January 27, 1916
FROM SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE
How Canadian Soldiers Spent Christmas - Morley Stride's Letter to His Mother.
Mrs. D. Stride, Iona Station, has received an interesting letter from her son, Pte. Morley B. Stride of the First Mounted Rifle Brigade:
Somewhere in France.
Jan. 1, 1916
MY DEAR MOTHER. - Just a few lines to-day. I am quite well and enjoying life as best I can. The weather is very wet and miserable, and it is beginning to turn cold again. We are out of the trenches and back for a rest, with which we can do nicely after the fierce bombardment of two hours which we went through - a continual roar of artillery and bursting shells. It sure was fierce and sad to see so many of our good squadron boys blown to pieces. It makes us all the more anxious to get at the enemy and to avenge the death of those whom we have lost. We, no doubt, will have the opportunity in the near future. But at present we are trying to get our nerves settled and get cleaned up again. We are being fitted with new clothing. The long-haired goatskin coats which have been issued are quite serviceable and warm, but quite a noise is created when we all get them on, and continual blatting like a flock of sheep occurs in the ranks until we are drawn to attention by the S.S.M. and then we settle down to duty.
While in camp we can also enjoy a few sports, the principal one being football, and many a good game is played. In the evening we have concerts, including mandolin and violin solos, duets, solos and choruses, which help to while away the long evenings and make the billets more cheerful.
We are billeted in an old barn with some straw in it. The building is swarming with rats and mice who have great sport at night stealing our cheese ration which has been issued the day before.
I trust you are all well at home. Would very much liked to have been with you at Christmas. We had a real good feed that day. We all chipped in so many francs a piece and bought chickens and ducks. We also had plum pudding. All sorts of cakes, heaps of candy, nuts and oranges. In fact we had a very pleasant day under the circumstances, and now this is New Years and we have a big supper coming off tonight, just similar to Christmas, with a big concert at night.
I received the three parcels just before Christmas, and the contents were much appreciated, especially the socks and shirts and tobacco. Believe me. Mother, I do have some good smokes, which act the same as a good square meal.
Now, as it is getting late, I must draw to a close, hoping to hear from you again soon. With kind regards to all inquiring friends.
Your affectionate son,