Wednesday, July 6, 2016

29 July 1916 France

Dear folks,

This is Saturday afternoon and a beastly hot day. I am glad I have no long route march to make today. it is just like the day we marched up here about a year ago when we first came out. A 20-mile march under the same conditions would get most of our goats now. I know I am not in as good condition as I was after 4 months training in England. A Brigade of Canadians (from the West just passed and are sweating to beat the band. I saw that Harry Hyslop in the ranks, but did not get a chance to holler at him. He is a Sergeant.

There has been very little change in our usual routine here but there is always a little excitement going on up the line.

We can hear the bombardments every night but, as we do not get any wounded here, the effects of these bombardments are not apparent. Frequently, though, we get cases of 'shell shock' who are badly shaken up by being near a shell when it burst or probably been buried. All they require is a little rest and quietness. It must be a terrible experience to be buried like that. It frequently happens by a dugout being hit when occupied by the men.

We have had quite a week of sports, however. On Tuesday our new Chaplain arranged a concert and we got together a fairly long program on short notice and made quite a success of it. I sang in a couple of choruses. We decided to give it over again tonight for the patients and have been practicing every day all week and we have gotten up a dandy program to be given tonight.

The Sergeants played the Officers at indoor baseball (only it was outside) and beat them by 1 run. then the next day the NCOs played the privates at football and got a trimming. Last night there was a game scheduled between the 15th Battalion (Toronto 48th) and an Imperial team, but for some reason the 15th Battalion didn't turn up and so as not to disappoint the English team we got a scratch bunch together and played and gave them a beating of 5-2.

It wasn't our best team by any means as 50 of our men are up the line on a working party and most of our best players are with them. Tomorrow "C" section is taking on "B" section for a game of baseball.

I was glad to get your letter of July 10 & 12 and to know everyone was well. Vern must be getting to be quite a musician when he is being invited out to play like that. Have they raised the Normal term to two years? It will make quite a difference. I am glad that you had such a nice time on your birthday and was sorry I could not send something. I will be 23 myself on Monday.

Well, I must ring off this time as my time is up and I must get to work. will write soon again.


Harold Skilling

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