Major GS Andrews, 30 Cdn Air Svy Liaison Sec, RCE
First Cdn Army Overseas.
31 May 44
Your letter of the 21 st arrived today. Works out OK tho because we have been pretty busy during the early part of the week, and didn't get finished last night till the wee small hours. Our work seems to be that way, but in between I have been able to give the chaps, and myself, a bit of free time to make up for it. You have to do that, because the work is very sensitive to over-fatigue. It continues to go well, and we learn something new about it every week. Plan soon to write up the important features of the methods we have developed, so that others who may have to do such work, may benefit from our experience.
Sunday I took a few of my men to Church parade, I believe in making that sort of thing voluntary. It was held in a fine little country village church. Unfortunately the padre shot wide of the mark in his sermon, which rather spoiled the effect of the service. Am afraid I don't hold army padres in very high esteem, there is a rare exception, here and there, like my friend Brig Hepburn. The little church last Sunday had a perfect "atmosphere" of peace, sanctity, and meditation. The troops love it too, its so utterly different and apart from the relentless grind of military routine, barrack discipline, noise, and the clutter of a lot of men crowded together for war. A real spiritual leader would have framed his service and sermon to harmonize with the atmosphere of the church, by dealing with one or two of the fundamentals of Life, appealing to their emotions a little, and to turn over the earth in their minds, with the same goo effects as in a garden. They would have come out refreshed spiritually, and maybe even inspired. An inspired man will fight like hell too. Am afraid this is too big a subject to discuss by letter. Anyway I went to church.
I had to attend a meeting in the early afternoon not far from Morris's, so invited myself there for lunch, and returned to cut some wood after the meeting, and for afternoon tea. Unfortunately I couldn't stay for supper as I had been invited to a buffet supper by some other people, whome I couldn't very well refuse. Glad I went, because I had a chance to talk to Col Meuser, at leisure, which is a good thing, and see him rarely nowadays, as we are all so busy. Some rather interesting things have been cooking as far as my unit is concerned, and the chances look good for getting what I want. It will likely mean no more promotion for me, but it promises of other things which are far more worth while. I should soon be almost the senior Major in the Royal Cdn Engineers, overseas at least. However I've been drawing more than Lieut-Col's pay for just a year now, and doing work that has been right in my line. My reputation as an outstanding authority in my work is more important thing to me personally than to be known as Col Andrews. I hope you and Mary will not be disappointed in me for not going after the glitter and the glory. Rank is insatiable if anything. There is always someone senior to you, no matter what rank you hold, and so often, those seniors are such by virtue only of seniority, luck, opportunism, or influence. Advancement in science, or technical work is similar in that no matter how much you have learned, or accomplished, there is more that you seek to know, or do. I cant help it if endeavour in this latter appeals to me much more than the rather vulgar competition for pips and crowns. If I say much more you will be thinking I'm just making excuses for being a Major so long.
I think you enjoyed having Joan as much as Mary did. I'll bet Joan thinks you are just right. I told Ecila that I thought she should come out to Victoria and marry John Collins, and be a mother to Joan. Of course I painted a vivid picture of John, caricatureing his peculiarities a bit, as well as his charms. We had a bit off fun about such an idea anyway. Ecila is probably too old now to have a child of her own, but she would certainly make a wonderful mother to a child just like Joan. You'd better tell John I've picked out his second wife, and will send her out airmail as soon as the war is over. As soon as some of Ecila's old aunts die we should come in for a spot of money too, but they are in flourishing health, although deeply in debt to the devil for sparing them so long.
I think the thing that Mrs Morris would love more than any other thing would be to see you before her time is up. More than once she has said with emotion that she would love to see Jean before she dies. You certainly have won her heart. She often says how lucky I am, and I usually reply that Jean didn't do so badly either. Then I get my ear twigged or whiskers pulled.
Have Mily all packed up ready to send, as soon as I can arrange passage by air. Looks as tho the Cdn income taxe branch is doing its best to make you regret that you married a Canadian. As you have often said, anything good is worth paying for,--what?
Find out what you can about Hayward's Mill Bay property, and if John Rodd should be driving up, ask to go along, it would be a lovely trip, and then you can tell me more about it. I told Bert recently that he had better forget about my interest in the place, because it was just a bit too big for my financial status. Anyway if he leases it, there will be plenty of time to contemplate it when I come home. Am glad you like the idea of a place just a little more rural than 10-mile point. Never fear about my wanting to be a farmer, not at this stage of life, and if you hate nursemaiding a cow as much as I dislike chicken coops, we'll limit our stock to a dog & a couple of gold fish.