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Date: March 7th 1918

From: France
7 Mar. 1918

Dearest Mother -

It is a little over a week I fear since my last and so I hope this travels faster than the one before it. There has been no Canadian mail now for some time and we are looking for it in a day or two. The weather for the past three or four days has been so bright and sunny - just like it was last May - really wonderful weather for this time of year.

You know, they are from time to time making promotions in the battery - making N.C.O's (non-commissioned officers) of some of the gunners or drivers or raising them from bombardier to corporal or corporal to sergeant. I never told you but away last Jan., about two weeks after I came back from leave, several promotions were made and I was one of four to be made an acting bombardier. Since then, you see, I have been wearing a stripe on each arm like Bdr. Van Blaricom in that picture we had taken in London. If I had had my choice, I think I would rather have remained as a gunner, but I have been getting along alright. For some time now I have been in charge of a gun crew at the guns.

You must have received that post card photo I sent you in January of myself and four friends. Quite a few of the fellows are applying for commissions to be officers and it has set me thinking as I am better qualified in some respects (education, I mean) than many. In that picture, Bdr. Otty is in England training to be an officer in the C.F.A. Kelly has an application in for a commission in the Infantry as has Kent. And now, Clark is about to put one in for the Royal Flying Corps. It usually takes several months for an application to go thru but depends on circumstances. Otty was a long time in getting his. Then, it means from four to six or more months training in England, besides leave, when one is out of war altogether really. Seeing so many of the best fellows trying for it, makes me think that, if I made up my mind to it, I could do it to. You know my trouble - not enough initiative or leadership. I don't want one in the infantry or artillery where it is necessary to take charge of bodies of men. I look too young, I think, for such a job.

The Flying Corps is different from the others and requires young men. As far as danger goes, one might think it more dangerous than other branches. If I was set on joining, of course, the danger part of it really wouldn't matter, only as it affected you and to reassure you - I saw in the paper some time ago a list showing the relative amt. of casualties in different branches of the service. The Army Medical Corps (field ambulances, stretcher bearers, etc.) had most casualties, sappers, & tunnellers next, then - infantry artillery and 5th, the R.F.C. The R.F.C. course is very strenuous but I could stand it, if others can. There are many things in favour of it. I would be learning something and making use of what I do know. Here, one is apt to forget all he knows and has to be at the beck and call of N.C.O.'s and officers, some of whom one wouldn't recognize in civilian life. Then, of course, if I ever got a commission, the pay is many times as large and meals & quarters much better. One has to see the Major of the battery, then the Col. of the Brigade & finally some Gen., and one has to be medically fit.

The application form is rather a formidable one. I have two kinds here and if I have to use the latest one I got, I shall have to wait a couple of months to get recommendations from home. I need a recommendation as to moral character from someone who has known me for the past four years. Mr. McLeod would give me that I think as he has known me for longer than that. Then, I may need a certificate showing that I have a standard of education suitable for commissioned rank which I think Prof. Matheson - head of Math. Dept. at Queen's could best give me. I think he would remember me alright. Mr. Sexton could recommend me both for scholarship & character. These recommendations have to be from teachers, ministers or solicitors you know, not relatives. Could you, without too much trouble, get these for me and send them to me? I may not need them and then again I may.

Now, what do you think of this letter? I don't think you can have any objection and it is a thing I can't go to you with very well as you do not know about these things.

Hope you & Gladys are well. Love to all.
Yours affectionately,

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