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Date: December 9th 1915

Somewhere in Flanders
Dec 9/15

Dear Abbie

Received your two parcels, and also letter of 18th Nov, within the last few days, for all of which I am extremely grateful old top.

Kindly convey to the ladies of the church my heartfelt appreciation of their kindness and thoughtfulness, and wish them my best Seasons Greetings. Frank Thompson and Jack Howard wish you to do the same for them, as we don't get extra much time for writing, and their two letters are saved. We all really appreciate do appreciate the ladies efforts for our comfort very much.

Do you know what touched me almost more than anything was that dear old Ted thinking I might like Chums. The copy arrived OK and I read it all and passed it on to some of the Comrades. The thing I missed most while reading said Chums, was the [?] touch of Ted's little cold feet in my ribs.

This is our last day in supports, then comes reserve and then front line. The mud like the poor we always have with us. I'm at present a bomber, and spend most of my time, either cleaning bombs, putting in fuses, or building sandbag shelters to practice throwing live ones from. Yesterday was a fine day.

We were practicing throwing grenades in a field, but after our NCO's turned away we put a bomb (unloaded) in a mitt and used it for a short game of rugby with great coats for goal posts. Then the Huns stopped the game by throwing things around. Said things being shells of assorted sizes.

Jack came in yesterday afternoon breathless. He was on fatigue working in a field, and the Huns chased them around with shells. We have some fine old laughs when the different parties come in and describe their experiences. If the Huns could hear them, they would soon get over the impression that their shells do much damage to our boys nerves. Of course they give you a kind of jolt now and then, but we are just as steady as we ever were. Nobody is very fond of shells for if one comes straight for you, it causes the same feelings as a man has who stands on a high railway bridge with a runaway train half way across and coming his way. Oh joy, Ab, its raining again, Its a wonder we don't have a cloudburst after yesterday being fine.

The boys have lots of jokes about the length of the war. The optimistic troops are planting rose bushes on their parapets and the pessimists are planting acorns. By the time the war baby's battalion gets over here the oaks from those acorns should be big enough to snipe from.

I appreciate your feeling's when you make up parcels for boys at the front, and none for poor old Alf. I carry his picture that his mother gave me, and I can tell you this much. He is not entirely unavenged. Can you tell me where he is buried. I have looked through all the graveyards behind the different trenches that we have been in, and although nearly every regiment is represented, I could find none of his, so he must have been in a different line, likely over on the right.

I suppose by the time this rambling epistle reaches you, that the Xmas festivities will be all over, and the kids pretty well recovered from the effects.

On Xmas day, if its quiet, and I dont get a blighty in the meantime, I'm just going to sit down and imagine you people all gathered around, opening parcels etc, and enjoying all the good things. There is about six hours difference in time between Toronto and here, so about 7 am on Xmas and New Years when you are eating your dinner about 1 oclock dont be surprised if you feel me in imagination reaching for a second helping, for I'll be thinking of you at that time.

Did John & Char receive my letter to them for their birthday? I had a letter from Char dated the 19th and he does'nt mention it, so I suppose it went astray.

Well Ab old top, this letter will bore you if it gets any longer. We are all well, and as you can see, as cheerful as you could wish. Best wishes for the New Year to all. Give my love to everyone of 17 Elm, not forgetting yourself.

Your loving brother

PS & NB.
I'll be good.

With Best Wishes for a merry Xmas and Happy New Year. Douglas

With best wishes for a merry Xmas and Happy New Year. Douglas

Original Scans

Original Scans