March 10th 1916
No mail this week as yet but I expect it any day now. I think the French have had other uses for their trains so as a result we have to wait, which is perfectly right.
What do you think about Verdun? We are all very optimistic about it. There is no doubt in my mind now, the only question is when. And we have held our end up fairly well and the papers say we have regained some of our lost trenches. Although we are very close to the stirring scenes, and hear the noise, and see the results, yet we have to rely on the newspaper for actual information. But I think everything has been quite O.K.
I almost had a little excitement two evenings ago. Generally I have my bath about 8 o'clock, but this day I told Gledhill to put my name down as usual. He forgot and when he went over later he found that the only available hour was 5:45 P.M. At 5 I generally go for a walk, around a square about 3 miles in all. I started out as usual but before I had gone far I remembered my bath, and came back. After dinner they started to bring in wounded and on making enquiries I found that the Germans had shelled my route and at just my hour. Had it not been for the bath I would have been on the job. As it was two or three were killed and several wounded and a number of trucks damaged. All but one of the shells landed right on centre of road. So you see I am German proof at least.
We have had some fine Ontario weather the past week. Quite a lot of snow and quite cold. Most of the snow is gone now though and we have the slush still with us. I have a pair of long rubber boots and I wear them a lot. They are really the only thing to wear if one wants to keep at all dry. Most of the men have been issued with long leather boots, but they just rec'd them a couple of weeks ago, while they should have had them in November. They were a present from the women of Canada, and they are much appreciated by all. Officers do not get them of course.
Our brigade has returned to their old quarters. We are certainly glad to see them back. Like meeting someone from home as most of the officers are like old friends. We have been together nearly nine months, and that over here counts for quite a lot. There are a few new faces in the old crowd, which is only natural. We cannot expect to come out of it intact.
Last week we lost one of our best officers in Capt Matthews. I was one of the pall-bearers and I don't much like the job. He was one of the Matthews of Matthews Lang Ltd of Montreal & Winnipeg.
We had an addition to our family this week. Garfat went out hunting rabbits the other day and found a dog. He is quite a dog fancier , and so brought him home. He let him sleep on his bed and do anything he wanted to, although the brute was full of them. He was so enthusiastic about it that he would start out a 9 a.m. to hunt rabbits and return at noon. Yesterday however he lost his dog so I suppose he will be quite upset until he finds him. Personally I am glad as I do not relish the brute on my bed and drinking out of my dishes. "I don't care if he never comes back".
I suppose Eva Thompson will be no longer. That is one thing about Flanders, we may have mud and an occasional casualty, but we are spared the weddings. I haven't seen one since I landed. Was at a dandy band concert in the ward last night. One of our own bands (28th) and it certainly is a dandy. Forty-five pieces and the leader used to be assistant bandmaster of the Coldstream Guards. They come and play in the wards and you may be sure the patients enjoy it. And not only the patients either. It is a great treat for us all.
Well my dear Mother it is past my lunch time so I will bustle along as I am as hungry as a hunter. I never felt better than I do right now, and I never felt more optimistic. Are we downhearted. NO.
Lots of love for all the family & kindest regards to Miss Smith.
P. S. Excuse scrawl as my fingers are not overly warm.
W. H. G.