Dear Mr. Thompson:
Just a few lines to let you know that I am still in the land of the living and am feeling fine. We have been having quite a time of it this last week or two but are having a bit of a rest now for a few days. We have been doing some good work. We have gained quite a bit of ground and taken a lot of prisoners. They are a mixed looking lot of men, some young and some old, and some husky looking fellows, but they are glad to be taken prisoners. Some of the infantry men told me that the Germans' Red Cross soldiers brought our wounded into our lines and would not go back into their own lines again. They would rather stay prisoners. Our fellows tried some new stunts this last week with some new guns that have just come over from England. Some call them tanks and some land cruisers. They can crawl over almost anything. They can cross an eight foot trench. When the Germans first saw them coming they ran out to capture them but they got mowed down like so much grain. Rifles or machine guns have no effect on them. They run over the German machine gun pits, but a big shell will put them out of business. One of them is stranded now in no man's land. They were the means of taking a sugar refinery which hundreds of men had lost their lives in trying to take. Our guns were pounding away all night and are still at it this morning. We have lots of shells here now, but it takes a lot. There are thousands thrown over every hour, day and night, Our fellows say we throw over more than the Germans do, but they still throw over a lot yet.
I saw Rev, Mr. Beattie. I was talking to him this morning. He was telling me that at one house where he was stopping, he slept in the top story of the house and the rest of the officers slept in the cellar. A shell struck the top of the house and knocked it to pieces. He says that after this he thinks he will occupy the cellar, too. He does not seem to think that the war will be over yet for a while. He thinks it will take nearly two years more than six months, but I think things seem to be coming our way every day now, Hundreds of our aeroplanes go across the German lines to one of theirs that come over ours. One of theirs was dropping bombs close to our camp about three this morning, but our guns soon got after it and drove it away home. We are not allowed to name any places where we are or where we go through, but we moved from Belgium two weeks ago to where we are now, about eighty miles.
Some of the country here is very good and there are some very fine crops, the best I have ever seen. But they seem to be slow in getting it harvested. A lot of the work is done by hand and by old men and women. I saw some Massey-Harris binders, but they seem to be all four foot cuts. The towns and villages are not as good as where we were, and there is one big city here that is knocked almost to pieces. I cannot tell you the name but it is some place. You will be surprised to hear that I met and shook hands with Sir Clifford Sifton one day this week. I met him close to the firing line and some officers, but he knew me and came over to the motor lorry where I was and had a chat with me. He had his speaking tube in one hand and a shrapnel helmet in the other. He seemed pleased to meet me. He said he remembered me selling him coal for a yacht in Cobourg. He praised me up for the good work we are doing. I was up with a load of ammunition for some machine guns at the time. I could tell you a lot more but the officer does not like us to write too much as he says it takes up too much of his time reading the letters.
Porter is in a different camp from me since we came here and about four miles from me, but I often see him. Jim Wellwood is in the same camp with me. I see him every day. Thos. Burnet is down here in the village with the Y.M.C.A. This is about all this time. How is everything going on in Cobourg? Remember me to the boys. Tell all that I am well. I would like to have a few lines from you. I like getting letters but do not like writing them. I remain,