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Date: November 1st 1915

Somewhere in Flanders

Nov 1/15 

My Dear Abbie 

Your parcel containing the sweater coat etc came last night, and I am at a loss to find words to express my gratitude to you. 

Its a peach, and last night was the first time for six nights that I did not wake up several times and curse this damp chilly country. This last week it has rained nearly every day and in consequence the mud is knee deep in places and the trenches, even the best parts, are’nt  exactly as nice as Toronto streets. 

We are all mud from head to foot, everything we own and wear is wet, and our dugouts are caving in from the rain, but the more uncomfortable things get, the healthier we feel, and the more cheerful we seem to get. I’ve seen fellows stumbling along in the dark slipping trenches with three grain bags of rations on their backs, trip and fall headlong into goo about two feet deep, and crawl out with a laugh. That time Alf & I dug the car out by the garage was a picnic to being on ration parties these days. Its all in the game and we are a pretty cheerful lot. Those socks you sent me are great. Unfortunately they are soaking at present but will be the greatest comfort when I get them dried. If you could send another pair soon I’d be very glad, but you’re so kind that I hate to bother you. 

Last night was Halloween. When I was splashing away in the mud and dark, with Jack beside me, we were thinking of the kids with their “punkins” up in the nursery, and the fun you would all be having. 

When I get back I can tell the kids real “ghost” stories about windmills that are deserted and in ruins, which revolve certain ways till the enemies’ artillery get our range etc. I heard a good joke the other day about our boys. A British regular on sentry go saw a soldier coming along the road and challenged Halt, who goes there. The answer came who the - - - wants to know. The sentry said Pass Canadians alls well. This is an old joke so likely you have heard it before. 

I had a nice letter from Annie L. the other day. It was very good of her to write. 

The Huns are dropping some shells around here now, but so long as they land where they are at present, we have no cause to worry. Any pieces that came our way wont penetrate the dugout. 

I had a letter from Father date the 10th Oct in which he says that they have received no letter from me since landing in France. I’ve been writing them regularly (or as regularly as possible.) I guess Dad thinks I got picked off during that big advance. The only part we took in that was sending out smoke curtains and bombs and raising a row so that the Huns opposite could not be taken away to reinforce. 

This was has taught me to appreciate things. I really look forward to the dugout now after being on duty. One of the boys has got hold of a nice thing. He got a supply of cans of “Tinned Heat” from London and I was fortunate enough to get a tin. Its a kind of consolidated mythelated spirit, and will last from seven to eight times. The tins are the size of a small can of Hudson Bay Tobacco, so I can make myself hot oxo in the dugout without smoke, while the cans lasts. Every time a shell bursts it makes such a h-l of a row that I forget what my train of thought was. 

How is the auto running. That is some can that the Hudson people are advertising now. The closed one I mean. 

I will be writing Ted for his birthday in a day or so if I get the chance. 

We three boys are all well and cheerful. I cant say we look as spic and span as when we had our farewell dinner with you. Gosh that dinner, yum! And next month Xmas will be here. Another Turkey missed. But a lot of experiences gained. Give my love to all at 17 Elm and to Dr Stevenson, also Jacks. Again thanking you for that dandy sweater coat I remain 

Your loving brother

Douglas. G. Buckley

To Mrs Tory

17 Elm Avenue

Toronto Canada

Original Scans

Original Scans