SERGT. DOUGLAS B. FREE WRITES
Sergt. Major Free, who went overseas in 1916 with the Canadian Engineers from Ottawa, and is now serving in Flanders, has been recommended by the Major of his unit for the meritorious service medal giving him credit for maintaining, in connection with his command, a high state of efficiency in the field. Sergeant Major Free has written his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H.R. Free as follows:
Somewhere in France, May 5th, 1918.
You see I have marked this personal, there is nothing serious in it except that possibly mother would not enjoy knowing it. I note that she was suggesting her delight in the fact that I was not in Paris during the shelling. I was there during the two of the worst air raids made on Paris. There were over 50 machines each time. During the first raid I was in a theatre. Several bombs dropped quite close to the theatre shaking the building considerably. The paper somewhat underestimated the damages and casualties; you understand what I mean. We had difficulty in getting back to our hotel. City was in darkness and the taxi drivers had the wind up. Of course street cars were not running.
When the second raid occurred, we were enjoying a concert in the dining room of the hotel. The room being glass we retired to the rotunda extinguished all lights and carried on. The party were having dinner after the performance. I was a guest and over comes Fritz again. He did not visit our section of the city nevertheless. The party had to walk back to their hotel, all traffic being stopped absolutely. To me they meant nothing; because they were a natural course of events with us. I must say our battalion has been very lucky, very few casualties from bombs. It used to be a pleasant sight to see the search lights playing the Bosche and possibly he circling over your head with a load of bombs, Fortunately he never unloaded on us, He used to come over in broad daylight and' you could see the bombs leaving the machines. This was last summer and fall.
You will remember last year on the 31st of July we made an advance around Ypres. We were in the thick of it in front of Zillibeke Lake to the right of Ypres. Among the field guns is rather a warm place. We were caught in his barrage; several times but always got out lucky. We have had some rather exciting experiences which I will tell you when I come home. Our battalion has enjoyed many congratulations on their work. We have always worked hard even under very adverse circumstances. I myself have enjoyed success in the battalion so far. I am enclosing a letter of the O.C's. which is for your personal information only. I do not expect the decoration will be granted but it shows my efforts were appreciated. It is the second time that he has recommended me for decoration but I do not expect anything to come through. Will write soon again, give my love to all,
P.S. We are enjoying an excellent well earned rest.