Saturday, July 23, 2016

19 October 1916 1st Northern General Hospital Newcastle-on-Tyne

Dear Mother and Gert:-

Well, things have been in a muddle at home, haven't they? I hadn't an inkling as to what was going on until Bill came up to see me on Saturday last. He brought up all the recent letters he had rec'd from everyone and read me all about the happenings.

I hadn't had any mail from anyone for about a month. So I was wondering what was going on at home. Today I was fairly overwhelmed with mail. It had all been sent on from France. I got 19 letters & cards and a regular armful of papers. I was most of the day at reading them and have only finished. It is now nearly 6 pm and, as we have our tea at 4:30 pm and supper at 7 pm, I can get a letter written to you before supper.

Well, I'll not go into details of how I got to 1st Northern General Hospital for by the time this reaches you, you will have rec'd my others and also the one Will (Bill) wrote when he was here.You would likely be en route for Calgary when Will sent the cables. I wrote a letter to Floss a few days ago telling most of my trip across. Probably she will have sent it on to you also.

Well, I have been getting along nicely and have been allowed up and about for three or four days. They are crowded for room here so any who possibly can go to Convalescent Homes are being sent. I go tomorrow. I'll likely be there for 2 or 3 weeks but I am going to try and make it spin out till Bill has finished his Gunnery course at Salisbury then we can have our leave together. He will be finished at Lark Hill by November 20th at the latest. I'll likely have to " swing the lead " a bit for I'm getting better far too quickly. That's the worst of being healthy. I have a small fragment of shrapnel still in me. It jags against my ribs when I twist or stretch but the doctor here says the x-ray people could not find anything definite. I was x-rayed in France and they found it but of course they could not do a second operation there. If it gives me much trouble, I'll report sick and see if I can't have it taken out.

Well Gert, how are you feeling these days? I'm sorry I neglected writing for so long. Since we started our long trek from Ypres to the Somme, I haven't had time for much of anything. They even objected to letting us eat our meals in peace and sometimes hauling us out of bed in the "wee small 'oors" was another favourite stunt they indulged in. We were worked to death when we got down to the real thing. When an action was underway, it was slave like mad, and when the Division was out we were all in and could sleep our heads off. The first trip in for the 2nd division the weather was fine except for the last two days. It takes just about 20 minutes of rain to make a morass out of the ground down there. A water-soaked ploughed field isn't a patch on the ground there. Carrying stretchers over that kind of ground is the most tiring thing you could imagine. Just to walk from our advanced post to where we slept ( about 2 miles) was enough to make me feel "all in".

Bill wants me to take out a commission and try for the R.F.A. I have not decided. I can't do much until I get discharged from hospital.

Write me at my old address until I let you know differently. Well, I have a batch of letters to answer so will ring off for now. Hope Gert is ok and yourself.

I'll soon be fit as ever again.



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