c/o 1st Corps Field Survey Coy
Royal Canadian Engineers
C.A.S.F. Base P.O. Canada
England, 1st September.
Today is your birthday - Many happy returns my dear - and here's hoping we may be together on your next. Last year up on the Finlay River - and this year in England - Your husband is a bit of a gad-about. Well Jean, we are both young - and can look forward to the time when we can spend our birthdays with each other & with Mary - for a long time to come.
It is hard to realize that the war has been going on now for a whole year - In some ways so little has happened - and in other ways - so much! During the coming year, Britain - and the Dominion should wax greatly in strength - while I don't see how the enemy can grow much stronger - Perhaps we shall be able to tip the balance in our favour - and follow it up with increasing vigor to clinch a victory.
Your letter dated 18 August, by air mail arrived a couple of days ago - Took 10 days altogether - and those which you sent air mail in Canada seem to do almost as well - If you use the above address, with air mail in Canada, I think that will be the best method, and will save you putting so much postage on. Am glad that air mail has speeded up my letters to you - I had been wondering how it could be done ever since I came, but was able to find out only recently. I enjoyed hearing about dear little Mary - she must be a great joy now - how I should love to see you both. It was a pleasant surprise to have the photos come - There are several which I like and after some deciding and undeciding, I have narrowed the choice down to two -, and these happen to be proofs which are not numbered. The ones I eliminated are #s 2, 4, and 5, so the ones I like best are #1 and #3. Between the two, it is hard to decide - they are both lovely pictures - In some ways I think the one in which you are smiling is what one might describe as the "pleasantest" - yet I can't help favouring the other one looking over your right shoulder - because I think this one brings out best of all the fine character of your face - and while you are not smiling - your expression is bright - has poise - and composure - Yes I think this photo wins - It is either #1 or #3 and of those two the one in which you are looking over your right shoulder - One more comment - I like the dress. Now if Ken could make the print for me just a little smaller - I will be able to carry it in my pocket - say 3 1/2 " x 5 1/2" or thereabouts - that will fit inside my passport which I always carry.
I had occasion to drive down to Ford Widley, my old R.E> home to-day - took Lorne with - and they invited we stay to lunch - It was a perfect hot late-summer day - and a lovely drive - They seemed genuinely glad to see me again - and I saw several of my old friends, including Capt. A.C. Wilde, my old room-mate and a grand chap. When I introduced Lorne to him, Wilde said "I was with a Swannell during the last war - on survey work" - and sure enough it was Frank Swannell . So it just goes to show good things go together! Lorne is leaving tomorrow on a fly-camp and expects to be away for two or 3 weeks - but I shall likely see him when he comes back. Lorne also is arranging to have his radio-gramophone with his colleiton of beautiful records shipped to you from Prince George - and he wants you to use both radio-gramophone and records - He says he would like to know that somebody who will really look after them, can enjoy them while he is away at wars. This is a nice thought of Lornes - and I know you will get a great deal of pleasure form it - and Mary E. too - Lorne's records are all wonderful music. He says it may take some time to get things packed and shipped - and that they will be sent to you c/o Mrs. S. at 564 - If they come down before you get your house finished - you can leave them at Swannells till you are ready - but be sure you take charge of them as soon as the house is ready - it will save you buying a radio - and enable you to enjoy our own records as well as Lorne's. He only insists that cactus needles be used on his records - and that is what we use on our own so that should be simple. My I hope you get started with the house soon, it will be great to know that you & Mary are settled, and independent.
Another rumour came through today that my transfer has gone through, but it may take a month or two yet to come through in orders and I doubt if my Canadian Pay will commence till the transfer appears in orders - However it is to be retro-active to 10 July - Incidentally we had the G.O.C. - General McNaughton visit us the other day - on inspection - First time I have met him personally - and what a wonderful man he is - he's on inspection. When I was introduced to him he asked me right off how my transfer was - and of course I told him I would sure like to know myself - well he said he would check it up - and when Gen. McNaughton says a thing you can bet its done - so the rumour which came in to-day should be fairly authentic. Now if I can get squared around with regard to my work - then everything will be lovely.
One of our officers - Charlie Sontar (the granddaddy) and a real friend of mine says his wife is going out to Seattle to live - so I gave him your address to send his wife - so if she should come over to Victoria she might like to call on you. Charlie is a great character and if his wife is like her old man she will be OK.
Was interested to learn that Dick Farrow has joined the Engineers - if you see him give him my regards. Another package of 300 cigarettes from my dear wife arrived during the week - that was sweet of her - We like them much better than the English brands.
So Molly Low is married - well Mr. MacNab is a lucky man, and that's the way ti goes - I think Bill can take it alright - he has plenty to think about these days no doubt - I hope someday he will find the girl that is meant for him - and it sometimes pays to wait till she does come along - I know from experience.
It just occurred to me that your letter of 3rd and 11th August both arrived together, the day after I wrote your last letter - This has been a wonderful period for mail - Your letters are full of news - just the kind I like. Was interested in your report on the Wadley-Smith house etc on 10-mile point. Someday we will realize our dream there too. But in the meantime I think the "town house" is a very sensible idea, and a good investment. I guess taxes will be going up in every respect - that is part of the price of war.
Had a letter from Uncle Alf Andrews the other day - he is a grand old man - the kind you would like - he gave me a couple of telephone numbers in London - some old friends he wants me to look up.
Well dear - that is all for this week - all my love to you and Mary E. Be good girls both of you and take care of yourselves.
As Ever -