March 2nd 1916
Your letter of Feb'r'y 13th reached me last night, so I am not losing much time in getting in the come back. Yesterday was such a dandy day that I took a half holiday at least from 3 to 6 p.m. I got a horse, at least I ordered one and they sent me something which at one time had looked like man's most faithful friend, and proceeded to B-. I had a very nice ride, just about forty minutes ride and had quite a shopping bee. B-. is not very far away, but it is in France, and that makes all the difference. France is not like England, England is not like Canada, but believe me they have all got Flanders beaten, all that I have seen of it at least. I hope soon to be getting into a little better part of Belgium. We take great pleasure in looking up on the map and discussing our next billet. That is, where we hope to put up, when we start the big drive.
And by the way I thought that someone had started a drive this morning. At 4:30 a.m. I was wakened by the most fearful crash. I thought our friends has surely arrived in numbers. But it was our own guns. Believe me Alf, it was some noise. I have heard bigger bombardments, that is longer, but I never heard one so strenuous while it lasted. It was just on for forty mins. but in that time there wasn't a dull second. It was purely a case of "big stuff" - 9.2" and up to 15". Every window, every door, every picture and piece of crockery in our happy home rattled itself hoarse. I got my head down under four thicknesses`of blankets and finally did get asleep, but it was a good one. The 9.2" weighs 750 lbs and the 15" just over 1800 lbs so you can imagine the size of [the] missiles. I tried to lift a shell for a 9.2 the other day and it is just like the old days at home when I used to heave a piano around.
I am glad you are so reasonable about letters. If I don't write to you directly as often as I would like to, it is not because I do not think of you. Same applies to Geo. I hope you always take the letters over for him to read as it makes it that much easier for me. And I certainly am busy these days. I miss Sundays or even a regular half holiday. There is such a sameness about every day, but I am getting used to it now. I supposed I ought to be, as I haven't had a day off except sickness, for over 5 months.
Now I wish you would see what you can do about that Artillery commission. Do what you can and I will use all I have, if I have any, over here to see what we can make of it. It will certainly be much easier for you over here. I know all about what the Infantry sub has to go thru over here, and it is not a picnic. None of if is of course but the other is preferable.
I also had a letter from Father, Mother & Em last evening. They all appear to be in good spirits. They were expecting you up the next week end. Also Uncle Bert and Aunt Jean. Auntie wrote me saying she hoped to go to Mt F. for a few days. Then on to Atlantic City. It made me feel very homesick. However, one can always take pleasure in imagining these things. Em tells me that Ede H. has had a hockey accident. Poor Ede will feel very much upset as she was always so particular about the appearance of her teeth.
Oh, yes, I am afraid there was a mix-up in correspondence about the cigars. All the cigars came and in good order. The parcel which was smashed, was in quite a mess, but the cigars were intact. And the other parcel contained loose cigars, none of which had been tampered with but only one broken. So that on the whole it was quite a successful exploit. And accept my thanks for same now as they did not mention in their letter who they were from, except that Marg was sending some. G. F.'s also arrived in good condition but they are nearly all done now. They were much enjoyed, and I am going to get some more when I am on leave.
Speaking of leave makes me smile. Last week I was informed mine would come off about April 15th. Twelve hours later I was told that all leave was off indefinitely. So we should worry.
My orderly has just come over and announced that I am urgently needed at the office so I'm off. Write as often as you have time for and best of good luck. Lots of love for self and all the family.
P. S. I'm glad you are skating a lot. Keep it up by all means, and gym work too.
W. H. G.