maude was asking in her letter if Uncle Will (William Skilling, his father's brother) sent me a check at Christmas.  Yes he did, for five dollars and wrote me a nice letter too. I got it cashed the other day over at an estaminet for Fr.25. That is losing a little bit on it but it was the best I could do and was glad to get that for it.

Say mother, you can try some of your new domestic science cookery on me if you like ha! ha! I wish you could do up a nice juicy apple pie like you used to make on Saturdays during the winter and send it over. "Can't be did though".

Tell some of the people in Toronto to send some of Eatons overseas chocolate or some other plain chocolate i.e. Cadbury's etc. not milk or nut. It is very hard to get decent stuff like that over here at any decent price and it is never issued to us. I wish they would give us that instead of some things that are issued to us.

How did Orville make out with his auto case? Tell him to write and tell me all about his business. I guess you will find find it hard to get help now. I guess I'll not know the twins when I get back or Grace either (his brother Orville's children).

I have lost the fellow who was with me on the desk job and have more of it now. It is not a very slavish job and the only thing about it that I do not like is that I have to stay inside most of the time and the hours are long but then there is nothing to do outside anyway. So what is the diff. There is a concert company at Bailleul that gives concerts nearly every night to infantry brigades that are resting there. I am going to try and get a pass some night and go down for a couple of hours. They get off some pretty original stuff.

I must try and get one of the papers published by some of the battalions. They are pretty amusing and get some idea of the way the soldiers live in the trenches etc. There are movies in most of the villages where troops are billeted now and shows are held quite frequently. Some class to war nowadays, eh?

I am anxious to hear from Bill for if there is no chance to get with him I want to get into something else for the "spring opening". Sure the British used gas at the Battle of Loos and it was fairly good success too although it was the first time it had been used extensively.

What do the people around home think of the fire at Ottawa? Are there any new theories? We have not heard very much about it yet nor just how much damage was done. Did it stimulate recruiting any?

Well I must ring off for now and get to bed. Hope everyone is well. I am fine.

Heaps of love to everyone.
Harold Skilling

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